DS 7 has quality and

comfort

DS 7 Crossback, front
DS 7 Crossback, dynamic
DS 7 Crossback, profile
DS 7 Crossback side action
DS 7 Crossback, rear
DS 7 Crossback, dashboard
DS 7 Crossback, interior

THE combination of a large SUV and an automatic gearbox used to be the recipe for regular fill ups at the pumps.

I remember once driving from Hertfordshire to Hull years ago for a magazine feature in a 3.9-litre V8 Range Rover. I filled it before I left and I had to fill it again to get back, even though I was driving as carefully as possible to stretch every gallon.

But all that has changed with vehicles like the superb DS 7 Crossback and other recent models. This big, very well equipped SUV, comes with an eight speed automatic gearbox and the Performance Line model I drove had a 2.0-litre diesel turbo power unit.

With 180bhp, it probably had more power than that Range Rover, and also matched it in cosseting comfort over all surfaces.

But the real difference is that it does 56 miles per gallon in the government average, meaning a real driving average of better than 40.

The big DS is only available with front wheel drive at the moment, wheras all Range Rovers have go-absolutely-anywhere four wheel drive.

But let's face it, most owners of such expensive vehicles never even take them near a wet field these days. They simply want the safe feel of a large machine around them, the high driving position and good view, and the prestige of driving something special at the top of the market.

This model's huge advantage over many of the others is a superb ride over all surfaces, both in town at slow speeds, when it takes speed humps with tremendous ease and also on a country road at speed, when its suppleness completely insulates the occupants.

This helps to make it a delight to drive for short or long distances and marks a return for DS owner Citroen to the comfort its large cars were once renowned for.

Road holding is still very good - with a fair amount of roll it must be said - and it takes a twisting road without any drama, and gives reasonable feel from the steering.

The DS 7 engine is smooth and very refined from inside the car and only a little noisier when standing outside.

It pulls beautifully from low revs and the urge keeps building as the revs rise, giving enough power to accelerate up hills in the higher gears.

Gearchanges are very smooth and there are fixed paddles behind the steering wheel to do things manually if the mood takes you.

That said, the automatic is so good I don't think I would ever bother. It kicks down very easily, and you can hold a lower gear by keeping the accelerator down a little further, or make it change up by lifting off a little. Perfect.

The interior design is high quality, elegant and unusual with, for instance, diamond shapes for the main instruments in a big 12-inch digital screen, and plenty of brightwork.

All the models in the range come very well equipped straight out of the box, with Apple Carplay, Android Auto, wireless smartphone charging, sat nav, Bluetooth, USB and a WiFi hotspot.

The Performance Line I drove also has hill start assist, trailer stability control, cruise, active safety braking, lane departure warning, speed limit recognition, a driver attention warning system, keyless entry and starting and rear parking sensors.

It also has remote tailgate opening, key operated remote defrosting for the mirrors, climate, DAB radio, 19-inch alloy wheels, that 12-inch touchscreen for many functions and voice recognition.

FAST FACTS

Price: £36,900

Mechanical:177bhp, 1,997cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 8-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 134mph

0-62mph: 9.9 seconds

Combined MPG: 57.6

Insurance Group: 29

C02 emissions: 128g/km

Bik rating: 30%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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