DS 7 Crossback BlueHDi 180 first drive: Boutique, novelty SUV

“The problem with the Range Rover Evoque, you see, is that it’s so popular that people stop looking at you.”

So said the chap from DS, and we can see his point. Being too common isn't likely to be an issue for this, though - the new DS 7 Crossback. It's the French brand’s latest model, and the first to showcase a new design language that’ll characterise the imminent DS model boom.

But then again the DS 7 Crossback has a lot to prove. It’s actually bigger than the Evoque, and - with two diesels and a petrol currently on offer - is priced from under £30k to around £43k. That means it’s competing with everything from the aforementioned Range Rover Evoque and small premium SUVs like the new Volvo XC40, right up to bigger stuff like the Audi Q5, BMW X3 and even slightly less obvious options like a full bells-and-whistles Skoda Kodiaq or VW Tiguan.

DS 7 Crossback im Test

First impressions

DS wanted to create something that’d turn heads, and the DS 7 Crossback does that – to the these eyes, at least – in all the right ways. There’s something appealingly butch and purposeful about the front end of the car, but it still works surprisingly well with the swoopy, tapering rear end and its squinty but pretty, 3D-effect LED rear lights.  

The interior aesthetics work, too, even if they do risk edging into the ‘too fussy’ order of cabin design. The switches that flank the gearlever look to be taken straight from a concept car, and neat design touches like the clock that swivels up when you turn the car on, the s...