By BRIAN BYRNE
THE DS 3 Crossback is the premium level of three different brand models in the PSA element of the Stellantis automotive group. There’s the DS 3, the Citroen C3, and the Peugeot 208, all cousins under the French part of the Stellantis group, which now includes Opel, Fiat, Chrysler, and Jeep.
The DS 3 Crossback is my subject for this week. In its electric form. And I have an immediate crib — the review car came with a non-standard leather upholstery ... and no seat heating. For a designated premium brand, DS has dropped the ball here. Especially in an electric car, where the conventional wisdom to maximise range is to use seat heaters instead of the car’s climate system to keep warm, as they consume less power.
Let’s move on. I love the DS logo, which has true style and stands out from most others really well. And some upcoming DS cars will also be showing really stylish, even sumptuous car design. But the style of the DS 3 Crossback is a little off for me. Small aesthetic things can annoy me, and that funny upkick at the B-pillar does it this time. I don’t think it will wear well, and will join the jagged ‘blitz’ crease along the side of the second generation Opel Meriva in the bin of quirky and unpretty automotive design sins. But that may be a gender thing, as when I compared notes with a woman colleague, she liked it.
Maybe the interior is a gender thing too. The underpinning DS motif is diamond shapes, and you know what they say about diamonds and girls? But it can be overdone, and the styling of the dashboard switchgear in diamond designs was confusing, tricky to visually navigate, and generally too much for my preference for clear and intuitive controls.
All that said, the DS generally does have a strong visual presence on the outside, particularly from the front. By name and other crossover parameters, it’s classed as a small SUV, and sits at the smaller end of that spectrum. But there’s still reasonable interior space, and cargo capacity on par for where it is.
Apart from my grumbles above, the DS 3 Crossback is a comfortable space to be in. And given its Citroen heritage, is very comfortable when out driving. The Citroen ethos today is ‘comfort engineered in’, and the DS gets all that too.
Like cousin models Peugeot 208 and Opel Corsa, the DS 3 comes with the option of electric, petrol or diesel powertrains, and for this review I was in the electric one, dubbed E-Tense. The car was the Elegance entry grade, and there are two further levels. Within the petrol orbit, there are 100hp, 130hp and 155hp options, the last two being automatic.
The review car electric powertrain performs just as in its Peugeot and Opel cousins, with a rated range of up to 320km, and rapid charging capability at up to 100kW stations. One of the things about electric cars is that ambient temperature affects range significantly, and in the bitter days of the past few weeks they have been tested. I found I got a full charge of 300km, and that travelling on motorway conditions in the cold spun down the range pretty fast. On the other hand, shuttling it around the county in my local driving, with good regeneration, it operated quite frugally with the kWs. Rapid charging 0pc-80pc can be done in 30 minutes at a suitable point, but getting a full charge takes longer. For instance, at my local fast charger, it took 53’ to bring it from 72pc-100pc. But remember, if you buy it you will also buy a home charger, so overnight will always have you leaving home with a full range.
My electric car advice is the same as always, look at your driving needs and habits, and see if it makes usage and cost sense for you.
As with all of its kind, silent progress and swift acceleration potential are part of the attraction.
What I like: The clear comfort heritage.
Price: From €30,165 OTR; Review car €38,811.