IN a recent survey of car buyers, one of the main grouses was that too many new cars look too similar.
Fair comment. Who wants to spend the thick part of £30,000 without anyone except yourself noticing your spanking new motor?
But one manufacturer famed for turning out cars with style and individuality is Citroen. And it's even more important to stand out for its prestige arm, DS, which must aim to be more characterful and bespoke.
At the top of the range is DS 7 Crossback, a handsome mid-size SUV that emits the same sort of classiness as an Audi Q5 or Mercedes GLC, yet costs substantially less than either.
I opted to drive the 1.5 BlueHDi, which may not set the Tarmac alight with acceleration, but offers better than average economy alongside the cosseting luxury you might find in models a class above.
In Prestige form, it packs in the sort of goodies you'd expect from its upmarket aspirations - 12-inch touch screen, electrically adjustable seats, fancy analogue clock, bags of soft-touch plastic, Nappa leather seating and off course sat nav, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
The cabin itself is roomy with plenty of air between driver and passenger and more than enough legroom front and rear. It's not as tall as some rivals yet has sufficient headroom for a six-footer. The rear floor is flat allowing three abreast to sit comfortably.
Overall it's a great place to be and has an air of ‘specialness'. The boot is huge - 555 litres to be exact - and has a movable floor so heavy items can be slid in easily.
From a driving point of view, it's a comfy cruiser rather than a sports star. Obviously the 1.5-litre diesel lacks the sparkle of the bigger 2.0-litre but it still manages the dash to 62mph in under 11 seconds. Mid range clout is strong thanks to the high torque diesel and eight-speed automatic gearbox.
The positive in picking the smaller diesel is mile-stretching economy. I averaged almost 50mpg and even better results are possible with a more gentle right foot.
Plenty of sound proofing means that the diesel drone remains distant and subdued apart from at tickover. Overall the level of refinement matches the German opposition from which it is aiming to attract buyers.
There's a fair bit of suspension movement which is fine for poor surfaces but if you want to press on over smoother roads you come across a degree of body roll which reins in enthusiasm somewhat. Like most SUVs on sale, the DS7 is driven just by its front wheels, so best try scaling mountains or muddy tracks.
While front and side visibility is good, looking through the shallow rear screen offers a bit of a postbox view because of its steep rake of the glass.