Ride and handling
As part of DS’s desire to move the Crossback upmarket it’s fitted all but the entry-level Elegance model with its Active Scan suspension system. This is the sort of set up you might find in high-end Mercedes and BMW models and uses cameras to examine the road surface ahead of the car and adjusts the dampers’ responses accordingly. It’s clever stuff and currently unique to this segment of the market. But how does it work in practice?
On the whole we’d have to say it does work well, but with certain provisos. For starters it only works when the DS7 is in its Comfort setting which does seem a little daft and seems to assume that if you’re in Normal or Sport modes you’re quite happy for potholes to send a shudder through your car as you go over them.
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Comfort works best around town or at speeds of up to 50mph or so when on more open roads and while the Active Scan isn’t perfect it does make crossing speed bumps a more refined experience and does seem to spot the worst of the road’s imperfections. Above these speeds though and it becomes rather wallowy and floaty and will have you reaching for the driving mode switch to engage Normal mode.
For most road conditions this will probably be the default setting as it offers decent body control, a nicely weighted (if pretty devoid of feel) steering set-up and an acceptable ride, unless you decided 20-inch items were a good idea when you spec’d the car. The big rims have plenty of showroom appeal, but are a poor choice on the move.
Engaging Sport tightens the chassis further and does make it corner with a flatter attitude, although we wouldn’t go as far as to say that it actually feels sporting. It’ll understeer if you’re over ambitious but what really hampers the car in this mode is the steering which just becomes overly heavy and leaves you with a feeling that you’re wrestling with the car rather than driving it.
What is frustrating about the DS7 Crossback is that DS has seen fit to allow you to choose eight different moods of lighting for the interior and six different displays for the TFT dashpod yet won’t allow you to choose what’s what with the driving modes. Thus, if you select Sport the steering, engine, gearbox and suspension all engage Sport – you can’t choose to have just the chassis and engine in Sport leaving the gearbox and steering in Normal which seems a little remiss.
While we’re discussing the DS7’s drive we should also mention the plethora of driving tech fitted to the higher end models. All cars receive lane departure warning, speed limit recognition but higher end models up the ante with lane keeping assist, blind spot detection and active cruise control with stop and go. The various systems do work well and the lane keeping assist in conjunction with the active cruise control did make light work of rush hour Paris Périphérique traffic.