SOMEBODY asked me very recently what a DS was, so a quick history lesson.
Citroen rightly considers its 1955 DS model one of its most iconic or ‘halo' cars - one that has defined the brand over decades.
So, when the French car maker decided to launch a range of new ‘premium' models in 2010, it turned to the DS name.
The DS 3 was an instant hit and, in 2014, DS models were divorced from the Citroen name to become a standalone luxury offering as Lexus is to Toyota, and Infiniti, less successfully, was to Nissan.
Of course, it also has to stand toe to toe with BMW, Audi, Mercedes, Jaguar and a rejuvenated Volvo brand. That's no small challenge.
The DS 7 is the first ‘proper' DS - the first never to have started life as a Citroen. It might share its platform with the Peugeot 3008 and a few bits and bobs with other PSA vehicles, but it is unique enough to claim its own pedigree.
A small-ish SUV - think Audi Q5 size - the DS 7 Crossback comes in five trim levels - entry-level Elegance, Performance Line, Prestige, Ultra Prestige and the plug-in hybrid E-Tense 4x4.
All models are well equipped with features such as LED front fog lights with a cornering function, touchscreen, rear parking sensors, and a leather-covered steering wheel and gearknob.
For more sporty looks, the Performance Line's exterior trim is painted in gloss black and the interior features Alcantara on the seats, door panels and dashboard instead of soft-touch plastic or leather.
There's also heated front seats, a 12-inch touchscreen, digital dials, sat nav, adaptive LED headlights with high beam, 19-inch alloys, tinted glass, and Performance Line badging on the bonnet and wings, Performance Line carpets and sporty aluminium pedals.
However, it's the Prestige which turns up the classiness. It adds to the swathes of leather, totally unnecessary crystal controls, a top range clock from French horological experts B.R.M, and LED ambient lighting, alongside more useful features such as front parking sensors and a reversing camera, along with wireless charging.
The cabin is classy, comfortable, roomy enough for five, with plenty of head and kneeroom in the front and back. The boot will hold a generous 555-litres of luggage - expanding to 1,752-litres with the rear seats folded down. With a low, wide opening, it's easy to load too. For the occupants, there's plenty of stowage space in the cabin as well.
Body control isn't its strongest feature but the range-topping 225 PureTech with 300Nm of torque feels suitably rapid while remaining smooth and quiet at motorway speeds. The eight-speed automatic transmission is also unnoticeably slick.
Family buyers will be pleased to know the DS 7 comes with a five-star Euro NCAP rating thanks to all featuring driver, front passenger, front lateral and curtain airbags, as well as safety tech including automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, a driver attention warning system, traffic sign recognition, tyre pressure monitoring and cruise control with speed limiter.