New DS 3 Crossback E-Tense prototype review

The new electric DS 3 Crossback E-Tense promises a range of 200 miles. We try out a pre-production version to see what it's like…VerdictOur early drive of the DS 3 Crossback E-Tense showed it to be a capable and comfortable electric crossover. However, the car’s relatively modest range means our final verdict will hinge heavily on pricing and the available PCP finance options. If DS can get that bit right, there’s every chance it’ll offer something rather appealing in an increasingly crowded market.

Like almost all new cars due for launch this year, the DS 3 Crossback will be offered with a broad range of petrol, diesel and electrified powertrains. We first drove the PureTech 130 petrol earlier this month, but before the year is out, PSA’s premium brand will add a pure-EV version to the line-up – complete with a WLTP-rated 200-mile range. 

While a full road test of the forthcoming DS 3 E-Tense won’t be possible until the autumn, the French maker has already thrown us the keys to an early prototype version of its electric crossover. Our time with the car was restricted to just a few laps of a military training base in the hills above Monte Carlo but it was enough to give us a taste of what we can expect from the production-ready electric DS 3.

• New DS 3 Crossback review

Using a 50kWh battery and a 100kW electric motor, the E-Tense offers performance on par with its electric rivals. Throttle response is immediate, and while it won’t pin you in your seat like a Tesla, the instant torque means it feels quicker than the 8.7-second 0-62mph sprint suggests; 0-30mph is done and dusted in just 3.3 seconds.

As mentioned, our preliminary drive was short and somewhat restricted, but the few corners we did experience showed the E-Tense to handle neatly. The batteries are mounted under the floor and the standard car’s polished dynamics appear to have been carried over intact. The steering is light, however, and while it’s perfectly direct, there’s very little feel or feedback on offer. 

It’s impossible to pass judgement on high-speed ride or refinement due to the nature of our first test. However, if nothing else, the combustion-engined car’s grown-up driving experience should provide a solid base for the electric version – despite the fact that all the necessary componentry increases the kerb weight of the EV version by 300kg. At town speeds the E-Tense proved quiet and composed, absorbing smaller bumps with ease.

• Best electric cars on sale

DS claims the all-electric Crossback will offer a WLTP range of 200 miles, which puts it ahead of the Nissan Leaf but slightly shy of the Kia e-Niro and Hyundai Kona Electric. DS wouldn’t reveal how long the car will take to charge from a three-pin plug, but it did confirm that an 11kW wall box reduces top-up time to just five hours. Using a public fast-charge point the DS 3 can charge to 80 per cent full in around 30 minutes (5.5 miles per minute), which is about par for the course in this segment.

Inside, you’d be hard-pressed to tell the EV apart from its petrol and diesel counterparts. That’s to say it’s well built, if a little quirky in its design. Many of the car’s key functions are still hidden deep within the fiddly infotainment system, while the touch sensitive dashboard buttons are sometimes tricky to operate. Exact prices and specs will be announced nearer launch, but expect all versions to get sat-nav, climate control and 18-inch alloy wheels as standard.

Thankfully, the DS 3’s interior packaging isn’t compromised by the EV’s electric gubbins. In fact, the 350-litre boot is completely unaffected, which is lucky given the petrol model’s less-than-impressive statistics in this area. Space in the rear seats is adequate, if a little off the class best.

Key specs

  • Model: DS 3 Crossback E-Tense
  • Price: £30,000 (est)
  • Engine: 50kWh battery, 100kW electric motor
  • Power/torque: 136bhp/260Nm
  • Transmission: Single-speed auto, front-wheel drive
  • 0-62mph: 8.7 seconds
  • Top speed: TBC
  • Range: 200 miles (WLTP)
  • CO2: 0g/km
  • On sale: Late 2019

Rate your car in our Driver Power customer satisfaction survey

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *