DS, the premium brand from French auto giant PSA is a big step in the right direction with its all new DS 3 Crossback. The five door only crossover looks sharp and is built to a premium level on a brand new platform.
The DS 3 Crossback’s CMP underpinnings allows for a number of power trains to turn the wheels including traditional engines, hybrids, plug in hybrids and full EV. The car goes on sale mid summer and will come with engines powered by petrol or diesel. Later in 2019 an electric version will go on sale. We got a brief test drive in the DS 3 E-Tense the all electric BEV variant of the five seater. The near silent EV impressed during our drive and notably is the first PSA Group car maker to be allowed use the new platform as a full BEV. The E-Tense version will have a range of 320 kilometres and a 0-100km/h time of 8.7 seconds. The DS 3 E-Tense will be followed closely by the new Peugeot 208 EV and then the floodgates will open within the group’s other brands allowing Opel, Vauxhall and Citroen to launch their variants.
The new DS 3 Crossback follows hot on the heels of the large DS7 SUV as the firm goes on a renewal product offensive. Targeting the likes of Audi’s Q2 and the MINI Countryman the DS 3 Crossback replaces the DS 3 that is discontinued. A new model will be launched each year for the next four years from the Citroen breakaway brand.
Pop out door handles as seen in the Range Rover Velar and new Evoque are the main exterior party trick that catch the eye. Walk up to the car and get within 1.5m and the handles pop out automatically. The Crossback’s exterior is full of subtle detail and this will help it justify its premium aspirations. The way the bonnet partially covers the headlights is pretty nice. Speaking of lights optional adaptive LED matrix lights are available and quite excellent. On a night drive in and around Monaco the car lit up the outskirts and delivered a confidence inspiring driving experience. A contrasting roof colour option and a choice of 10 exterior colours ensure the DS 3 Crossback is contemporary in its styling.
Inside, as you’d expect is highly customisable. The dash is interesting and a diamond motif is the dominant and striking design point. New digital displays are housed in an innovative way. Premium brands like Chanel were quoted to us as influences on the Crossback’s design and while some hard plastics can be found our high grade test cars felt premium and far from run of the mill. The famed DS watch strap leather seats are available and look as gorgeous as ever In the new DS. Up front eh car is well suited to two up driving but the rear seats and view of the outside world are compromised. The rear windows are restricted and don’t open fully – although owners of the existing DS 3 thre door won’t mind! The boot will hold 350 litres of premium shopping and when you fold the back seats there is up to 1,050 litre of space.
Level 2 automation is available and all the latest ADAS systems are available Including AEB that identifies pedestrians and cyclists that also works at night.
Grades and Engines.
The grade structure in Ireland will be Elegance, Performance line, Prestige with the Ultra Prestige topping the range.
The entry PureTech 100hp petrol model comes with a manual gearbox while all other engines feature an automatic EAT8 gearbox. All engines are turbo charged and there will be three , three-cylinder petrol engines and two four-cylinder diesel engines available. with a 130hp and 155hp (both automatic) completing the Puretech offering. We tested two petrol units with 130hp and 155hp outputs. The 130hp felt fine and perfectly adequate with the 155 offering only a bit more zip. Diesel engines feature a manual 100hp BlueHDi with a 130hp automatic version the most powerful.
Those of us lucky enough to have owned a classic DS, like many Citroenians, were disappointed with the PSA Group firm blatantly cashed in on that car’s wonderful legacy. In 2013 DS was cut loose as a stand alone brand from Citroen. We were told even before then that DS would become an accepted premium brand but it would just take a couple of generations, well it’s been a couple of generations. On the road the DS 3 Crossback has suspension tuned for a reasonably comfortable ride but it falls short of the magic carpet ride of its namesake. The 1955 Citroen DS had unique and overly tricky suspension that gave it a marvellous ride quality. Sadly in any modern DS there is not a single piece of engineering brilliance that Andre Citroen would be proud of to make it stand out from the crowd. During a mix of urban, motorway and mountain road driving the car delivered a comfortable but uninspiring drive. You can select from three drive modes eco, normal and sport and none affect the suspension. When cornering with gusto the car gently rolls and threatens to run wide but hangs in there. The car may look sporty but the reality is it isn’t. Most buyers will be image led and will have no desire to drive with enthusiasm, but perhaps in time a sportier version may come along.