Elysium Magazine is lucky enough to get hands on experience with the very best in life: food, drink, fashion and technology. It’s what makes us right for the discerning gent and the discerning gent right for Elysium Magazine. Every so often, we come across something that piques our interest just that little bit more. In this case it’s DS Automobiles, the French car maker taking an innovative approach to luxury cars – a road already well marked by the tyres of numerous global luxury car brands. Here, we look at why this is a car brand that is turning heads.
The saying from poet Maya Angelou is a good place to start: “If you don’t know where you’ve come from, you don’t know where you’re going” – it’s important to consider where DS Automobiles came from to understand the future of the brand.
Part of the massive Groupe PSA, consisting of cars brands Peugeot, Citroën, Opel and Vauxhall, DS Automobiles originally started life as the luxury sub-brand of Citroën from 2010. Citroën DS as it was known then realised that French car making lacked a luxury entry in the same way that German (with Mercedes) or Italian (with Maserati) did. There was a gap in the market for a French entry into the luxury category, although it had to bide its time for a few years.
The Citroën DS3, launched in 2010 to great acclaim, was named Car of the Year by Top Gear Magazine for four consecutive years under different award categories. This led the people at Citroën DS to believe that the car world was ready for a separate and outright luxury brand – thus DS Automobiles was born in 2015.
Two French sayings keep coming up when one investigates DS Automobiles. The first is ‘Avant Garde’ – to look at its definition of those introducing new and experimental ideas and methods, seems apt for a brand like DS Automobiles. Whilst making cars, the brand is also busy making the right luxury connections, for instance sponsoring Paris Fashion Week and transporting the fashionistas across the French capital, as one example. The second saying is ‘Savoir Faire’ – typically the know how or knowing what to do in any situation, and of course the situations relating to DS Automobiles are all luxury in nature.
The luxury detailing is apparent in both cars from DS Automobiles right now, and for sure with future models too. From the exterior lines and contours to the interior detailing, it all screams of a higher specification to the normal, even if you must look twice to notice it. Now, let’s look at the two models.
DS 3 Crossback
This is billed as the compact SUV – with the driver/passengers having that elevated feel to normal height cars on the road at the same time as being an SUV in the typical sense – ample room to feel comfy and enough boot space to pack the family gear in. The first thing noticeable is the striking silhouette, its all curves and sculpted bodywork. Coming in a range of eye-catching colours, its certainly a car to turn heads – as Elysium Magazine found when taking this one out on a test drive from Paris to London. There were plenty of Anglo-French drivers wondering about the car as we passed.
Despite being a compact SUV, DS Automobiles has certainly packed in the features for the DS 3 Crossback. The lights, powered by the DS Matrix LED Vision firstly look like little diamonds, but moreover serve the purpose of lighting up the road better when needed e.g. when a car is approaching. The flush fitting door handles – whilst innocuous at first, are great at hiding away door handles until needed and go some way to making the silhouette really stand out.
Inside, the driver display, and cockpit continue the diamond theme – all very clean and slick to look at. The seating is very comfortable in leather with fancy stitching. The sound system, called DS Lounge, places 12 speakers throughout the cockpit to ensure that wrapped around feeling when listening to music. The DS Access – where the vehicle recognises your approach and unlocks automatically, say when the hands are laden with shopping is a nice touch too.
Perhaps the most surprising thing about the DS 3 Crossback is the engine – the zip of the 1-litre petrol engine tested was joyous when consideration is given to exactly what 1-litre is. It’s available in diesel (manual only) or petrol to suit driver preference, along with the 100% electric version, the DS 3 Crossback E-Tense.
The DS 3 Crossback is available from £21,555 on the road.
DS 7 Crossback
If the DS 3 was the compact SUV, the DS 7 Crossback is the beefed-up full SUV big brother. Featuring many of the detailing from the DS 3, this version takes things up a level in the luxury stakes too. On the outside, the DS 7 Crossback is on the expansive side – a bigger chassis with more scope for contouring those gorgeous curves seen on the DS 3. The headlights keep the diamond theme – although perhaps raise the stakes a little with more diamond detailing and the front grill does much to highlight this as a car to watch.
The interior of the DS 7 Crossback is where the real difference between the two models exists. The driver display is much more pleasing to the eye and screams of the detailing you’d expect from a luxury car. Clean displays and room to manoeuvre and navigate as required, but this is a technologically advanced cockpit. The leather seats – inclusive of the fancy stitching – are comfier and feature massage and heating functions. There is of course, much more room too.
Engine sizes are available in four capacities; 1.2, 1.5, 1.6 and 2 litres in petrol, diesel and electric. Having test driven the 1.6 litre petrol version, we can confirm it as a zippy drive but at this size of car it’s all about comfort rather than pure speed.
The DS 7 Crossback starts at £31,525 on the road, though a full specification model can hit the £70,000 mark.
To DS Or Not DS?
What DS Automobiles has done is spot a gap in the market and service it. It seems ludicrous to know that before DS Automobiles there wasn’t a French luxury car offering despite France being the home of luxury for so many things: champagne, Chanel, Louis Vuitton et al. Either of the DS models offers that unique feel when driving through the streets – the discerning gent won’t see many in the same way an Audi or BMW driver will clock numerous others whilst on the move.
Of the two, the DS 3 Crossback felt more fun to drive – zippier and cheekier too, if cars can take on that human trait, albeit whilst on the road. Price-point wise, the DS 3 Crossback is in the same brackets as the Audi Q3 or the BMW X3 whilst the DS 7 Crossback competes against the Q7 and X5/X7 respectively – with the addition of the Lexus RX too. The question is, does the driver pick something well established and numerous in volume on the roads, effectively the safe same-same choice (nothing wrong with that btw) or does the driver opt for something rarer, more Avand Garde? Decisions, decisions indeed.
For more details, visit DS Automobiles