DS 3 Crossback
Prestige PureTech 155 EAT8
doin it, doin it
everybody being carmakers and
being turning out compact
uban-friendly SUVs. Now DS have
thrown their Parisienne-chic DS 3
Crossback into the ring...
JUDGED BY ITS DS 7, the now stand-alone French marque has already established
a distinct avant-garde slant to its automobiles; its DS 3 Crossback is likewise
refreshingly different a difficult trick to pull off in a market
sector awash with a multiplicity of like-looking crossovers and sports utility
For those determined on une vie moins ordinaire (a life less ordinary)
the DS 3 Crossback is a fine place to start. Externally the styling majors on
in-vogue detailing such as the motorised flush-fitting chrome door handles that
pop out when you plip the key.
Other distinguishing touches include a prominent hexagonal, fingertip-luring
3D grille, deliciously shapely siamesed tech-look headlights cut into the bonnet,
'shark fin' kick-ups on the rear doors, and an intriguingly squared-yet-somehow-also-rounded
tail incorporating a pair of big-bore chromed-tipped tailpipes all signed
off with a zeitgeisty DS monogram on the tailgate. Together they mark the Crossback
out as anything but ordinaire.
that's before you add colour. Dressed in one of DS's vivid metallic paint finishes
the bold 'n' brazen Imperial Gold is especially dramatic few of
its trendier rivals can catch the eye as quickly as does a DS 3 Crossback. Swing
open the driver's door and the avant-garde treatment runs on inside.
of diamonds, and more
diamonds... Given that
theyre a girls best
friend, one could safely
bet on the DS
designers being from
Venus because the
theme is used
generously, and to
great effect, with
switchgear and detailing
along with diamond
quilted soft black
The result is a cabin
to almost every
First impressions are of diamonds, and then more diamonds... Given that they're
a girl's best friend one could safely bet on the DS Crossback's interior designers
being from Venus because the theme is used generously, and to great effect,
with diamond-shaped switchgear and detailing along with diamond 'quilted' soft
black leather upholstery. The result is a cabin stylistically different to almost
The dash architecture is clean and simple with the focus at its centre where
a ten-inch infotainment touchscreen sits at an ideal height, tilted back like
a laptop. Beneath it and sitting flush with the fascia is a cluster comprised
of diamond-shaped touch-sensitive switches and menu jumps arranged round the
central pair of air vents. Below this sharp-edged grouping is the Engine Start/Stop
Directly ahead of the driver and seen through the sporty flat-bottomed steering
wheel is a digital instrument panel with crystal clear graphics. Naturally you
can select a display that shows you as much or as little as you wish to see;
the default is hard to beat for clarity a large digital speed readout
topped by the posted speed limit, with slim vertical bar-graph strips at the
outer screen edges for revs and fuel. Range, of course, is also indicated but
with just these essentials on show there's minimal distraction when driving
in busy traffic.
The upscale cabin feels far roomier than you might be expecting from the Crossback's
compact 4.1-metre footprint. Despite the 'high-ride' looks, the seat's hip-point
makes entry an easy two-step: perch your derriere; then swing in your legs.
Once in you have a full fist of headroom; more if you lower the height-adjustable
seat. The front chairs are shapely, supportive and very comfortable with bolstering
that keeps you securely located through the twisties and enhances the nicely
commanding driving position that lets you see the whole bonnet (views back are
equally informative). Combined with the subtle luxury, the seats also add a
mischievous hint of upmarket 'club racer' to the cabin, something that's borne
out by the Crossback's chuckable nature.
Also up to scratch are the comms. The large HD touchscreen is home to DS's Connect
infotainment system with integrated TomTom navigation; smartphone mirroring
is covered by Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Other features include online
search, fuel forecourt, parking, and weather information, plus live traffic
music needs are taken care of by a DAB digital radio and handsfree Bluetooth
with media streaming. Two USB jacks are provided up front and the speaker tally
is eight, so more than enough for most listeners. The climate control settings
can be viewed full-screen whenever you like or need to make adjustments while
other essentials include an emergency call assistance system. You can also use
your voice to operate the SatNav, phone, audio, and climate.
