DS 7 Crossback

Prestige 225

DS 7 Crossback, front action
DS 7 Crossback, front action 2
DS 7 Crossback, front static
DS 7 Crossback, side action
DS 7 Crossback, rear action
DS 7 Crossback, dashboard

DON'T be surprised if you start dreaming diamonds after driving a DS7 Crossback - the interior is dripping with them.

Not the actual pricey rocks - even if the car costs north of forty grand - but the shape we commonly call diamond and which the more particular among us would refer to as a rhombus.

Either way, they're everywhere, from stitched patterns on the doors to the switches for electric windows and parking brake. You'll either think the end result is French chic or Gallicly confusing.

There's no denying the efforts the designers of the DS7 have made to give this car the identity it needs to succeed in a market where posh names rule and most people know nothing about a car bearing a DS badge.

Should you be one of them, the DS is a new brand of car from the makers of Citroens. They started off a year or two ago as simply Citroens with a different badge but have now moved to cars that look unrelated enough to fight for sales against the likes of Audi and BMW.

Beneath the new - and uniquely DS Automobile's body - you'll discover many part shared with Citroens, but that's a sensible approach to cost saving and one adopted with success by the likes of Audi, which shares lots of Volkswagen bits beneath the skin.

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 £27,790 entry level DS 7 to enjoy the full experience and pay rather a lot more.

A cool £41,085, in fact, for the Prestige trim version on test today - with still dearer DS 7 offerings available, all the way to a petrol/electric model that tops a heady £56,000.

With 225 horsepower from its petrol powered engine, the test DS7 will certainly fly when provoked, climbing quickly to cruising speed through its eight-speed automatic gearbox.

But you sense this is a car whose spacious SUV shape is happier at a gentler pace; more the Continental cruiser than main road bruiser.

Slow down a bit and the ride settles too as the big 19in alloy wheels are given more time to tame the surfaces they're crossing. You can pay extra for still bigger alloys - but think hard before you do.

Slowly slightly probably also helped towards the 38.1mpg recorded on the car's trip computer over more than 500 testing miles. That counts as a decent result for a car this big and powerful.

FAST FACTS

DS 7 Crossback Prestige 225

Price: £41,085

Mechanical: 222bhp, 1,598cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 8-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 145mph

0-62mph: 8.3 seconds

Combined MPG: 40.4

Insurance Group: 31

C02 emissions: 125g/km

Bik rating: 30%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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