The new DS 3 Crossback joins the DS 7 in the brand’s SUV line-up, with an all-electric E-Tense model to follow
DS has named its price for the new Audi Q2 rivalling DS 3 Crossback. The brand’s premium B-segment SUV starts from £21,550 for the model in base Elegance trim, paired to a 1.2-litre three-cylinder PureTech engine developing 99bhp. Standard equipment includes 17-inch alloy wheels, rear parking sensors, lane keep assist, traffic sign recognition, a digital dashboard panel plus a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
• Best small SUVs on sale 2019
Like the larger DS 7 Crossback, the DS 3 features interior schemes, with the ‘Montmartre’ upholstery in the Elegance model featuring bronze cloth. The 99bhp car is equipped with a manual gearbox, while the 130 and 155 PureTech models get an eight-speed automatic gearbox. A 99bhp BlueHDi manual is also offered on select trim levels, and is equipped with a manual transmission.
Performance Line models are predicted to be popular, starting from £22,950 for the PureTech 100 manual. The 128bhp PureTech 130 variant of this model is expected to be the biggest seller, and is priced from £25,950. The 17-inch wheels turn black, while tinted rear windows also appear. This model also gains 3D LED taillights, while the interior gains partial Alcantara seats, a black leather steering wheel, and aluminium sports pedals.
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Prestige models start from £24,950, and build on Performance Line DS 3 Crossbacks with the addition of automatic air conditioning, automatic wipers, front and rear parking sensors and an additional two USB ports up front. The central display grows to ten inches in size and features satellite navigation as standard, and a full leather upholstery is added.
Ultra Prestige adds 18-inch wheels, while key technology additions include a head-up display, additional safety and driver assistance features, a reversing camera and full LED matrix headlights. The seats are upgraded to feature ‘watch-strap’ style Nappa leather with a massage function for the driver. A launch spec La Premiere model is available until September and comes fully loaded, and starts from £32,450.
DS has confirmed that the all-electric DS 3 Crossback E-Tense will go on sale in the UK this summer, with first deliveries potentially before the end of the year. However, prices and specifications have not yet been revealed. The E-Tense won’t be a standalone model, with the all-electric powertrain likely to be offered across Performance Line, Prestige and Ultra Prestige trims.
New DS 3 Crossback makes Paris debut
Like its bigger brother, the DS 7, the DS 3 gains the Crossback name to signify its SUV-ness. It’s still compact at 4,118mm long – 178mm longer than the popular hatch it replaces – but it gains rear doors and a whole host of tech thanks to the PSA group’s new compact CMP (Common Modular Platform) that’ll be used in everything from the new Peugeot 208 to the next Vauxhall Corsa.
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That platform brings with it electrification with an all-electric E-Tense model arriving six months after petrol and diesel versions of the DS 3 Crossback.
• Best small SUVs on sale
Proportionally, the DS 3 Crossback fills the small SUV perfectly; short, chunky and with plenty of premium touches like the Matrix LED headlights – not quite as fancy as those in the DS 7 Crossback, but giving the front end a touch of premium French flair. In fact, the DS 3 has more than a hint of DS 7 at the front, with the over-sized DS grille flanked by chromed DS wings and those slim lights, with vertical LED running lights, too.
The side view takes more getting used to with your eye drawn to a new interpretation of the shark fin design feature from the old car, described by Thierry Metroz, DS Style Director, as “part of the DS 3’s DNA”.
What was more harmonious in the hatch is less successful on a five-door car, sitting at the front of the rear door just behind the B-Pillar. The window line of the back door that wraps around the rear hatch sits strangely higher than that of the front door, too. This houses the rear tweeter, and an eight-speaker audio setup is standard fit.
There are no visible window seals on the front doors either – a design that’s supposed to give a chunkier look to the metalwork. There is some nice detailing in the swage lines across the doors, contrasting roof and body colours, plus flush-fitting door handles – similar to those used by Jaguar and Land Rover – to add to the premium feel.
There’s no doubting the premium feel inside, too, with top-notch materials used on the dash and door tops. A smart 10-inch touchscreen dominates, with a digital display in front of the driver, too. Touch sensitive controls arranged are in a diamond formation on the dash.
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As well as the clever lights and door handles, you can get level two autonomy in the shape of DS’s Drive Assist, Smart Access to open the car via your mobile phone and an upmarket Focal audio set-up.
You’ll be able to choose your DS 3 Crossback in five French-themed trims, plus an initial La Première launch edition, all with French craftsmanship to the fore. “Refinement and attention to detail are what French luxury brands are famous for,” Eric Apode, DS’s Senior Vice President for Products, told us. “That along with technology are DS USPs – in 20 years that will be clear.”
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Comfort will also be key to DS products and the DS 3 Crossback promises everything from comfy seats – which we can confirm with a decent amount of space in the front and back – to low levels of noise, vibration and harshness, and a chassis tuned to benefit the ride.
Engines will focus on petrol power with three PureTech units with 99, 128 and 148bhp, plus a 98bhp diesel. Then at the end of the year the E-Tense will arrive with its 100kW (134bhp) electric motor and 50kWh battery, which claims a realistic range of around 200 miles under the new WLTP tests. It’ll also be compatible with 100kW fast chargers for an 80 per cent charge in around 30 minutes.
DS has unashamedly spoken of targeting Audi in the past, so the DS 3 Crossback will line up against the likes of the Audi Q2 and MINI Countryman. When it arrives in Spring next year, expect prices to start at around £21,000.
Six new DS models in six years
The DS 7 and DS 3 Crossback models are the start of a product onslaught that will position the PSA’s luxury brand against established premium rivals. DS Automobiles CEO Yves Bonnefont promises a six-strong model range by 2023 – a line-up started by the DS 7 and DS 3 Crossbacks.
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He also promises that every model will feature electrification from 2019. With the DS 3 E-Tense confirmed, that hints towards a plug-in hybrid version of the DS 7.
From 2025 every DS model launched will either be a plug-in hybrid or fully electric – there won’t be any petrol or diesel-only models after that time. Bonnefont also promised that DS will be the PSA Group’s tech leaders: “We’ll lead tech and innovation for the PSA Group before other brands,” he told us.
The idea behind DS is already paying off, though. “We have the best profit contribution per unit of PSA brands,” said Bonnefont.
What do you think of the new DS 3 Crossback SUV? Let us know in the comments section below…