2017 DS7 Crossback gets its public debut as new French presidential car
The DS7 Crossback made its first appearance in public over the weekend – as newly inaugurated President Emmanuel Macron’s choice of presidential ride. So no creaky, old Peugeot 607 for him.
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Cruising in a specially made open-top version down the Champs Elysees, it’s the first time we’ve seen a production-ready DS7 on the road since its launch in Geneva.
Although you won’t be able to order the president’s roofless variant, the French company is hoping the DS7 will be a fresh start, after it struggled to find UK customers for its upmarket DS5 hatchback.
Aimed at taking on the Range Rover Evoque and Audi Q5, this mid-sized SUV looks striking from all angles. From the front, a large diamond-shaped grille helps set off the car’s premium feel, while angular headlights and wraparound rear taillight give it an individual look compared to many rivals.
Inside, the DS 7 certainly looks like a premium product, although if it’s anything like other DS models, it won’t feel quite on par with what the Germans can offer in terms of quality. There’s a large infotainment touchscreen, while a digital instrument cluster also features – similar to the Peugeot 5008 on which it is based.
Read more: Is the DS brand here to stay?
Although it uses the same platform as Peugeot’s SUV, it utilises the suspension set-up of the 508 saloon, which DS claims is to offer more dynamic handling. There will be a range of engines on offer, with a 1.5-litre HDi making up the entry-level diesel option.
A 2.0-litre BlueHDI with around 175bhp and 400 Nm of torque is available too, while a 1.6-litre petrol engine will be the most powerful option, offering 223bhp. The larger diesel and potent petrol are the only engines that’ll be available from launch, although the smaller diesel and a 1.3-litre petrol will also eventually be offer.
Inheriting Citroen’s innovative genes, DS is developing its own autonomous technology which will eventually be available in the DS7. Once famed for its hydro-pneumatic suspensions, not only will this “Connected Pilot” system be self-driving, but it will also detect and map roads to optimise road comfort.
It’s quite a fitting choice of car for Macron, since it was the original DS that saved President de Gaulle’s life after a 1962 assassination attempt thanks to the suspensions’ ability to drive with four punctured tyres. Since then, Citroen and DS vehicles have been a popular choice for incumbent leaders.
Despite the bulky body, the DS7 will only be available in FWD form for now, although a four-wheel-drive could appear in the form of the DS7 E-Tense, a hybrid that uses two electric motors in conjunction with the 1.6-litre petrol engine. This will allow for up to 37 miles of all-electric travel, with CO2 emissions as low as 50g/km.
The DS7 Crossback won’t hit UK roads until 2018 but, while DS has premium aspirations, it’s likely to get a lower list price than some German rival. We’ll have to wait and see if that’ll tempt people away from the more established upmarket brands – whether it’s fit for a president or not.