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DS 7 Crossback 1.5 BlueHDi 130 Prestige

Date: 20 March 2018   |   Author: Sean Keywood

P11D: £34,240
Fuel consumption: 68.9mpg
CO2 (BIK band): 107g/km (23%)
BIK 20/40% a month: £131/£263
Boot space: 555 litres
Engine size/power: 1,499cc/130hp

Of the three engines currently available with the DS 7 Crossback - the brand's first SUV and its first all-new model since splitting from Citroen - the 1.5-litre 130hp diesel looks like the unfavoured child. 

Sitting below the 2.0-litre 180hp diesel and 1.6-litre 225hp petrol, it gets a six-speed manual gearbox, rather than the eight-speed automatic the others have as standard, and it misses out on its siblings' more sophisticated suspension. 

However, that doesn't mean the entry model is entirely without merit. Crucially, its combined fuel economy of 68.9mpg looks mightily impressive, compared with 57.6mpg for the bigger diesel, while its lower CO2 emissions place it no less than four BIK bands lower. 

DS 7 CROSSBACK Side

Lively enough

Unsurprisingly, the 1.5-litre engine doesn't offer the same levels of performance as the bigger diesel, but it is by no means sluggish. In fact, it feels encouragingly lively away from the mark and it generates more than enough mid-range overtaking grunt to safely zip past slower-moving traffic on congested B-roads. On motorways, it's impressively refined, emitting little more than a background hum, but perhaps its most impressive feature is at lower revs, where it is noticeably quieter than the 2.0-litre. 

Where the smaller-engined variant does lose out is in ride comfort. DS makes a big deal of the 7 Crossback's active-scan suspension, which monitors the road ahead and adjusts for upcoming imperfections, but this is only available with the more powerful engines. The more basic suspension isn't bad but, without the upgrade, it is more readily flustered by lumps and bumps, and together with overly light steering, it does little to encourage pacey driving on twistier routes. 

DS 7 CROSSBACK Rear

The feeling of being slightly short-changed also applies to the transmission. While there's nothing wrong with the manual box - it swaps cogs accurately enough - the relaxed vibe of the 7 Crossback is far better suited to the smooth-changing auto.

Upmarket cabin

DS expects the bestselling 7 Crossbacks to be sold mostly in mid-range trims, such as the Prestige we tried, and drivers will find much to enjoy on board. The 12in touchscreen features crisp graphics, while the comfortable seats compensate a bit for that lower-grade suspension. There are lots of soft-touch materials used throughout the cabin and overall the designers have done a decent job of delivering on DS's upmarket aspirations, although additions such as the BRM central clock display may not be to everybody's taste.

DS 7 CROSSBACK Interior

There's also plenty of interior space, particularly in the rear, and there's a well-proportioned boot, so you'll have no problem packing everything you need for that weekend city break.

Night owl

The 7 Crossback also has some neat features for night driving. Active LED Vision headlights - standard in Prestige trim - follow your steering inputs and adapt to driving conditions. 

Meanwhile the optional night vision replaces the instrument panel with an infrared image of the road ahead, when activated, highlighting potential hazards such as pedestrians crossing the road.

The 7 Crossback range, as a whole, is certainly not cheap - the model we drove has a P11D more than £2,000 higher than a mid-range Audi Q3 or BMW X1. What's more, while the 1.5-litre diesel is the most affordable model to run, many of the features you forgo are what give the 7 Crossback a large chunk of its appeal.


Verdict


7/10
  • Economical smaller engine
  • Stylish and practical interior
  • Advanced headlights
  • Expensive P11D
  • Downgraded suspension
  • No auto option with smaller engine

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