152bhp unit has
plenty of get up and go
but youll need to watch
your speed on back
roads, where its all too
easy to break the national
limit. A characterful
and punchy low-down
and mid-range grunt
makes it easy to give this
1.2-litre its head.
Do so and it will
definitely keep you
entertained even more
so in Sport mode...
navigation offers 3D mapping with crisp graphics that are easily readable both
day and night it's also supported by foolproof spoken directions. Nice,
too, that you can also have the mapping as a full-width background in the multi-adjustable
instrument panel. Also appreciated is a Speed Recognition & Recommendation feature:
exceed the posted limit and the speed limit sign in the instrument panel flashes
to alert you without making a big thing about it. All essential stuff at a time
when it's never been easier to incur points on your licence.
In-cabin storage includes a good-sized drop-down coin-box in the lower fascia,
capacious bottle-holding door pockets, a bin with a lift-out rubberised coin
tray beneath the sliding centre armrest between the front seats, a pair of dual-use
siamesed cupholders, an open tray ahead of the selector lever for your mobile,
and a real-world glovebox.
The middle-of-the-range Prestige trim gets you a goodly mount of kit. In addition
to items mentioned elsewhere (leather upholstery, SatNav, AirCon, etc) you also
get an electric parking brake, powerfolding, auto-dimming and heated door mirrors
(with 'DS' LED puddle-lights), four one-shot electric windows, auto-dimming
rearview mirror, lightly tinted front and dark tinted rear glass with acoustic
front and rear windscreens, an odour filter, and parking sensors at both ends.
Safety kit includes an emergency braking system, lane keeping assist, lane departure
warning, speed limit recognition and recommendation, intelligent speed adaptation,
hill-start assist, electronic stability control, a full suite of front and rear
airbags and curtain bags, a five-star EuroNCAP safety rating, 3D LED rear lights,
auto lights, auto wipers, drive-off automatic door locking, and tyre pressure
in the back the views out aren't anywhere near as restricted as they might appear
from the outside by the high beltline and the shark fin-style rear windows.
There's ample headroom and space for legs and feet for anyone of average build
and, yes, three can be parked side-by-side at a pinch. That noted, two grown-ups
is the likely maximum that owners of compact SUVs such as the Crossback are
likely to carry in the back, and then probably on an occasional basis. More
likely it will be youngsters who get to travel there regularly in child seats,
for which there are Isofix mounting points on both outer rear seats. There are
also usefully large seatback pouches and usable door bins.
suspension does a good
job of providing a settled
and satisfactory ride,
helped by comfort-
sidewalls on its Michelin
tyres (wrapped around
smart 17-inch machined-
face black alloys).
Add to that a cabin
well insulated against
road and wind noise
and rolling refinement is
good enough to counter
Crossback's fully independent multilink rear suspension does a good job of providing
a settled and satisfactory ride, helped by the comfort-orientated 60-profile
sidewalls on its Michelin tyres (wrapped around smart machined-faced black 17-inch
alloys). Add to that a cabin well insulated against road and wind noise and
rolling refinement is good enough to counter crumbling urban blacktop. However,
there's still enough firmness and well-managed body control to not take the
edge of the DS's road-holding when upping the pace outside of 'thirty' limits.
Motorway trips are relaxing, and the Crossback always feels reassuringly settled.
front-wheel drive Crossback makes fine use of the PSA Group's (Peugeot, Citroen,
DS, and now Vauxhall brands) newest platform, which also underpins the latest
Peugeot 208. The Crossback's 170mm of ground clearance adds a degree more dexterity
for climbing kerbs in town (just don't park there or you'll likely get a ticket!).
