WHEN you hope to match the smarter car brands it's good to take the longer view - even looking ahead several decades.
That's the distant horizon viewed by DS Automobiles as it presents its first car that didn't start life with a Citroen badge on the boot before becoming a DS 3, DS 4 or DS 5.
The new DS 7 Crossback might share a platform and engines with an existing car (the Peugeot 3008, since you ask) but what you can see, outside and in, is bespoke to this model only.
And smart it looks too, a sizeably proportioned addition to the current constantly swelling line up of SUVs coming to a market that can't get enough of these tall riding 4x4 imposters.
With glitzy LED lights front and rear and a cabin swathed (in posher versions) in carefully stitched leather and aglow with alloy look switches and a very French designery dashboard clock that rotates into life as you start the engine.
There aren't many cars with this sense of theatre at any price but you'll need to steer clear of the £28,050 entry level DS 7 to enjoy the full experience and pay rather a lot more.
Up to £43,535 in fact for the full fat Ultra Prestige line, which puts the car against some formidable competition with even an entry level Porsche Macan available for very little more. A dearer still hybrid electric DS 7 Crossback arrives in 2019 at more than £50,000.
Back at the foot of the range, your £28,050 buys an Elegance version with a 1.5-litre 130 horsepower diesel and six-speed manual gearbox. There's no clever clock or swanky headlights, but few buyers are likely to set their sights this low.
Climb up the range to a Performance Line DS 7, from £34,985, and the smart (and excellent) headlights arrive, along with satellite navigation and, if you specify the more powerful 180 horsepower diesel or 225 horsepower petrol engines, there's something called active scan suspension.
This uses a camera to read the road ahead and adjust the suspension to produce the smoothest possible ride. It works well enough to notice on even a reasonably well maintained stretch of Tarmac. Clever and cool.
Higher tech still is the night vision pack (£1,000, £1,300 or £1,600 extra depending on model) which provides a ghostly grey image of the road ahead and alerts you, via its infra red sensing, if it spots a person or animal in the road. Cleverer and cooler still.
Back away from the options' list and you can choose between four trims of DS 7; Elegance, Performance Line, Prestige and Ultra Prestige and from the 130 HP diesel with manual gearbox and the 150 diesel or 225 petrol, both only with a new eight-speed automatic gearbox.
All of them come in a generously proportioned car (4,570mm long and 1,895mm wide) which offers lots of room for occupants front and rear and a big boot - 555 litres with the rear seat up and 1,752 litres with it down.
There was no petrol version available on the car's UK press launch but both diesels provided adequate power, if someway short of feeling sporty even in more powerful form and with the beefier engine sounding rather more intrusive than its lesser endowed sibling.
The 130 model claims 121mph top speed and 11.7 seconds to 62mph, with a combined 68.9mpg and 101 g/km of CO2. Choose the 180 diesel and figures become 134mph/9.9 seconds and 57.6mpg/128g/km.
But mere figures aren't going to sell a car built to impress in other areas. DS knows there's a long haul ahead, a spokesman telling us "We're a brand with ambition and know it will take a few decades to reach its ultimate conclusion."
A new model is promised every year for the next six and the DS 7 Crossback makes a promising start.