► Pure EV, diesel and petrol versions offered
► Q2, Countryman and UX rival
The baby SUV craze has a new contender – the DS 3 Crossback – from aspiring French brand DS. Arriving in the UK in May 2019, the compact crossover will be sold as a pure electric car, or with petrol and diesel engines. It’s a handsome, high-tech, five-door rival to the Audi Q2, Mini Countryman or Lexus UX, with the DS 3’s price ranging from £21,550 to £33,950. Here's everything you need to know about the new DS 3 Crossback.
UK pricing and specs revealed
DS Automobiles has revealed the specs for the all-new 3 Crossback, and you can play with the configurator here. It surfaced in DS's flagship Manchester store for its first appearance on UK soil, and the 3 Crossback is a chunky little crossover, with big diameter wheels enabled by the first use of a box fresh car platform, Matrix LED headlamps that adapt their beam to different surroundings and oncoming traffic, and pop-out door handles that’ll get the neighbours curtain-twitching.
The flush handles are standard on the entry-level Elegance car, along with a 7-inch central touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and a digital instrument binnacle. Rear parking sensors and a suite of safety features – automated forward braking, lane keeping warning and speed sign recognition which can can be linked to a speed limiter – are bundled in too.
What’ll it cost on a monthly lease?
In the age of monthly payments, the key figure is a lead-in rental of £265 for 48 months, with a £2499 deposit. That’s for a 100hp 1.2-litre three-cylinder Elegance model with six-speed manual transmission.
DS expects the top seller to be the next petrol model up, the 130hp version of the three-cylinder engine coupled with the eight-speed automatic transmission, in either Prestige or Performance Line trims.
The 130hp PureTech Performance Line, which costs from £25,950, is DS Automobile’s take on Audi’s sporty S-Line trim. That means things go dark: the 17-inch alloys are Black Onyx and the chrome Crossback plate on the rump has a smoked black finish, as do the wing mirror caps and front grille. Inside the dashboard is swathed in Alcantara, and the pedals are finished in aluminium.
The Prestige trim with the same 130hp drivetrain layers on extra technology, with a price tag from £27,950. The central touchscreen grows to 10 inches, connected navigation and a wifi hotspot are plumbed in, there’s a parking sensor at the front and leather on the seats. It’ll cost £315 a month on a PCP, over a four-year term and with £4199 put down up front.
Electric version and much more technology
The headline news is that that 3 Crossback will be sold as a pure electric vehicle – the E-Tense – and its projected range has increased since DS first unveiled the car last autumn. Back then it quoted a range of 300km or 186 miles under the new WLTP testing regime, around 18 miles more than Nissan’s Leaf can currently muster. But as the homologation process continues, this is now expected to reach 320km or almost 200 miles.
The 3 Crossback E-Tense comes with a 50kWh battery pack; Hyundai’s Kona EV is available with a standard 39kWh battery pack for 186 miles, or 300 miles in 64kWh ‘long range’ guise.
Executives counter with the fact you can charge it to 80 percent within 30 minutes – though consumers would probably trade that 10-minute headstart for more range. A 130kW motor – producing 192lb ft of torque – spins the front wheels, sufficiently punchy for 0-62mph in 8.7secs. Boot space of 352 litres is identical to the combustion engine car’s; there’s no additional trunk in the nose.
The chassis is the latest-generation of PSA’s CMP (common modular platform), hence the ability to package battery cells. On average, the platform is 40kg lighter than the version used by the Citroën C3 Aircross or Peugeot 208, and more flexible to manipulate into different sizes. That said, the 4.11m-long DS 3 is only about 30mm shorter and wider than the C3 Aircross – but it’s more than 100mm lower, which does wonders for the stocky stance.
And the petrol engines?
While the triumvirate of petrol engines – a new 155hp version of the three-cylinder engine completes the set – and a 102hp diesel will be in UK showrooms from May, the EV will follow towards the end of the year. Prices are yet to be finalised.
The zero emissions 3 Crossback will be available with the upper trim levels, of which the top two are Ultra Prestige and the limited edition La Premiere: production of this will stop in September to keep it exclusive.
Ultra Prestige rolls on 18-inch rims, includes the Matrix LED headlamps and an automated version of the door handles which pop out, Tesla-style, when the owner ventures within a proximity of 1.5 metres. Also standard is head-up display and a reversing camera. DS is promising a sensory experience, with seat massaging and adjustable interior mood lighting. Prices will commence at £30,950.
The La Premiere edition, from £32,450, bundles in Level 2 autonomous driving courtesy of stop and go cruise control and active lane assist which countersteers if drivers drift out of lane. Blindspot detection, high beam assist, wireless smartphone charging and ‘Nappa’ leather upholstery inspired by the finish on watchstraps completes the range.
Eric Apode, DS Automobiles product chief, promises that the 3 will prioritise comfort and noise reduction, as the 7 Crossback has to mixed effect. That suggests the 3 will be at home on motorway as well as in cities, where its dinky dimensions should come into their own. Noise insulation measures include thicker door panels and glass, and a windscreen optimised to dampen soundwaves.
Hang on, isn’t the DS3 a three-door hatchback?
It is – but not for much longer. While production will continue for some months, the three-door hatchback is being phased out and won’t be replaced.
DS has six models in its plan, and the 3 Crossback is the second of them, following the DS 7 Crossback. Both are SUVs, tapping phenomenal demand around the world – a small supermini doesn’t offer the same volume and profitability potential.
‘Proportions are the most important thing: from the beginning we worked with the engineers to create the platform,’ says Thierry Metroz, DS head of design. ‘When you see it on the road, the 3 looks very dynamic, very playful.’
The 3 hatchback may be on the way out, but its distinctive shark fin is carried over to the Crossback’s body side. ‘It’s part of the DNA,’ says Metroz. Otherwise the side is deliberately clean – there’s no roof aerial or seal-hiding rubber or chrome where sideglass meets bodyside, for example – but there is a strong rear shoulder crease, ‘to give an SUV-stance,’ says Metroz.
The DS face – enlarged grille and vertical daytime running lights – is present and correct, along with headlamps that are deliberately kinked at the top to draw attention to their matrix LED capabilities. The thin rear lamps are connected by a chrome strip, just like the 7’s. Three different roof colours will be offered, along with some vibrant body colours among the 10 different paintjobs.
And the interior…
It’s certainly far more avant-garde than the sober, Audi-lite exterior of the DS 7. Inside, the 7’s rack of quirky switches beside the gear selector is carried over, but the 3 dashboard’s series of diamond-shaped details – air vents and touchscreen shortcut buttons – is a nice feature. The width of the dash is accentuated by having the side vents mounted in the doors. Nappa leather and Alcantara finishes – the latter overkill on DS 7 Performance trims – will again be offered.