2018 DS 7 Crossback: Today Geneva, tomorrow the U.S.?
As part of the PSA Group’s remaking of itself in Europe, the factory parent of Peugeot and Citroën has created a new luxury brand spun out of the latter under the DS nameplate. Much like the way Lexus has been created for Toyota or Infiniti for Nissan, the upscale DS brand features higher levels of equipment, more expressive styling and product portfolio more tightly targeted to its wealthy audience. At Geneva, the division unveiled the DS 7 Crossback, a luxury crossover SUV that looks like a prime competitor for the Lexus RX, which arguably created this genre.
Based on the same platform as the Peugeot 3008 unveiled last fall in Paris, the DS has fairly conventional styling for the segment, the different being the additional chrome accents and distinctive grille that identifies the make.
According to Yves Bonnefont, CEO of DS, “The DS 7 Crossback ushers in a second era for DS Automobiles. This global SUV, refined and high-tech, embodies French know-how by bringing together premium materials, craftsmanship and technological innovations. Its advanced equipment introduces new levels of driving comfort and performance.” The operational bit of that press kit boilerplate is the word “global.” PSA has announced that it will begin its return to the U.S. market (both Peugeot and Citroën were withdrawn from America over 25 years ago) with a car sharing service in San Francisco and Boston. It appears that the DS 7 could present a new face for the group with an all-new brand in an upscale segment with higher margins than could be supported by its more mainstream channels.
Still, despite its upscale pretense, there still needs a lot of work to be done on the DS 7 if it’s to become fully competitive with the likes of the Lexus RX, Audi Q5 and BMW X5. For starters, it has to offer more than the front-drive that it will be introduced with, as well as more powerful engines (maybe even a V6) beyond PSA’s current lineup of engines that include turbocharged 4-cylinder powerplants which make at most 227 horsepower, although the optional 8-speed automatic should work just fine in the U.S.