THE roads are getting more snarled-up by the day and as you sit in traffic queues inching forward bit by bit, it's the perfect opportunity to take in the surrounding cars. You soon realise we are under siege by SUVs.
They come in all shapes and sizes with all sorts of accompanying price-tags. There are two-wheel-drive (2WD) or four-wheel-drive (4WD), soft roaders or serious mud pluggers, five or seven seaters along with budget models or uber-expensive versions from the premium marques.
My latest was at the higher end of the scale although not outrageously pricey. It was from DS which is the prestige arm of the PSA Group and while the brand once carried Citroen badging on its cars, it branched out on its own back in 2014.
Our DS 7 Crossback was the first all-new model following that breakaway move and it's certainly a worthy flagship car for the company. It looks stunning, is packed with luxurious features and boasts excellent driving dynamics too. It's also a practical car so ticks another box for SUV hunters.
Priced at £44,280 which included an extra £550 for metallic paint, the DS 7 Crossback was powered by a 1.6-litre 225hp petrol engine mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission.
The range-topping Ultra Prestige car could complete the 0-62mph dash in a very respectable 8.3 seconds and maxed out at 141mph. According to official figures, it delivers a combined 47.9mpg with carbon emissions of 135g/km.
The DS 7 Crossback is a great looking car and is easily recognisable thanks to very distinctive lighting.
From the rear, the tail lamps feature 3D illuminating scales with a mesh of diamond shapes bonded together. Up front there are DS Active LED Vision headlights that emit a purple glow when the car is unlocked before pivoting 180 degrees.
These state-of-the-art lights deliver fabulous vision at night with a sweeping beam that adjusts according to the road conditions.
Other design cues that help the DS 7 Crossback stand out are a blacked-out grille with the DS emblem taking pride of place, chrome wings leading into the light clusters, tinted windows, a panoramicsunroof and 20-inch Tokyo black Onyx diamond-cut alloy wheels.
Move inside and you are greeted by a beautifully styled and spacious cabin that oozes elegance and sophistication. The quilted leather seats can be power adjusted and heated or ventilated. They have memory settings along with a massage function to take the strain out of a long day in the office.
There are four interior design trims to choose from and ours was called DS Inspiration Opera which refers to the opulence of the Palais Garnier opera house in Paris, so expect a car dripping with luxury.
For example, there is ambient lighting with a choice of colours and brightness, along with lots of soft-touch surfaces and neatly decorated door inserts.
There is a wealth of techno treats to explore, including a 12-inch HD touchscreen, an eight-speaker FOCAL sound system, Bluetooth, Mirror Screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto plus a really smart BRM timepiece (clock) that folds away into the top of the dash when the ignition is turned off.
The touchscreen is simple to operate and there is a row of quick-key buttons at the bottom that offer shortcuts to functions such as the climate control, navigation and music options.
Comfort levels are high and there's oodles of space in the back for two or three passengers to stretch out in style. The rear seats can also be power adjusted and the cabin has a light and airy feel thanks to the panoramic sunroof.
When it comes to performance, the DS 7 Crossback offers a refined driving experience with very little road surface, engine or wind noise filtering through into the car.
The acceleration through the gears is smooth and responsive with paddles to manually change gear if you want. There are different driving modes called Eco, Normal, Comfort and Sport that alter the way the car handles with Sport proving great fun out on the faster country lanes where the road holding was ultra grippy and there was little sign of any body sway into bends.
The boot can accommodate all the family's luggage requirements with a capacity that ranges from 628 litres to 1,752 litres with the 60:40 split folding rear seats dropped flat.
There is extra storage beneath the boot floor and alternative storage options include a practically-sized glovebox, a deep central bin, door pockets, a handy tray in front of the gear lever, nets in the back of the front seats, plus front and rear cup holders.
The DS 7 Crossback secured a maximum five-star rating when it was tested for its Euro NCAP safety score and features include the likes of lane departure warning, lane keep assist, blind spot detection, driver attention warning, traffic sign recognition, hill start assist, a reversing camera and numerous airbags.