DS Automobiles is a new premium brand within the PSA (Peugeot Citroen) Group and is offering a range of premium cars based on the Citroen range.
The best example for comparison is to think that DS is to Citroen what Lexus is to Toyota.
At present in Ireland DS models are sold alongside Citroen cars within a separate part of the showroom with dedicated DS sales and service staff.
The long term plan is to have individual DS dealers.
So can they crack the premium market?
Well it is going to be mighty difficult as buyers of premium brand cars such as Mercedes, BMW and Audi are a loyal lot and value the image their cars portray.
Lexus with all its backing from Toyota has never managed to equal the Germans in the sales charts though they make cars that are equally good and in some respects maybe better so can Citroen crack it?
Prices for the new DS7 range start at €36,000 rising to a hefty €60,000 for the top model.
Has it any street cred?
The Avant Garde looking DS7 is certainly a looker and turned many heads during my tenure.
It's a stylish Crossover/SUV that stands out from this somewhat crowded market with its unique blend of French Flair and attractive style. So it scores highly on street cred!
What’s it like inside?
My test car was a close to top of the range DS7 Performance Line version.
The interior is clad in an abundance of Alcantara and faux leather, combined with beautiful diamond shaped aluminium switchgear the look and feel is certainly top class.
The elevated driving position is perfect and the digital instrumentation (also diamond shaped) again mirrors the styling theme of the interior.
I didn’t particularly like the digital dash layout but thats a personal choice.
Standard kit on the DS7 Performance line is as you would expect pretty good, with highlights that include voice activation, Active safety brake, automatic LED lights, Android Auto and Apple car play as well DS Connect Nav. However there are a few omissions.
At this price point I would expect other items to be standard such as heated seats and fully electric seats.
What's under the bonnet?
Powered by a 2.0 litre diesel turbo which is mated to an 8-speed auto gearbox, the DS7 is a good performer.
There is a drive mode switch which allows you to select sport or comfort mode.
Sport mode livens things up a bit and is accompanied by a rather nice growl from the engine.
Over some 600km of varied driving I returned. Test average of 6.6 litres per 100km so quite good. Road tax is €270 for the year.
What’s it like to drive?
The new DS7 is a comfortable refined motorway cruiser.
Take it to less smooth country road though and the ride can become a bit unsettled, spirited cornering will be discouraged due to a reasonable degree of body roll.
That said its a nice machine to drive and most will enjoy their time behind the wheel.
So to the verdict!
The DS7 is a bold attempt to offer a quality product to rival the German premium brands.
It is certainly worth of consideration if your in the market for a Crossover/SUV, but at €49,745 for the model tested here many may feel their money is safer in a proven brand such as BMW or Mercedes and its this hurdle that DS Automobiles will find the most difficult to overcome.