Test Drives

DS 7 Crossback review: Doing a 180

The DS 7 Crossback has an entry-level, 180 horsepower variant. The smart money might be on this one, at least for Singapore.

SINGAPORE — Say you’re on the hunt for something plush and are willing to try something new, but you don’t want to overpay for the privilege. That makes you a candidate for this, the DS 7 Crossback Puretech 180 Grand Chic, a car whose ambitions match the grandness of its name.

DS Automobiles is basically Citroën’s Lexus brand, and this is its flagship. Earlier in the year we drove the range-topping Puretech 225 Opera, but now we’re curious to see what life is like in the Puretech 180, where the price of entry is S$23,000 lower, at S$173,999 with Certificate Of Entitlement.

There’s a Performance Line model that is S$7,000 cheaper still, and it comes with slightly more sporty bodykitting and a few features fewer, but comparing the plusher spec models is obviously more apple-to-apple.

Right off the bat, we reckon the Puretech 180 hits the sweet spot of the model range. You have to give up Nappa leather for something called Claudia leather (here’s hoping Claudia was a cow), 20-inch wheels and high-end sound system from Focal, a French hi-fi specialist, but that’s pretty much it.

You lose 45 horsepower too, but the Puretech 225 gets to 100km/h just 0.7 seconds quicker than the 180, so it’s not like you’ll gain enough time to finish writing your novel.

Anyway, beyond looking at what you give up by stingeing on 23 grand, it’s worth pondering what you still get with the 180 Puretech. The DS 7 is a fairly spacious crossover to begin with, so there’s room in the back and a large boot, and the family is unlikely to complain being chauffeured around in it. The rear seats even recline a bit — electrically, too.

If you happen to be the one doing the chauffeuring, there’s good news: the front seats are massage chairs. Jolly decent ones, too, with the ability to give your shoulders, back and buttocks a little of the Osim treatment.

The equipment list reads like a who’s-who of luxury car kit, and pretty much everything you expect of a BMW or Mercedes, you’ll find here. If anything, you get more — compared to this the latter’s X1 and GLA feel meanly equipped. There’s a fancy suspension system that uses cameras to scan the road so the DS can prime itself for them, for example. It helps produce a pillowy ride that French cars used to be renowned for.

Inside, there must be at least a square foot of combined digital screen area, and the cabin itself looks and feels like a premium affair. In fact, if diamonds are a girl’s best friend, then ladies are bound to feel pretty chummy about the DS 7, because a diamond motif is repeated all throughout the interior.

Then there’s the pop-up timepiece from boutique watch brand B.R.M. — presumably, something for the men.

Whatever your gender, it’s easy to see the appeal of the DS 7 Crossback. It’s spacious, looks and feels nice inside, is decent to drive and you have a lesser chance of misplacing it in the carpark than if you drive a Mercedes.

Is it considered a luxury car? Not yet, at least if public consensus is anything to go by. Nor is there a guarantee that it ever will be, judging from how brands such as Infiniti or Genesis are still trying to establish their image.

Yet, driving a DS 7 would mark you out as someone who cares more about a car than a badge. Besides, you never know. Imagine what it would have been like to have discovered Louis Vuitton before everyone else did.

DS Automobiles DS 7 Crossback Puretech 180 Grand Chic

Engine 1,598cc, turbocharged in-line four
Power 180hp at 5500rpm
Torque 250Nm at 1650rpm
Gearbox 8-speed automatic
0-100km/h 9.6 seconds
Top Speed 220km/h
Fuel Efficiency 5.9L/100km
VES/CO2 C1/135g/km
Agent Cycle & Carriage France
Price S$173,999 with COE
Available Now


about the author

Leow Julen
CarBuyer's managing editor is a lot older than he behaves. He's been writing about cars for 26 years. Someday he might do it coherently. Ju-Len believes in world peace and V8s, but not necessarily in that order.