ARE WE ON THE BRINK OF A NEW FRENCH REVOLUTION?

Synergy Content Editor Jonny Edge takes a short drive in two exciting new French cars – the DS 7 Crossback and Peugeot 508.

 

There’s a very good chance that your view of French cars is around 10-15 years out of date. Up until the other day, the idea of this being the case really hadn’t triggered in my head. Sure, we’ve seen the new Peugeot 3008 SUV – 2017’s European Car of the Year and absolutely gorgeous – but, like many people in the late 18th century, I hadn’t seen what was coming next. I should have.

 

My first real look at the 3008 was when a friend of mine took delivery of his. He’d ordered it in the bold ‘Sunset Copper’ paint and next to a rainy 5-a-side football pitch one evening it looked as if the Paris Motor Show had come to the car park. There’s seeing a car in pictures and then there’s seeing it in person, and in person the styling, quality and interior was even more impressive than in the images from coverage. Peugeot had clearly upped its game, this new SUV felt like a completely different product to some Peugeot’s that had gone before.

 

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Since that damp night at football more than a year ago, I hadn’t thought much more about the 3008. Fast-forward to September 25th 2018 and I’m chatting with guys from Peugeot and DS at an industry event for motoring journalists. They’ve brought along the new DS 7 Crossback – the first true DS product – and the new Peugeot 508 saloon. Apparently, they were going to really impress me.

 

Goodness me, they were right. For a start, both of these cars look French and I’ll tell you why that’s pleasing. The French nation is a vibrant, culturally rich and diverse place. It’s full of fashion houses, designers, artists and musicians and as such is one of the cultural powerhouses of Europe. When the French design a car it tends to look and feel, well, French. There was a danger that perhaps with the new generation of cars – SUVs in particular – that they could have de-Frenched themselves a bit, but thankfully that hasn’t happened and the DS 7 and 508 are clearly products of the nation they come from. Identity, the things that make you stand out, the DNA of your brand – they’re hugely important.

 

 

Upon taking a seat inside these new French cars, it was immediately obvious that the dramatic, almost conceptual design philosophy first seen in the 3008 was still here and here to stay. The DS 7 in particular – being a premium brand – impressed with its superb finish and a theme that revolved around diamonds, present in the shapes across the car as well as the graphics on the digital display and infotainment system. Being from the same family, the Peugeot 508 offered a similar feel, though Peugeot’s ‘i-cockpit’ still seems as if it’s going to be a problem for anybody over 6ft tall.

 

Both of these cars are currently available only as front-wheel drive, but the idea that rear-wheel drive is superior is not always correct. There’s often a lot of talk from drivers who claim to ‘get the rear out’ when driving rear-wheel driven cars, but anyone who does this on a public road is firstly, disrespecting their own safety and the safety of others and secondly, is probably invalidating their car insurance by turning off safety aids. While it’s true that rear-wheel driven cars provide a different feel, it shouldn’t be something you base choosing a car around. Four-wheel drive however, can be much more useful, especially in poor weather and paired with winter tyres, even if it does sacrifice a bit of efficiency.

 

 

The theme and feeling from both the DS 7 and 508 is that comfort is the priority above all else. They both provide a lovely interior with great seating – that could use a little more support around the sides – and the ride feels setup to absorb bumps and ruts rather than enhance grip and agility. The downside to this is that when driving with some gusto, neither of these new French offerings could be all that fun to pilot. However, if you’re not that type of driver both of these cars are already very easy to recommend as viable alternatives to big, probably-German rivals.

 

Both of these new cars from our friends over the Channel look and feel excellent, first impressions have been superb and if you’re the type of person who’s turned away from Peugeot in recent years, now is the time to turn back and take another look. The 508 is nothing like the Peugeot’s of old, and as for the DS, if you want a premium alternative to the usual suspects, it’s well deserving of some serious attention.

 

We’ll be looking to spend more time with these cars in the near-future to get a further look at them, but for now, prepare yourselves. There could well be a second French Revolution on the way.

 

TO CHECK OUT OUR LATEST OFFERS ON THE NEW DS 7 CROSSBACK, CLICK HERE

 

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