Thanks to electric-assisted power-steering that's reassuringly progressive and
direct enough to play along whenever some quick cornering is called for, placing
the DS 3 accurately is a breeze. Further helped by a compact flat-bottomed steering
wheel with a lovely grippy leather rim, it's an easy car to punt about whether
you're parking up in a packed multi-storey car park or rat-running through town.
the cityscape in your rearview mirror and you'll quickly find the DS 3 is enjoyable
to drive on faster, less-well-travelled roads courtesy of its respectable handling
and good grip. Plus you have a choice of drive modes (Sport, Normal, and Eco).
There are paddle-shifters on the wheel and, if you want maximum control of the
shifting, a dedicated Manual setting. By the way, Sport mode also brings the
benefit of some extra weighting at the helm.
that you have to drive everywhere with verve to enjoy your time in the DS 3
even pootling is rewarding. The brakes, ventilated discs at the nose
and solid discs at the rear, bring the numbers down quickly while keeping everything
composed and stable.
progressive and direct
enough to play along
whenever some quick
cornering is called for,
placing the DS 3
accurately is a breeze.
Further helped by a
steering wheel with a
lovely grippy leather rim,
an easy car to punt
about whether youre
parking up in a packed
multi-storey car park
or rat-running through
If petrol is your poison then you get to choose between three power outputs:
99bhp, 129bhp or 152bhp. Swing low and you get a six-speed manual 'box; swing
high and the gearbox will be a self-shifting eight-speeder. If you're still
keeping faith with diesel then you're in luck a 100bhp four-cylinder
1.5-litre HDi turbodiesel awaits you. However, if you're all about green 'n'
clean then the 100% electric E-Tense will be right up your street.
petrol-drinkers are all turboed PureTech three-cylinder units. We've been driving
the top-rated 152bhp that runs to 129mph, does 0-62mph in a persuasive 8.2 seconds,
and has an official combined cycle fuel consumption of between 41.7 and 46.6mpg.
We weren't trying to drive economically (but we did leave the private jet at
home) and still logged an easily-come-by 41.7mpg at the end of our week's hard
152bhp unit has plenty of get up and go and you'll need to watch your speed
on back roads, where it's all too easy to break the national limit. A characterful
three-cylinder soundtrack and punchy low-down and mid-range grunt 177lb
ft @ 1,750rpm makes it easy to give this torquey direct-injected and
turbocharged 1.2-litre its head. Do so and it will definitely keep you entertained
even more so in Sport mode. And throughout it all the 8-speed autobox
serves up smooth gearchanges whether your style is Driving Miss Daisy or The
so the Crossback's boot is not the biggest out there; but at 350 litres it's
more than fit for purpose. It's also a regular shape to enable you to make the
most of it. A parcel shelf luggage cover means quick access to the contents
without tugging away at a roller blind. There is a lip to load over and a shallow
'step-up' from the boot floor to the folded rear seatbacks in loadbay mode but
it's not a problem.
And for those occasional loads or more regular trips to the woods with your
four-legged friend, the cargo bay stretches to a useful 1,050 litres once the
60:40-split rear seats are folded. When you need to, you can tow a braked 1,200kg.
The Crossback stores a space-saver under its boot floor which is far better
than one of those ubiquitous 'puncture repair kits' supplied by most carmakers
that are no help at all if the sidewall is dameged.
There's little chance that DS's high-end take on a compact SUV won't appeal
to your heart. Thankfully its charm goes deeper than its 'raised riding', town-friendly,
attention-grabbing image with space and practicality enough, plus it's enjoyable
to drive and not just in the city. So go ahead, stake your claim to a
life less ordinary! ~ MotorBar
DS 3 Crossback Prestige PureTech 155 EAT8
Maximum speed: 129mph | 0-62mph: 8.2 seconds | Test Average: 41.7mpg
Power: 152bhp | Torque: 177lb ft | CO2: 114-128g/km