24.1.2020DS 3 Crossback PureTech 130 review
Compact, crossover, and eye-catching, the DS 3 Crossback is a car for the current market. It's a supermini on stilts, featuring DS Automobiles, distinctive design details, and the brand's parent company PSA Group is getting a lot right at the moment. We test the latest model from DS to see how it gets on.
Review by Chris Lilly
The test model features a 1.2 litre PureTech petrol engine, producing 130 hp and 230 Nm of torque. Power goes through DS's EAT8 eight-speed automatic transmission to the front wheels. It allows for a 0-62 mph time of 9.2 seconds and a top speed of 124 mph. The DS 3 Crossback isn't exactly quick then, but neither is it a slouch. The little petrol engine needs to be worked hard on occasion when pushing on, but deals with day-to-day use comfortably. The automatic gearbox is very good, and quick enough to change up or down when required. The engine pulls nicely when the turbo comes on song, and from relatively low revs. It can sound a little noisy when pulling hard, with a distinctive three-cylinder thrum emanating from up front, but is perfectly refined enough most of the time.
The DS 3 Crossback might look tall, but it actually sits fairly low, as is the way of the supermini-sized crossover. As such, handling is just about as good as a comparable supermini, with a little more lean in the corners. The benefit of this is that the DS 3 Crossback grips well and is pretty fun to drive, even if the steering is light. Unusually for a PSA Group product, the DS 3 Crossback doesn't shrug off poor road surfaces, and can crash over pot holes that it should deal with easily. Overall, it's a good handling set-up, but a car for those that prioritises comfort above all else.
The DS 3 Crossback's styling isn't going to be to everyone's taste, but it's a stylish effort and certainly one that doesn't blend into the background. Retaining many DS styling elements, the 3 Crossback is part of a new wave of DS Automobiles models, and links nicely to the DS 7 Crossback, though with a more youthful appeal. Because of the focus on styling, the interior space has suffered a little, and few would pick the DS 3 Crossback as a practical car. It will deal with a couple of passengers comfortably, and will take a couple of childrens' seats in the rear or more compact adults on shorter trips, but rear leg space is at a premium. Boot space is reasonable considering the class of car, but again, there's not a lot of load area to pack things in to. Overall, it's a compact car well designed for urban driving, but there are more spacious options available in the same class.
COMFORT & CONTROLS
Inside, the DS 3 Crossback's cabin ties in nicely to many of the key exterior design cues. The off-set chevrons feature throughout, and DS's aim at a premium buyer is clear throughout. The switchgear sits largely within diamond-panels in the dashboard or around the base of the gear selector, and feels nice to use. The majority of functions are controlled through the touchscreen system however, sitting atop the dashboard. It's a good system, though a little laggy to use, and the sat-nav graphics, although crisp, are a quite simple. It's no comment on its effectiveness, but but it does lessen the premium feel.
MPG & RUNNING COSTS
Official fuel economy for the model tested is 45.6 MPG, from the 1.2 litre Puretech petrol unit and EAT8 auto 'box. It's a pretty good figure for a small petrol engine, and it's fairly accurate too. After around 375 miles of mixed driving, the trip computer reported 42.1 MPG; that's over a blend of town roads, country lanes, motorway routes. It also factors in driving styles ranging from economical to sporty. The CO2 emissions for the DS 3 Crossback driven come in at 141 g/km.
DS Automobiles makes good use of the PSA Group's engines, many of which have won awards. This 1.2 litre 130 hp petrol unit is one of the picks of the range, offering a good balance between performance and economy. The greenest model in the range won't be any of the petrol models, but the pure-electric DS 3 Crossback E-Tense. DS is rolling-out electrified options across its range - the DS 7 Crossback has a PHEV version available - and the 3 Crossback uses the same powertrain as the Peugeot Vauxhall Corsa-e.
There are five key trims for the DS 3 Crossback - Elegance, Performance Line, Prestige, Ultra Prestige, and La Premier. Driven was middle of the range Prestige, but all models come pretty well equipped. Entry-level Elegance includes kit such as 17-inch alloys, rear-parking sensors, keyless start, 7-inch touchscreen with DAB, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto connectivity, air conditioning, and leather steering wheel. Performance Line adds LED rear lights and sports styling details. Prestige boosts that to automatic air conditioning, USB charging ports, parking sensors all-round, 10-inch touchscreen, 3D navigation and WiFi, leather trim, and automatic wipers. Further up the ladder come elements such as 18-inch alloys, reversing camera, LED headlights, advanced safety pack, keyless entry and start, head-up display, and wireless phone charging.
Bang on trend, the DS 3 Crossback looks set to be a success even if wasn't very good. However, it's a good compact crossover, if you try one out anticipating the limited interior space. It drives well, looks good, and stands out from the crowd. We look forward to trying the forthcoming E-Tense pure-electric version.
Model tested: DS 3 Crossback Prestige PureTech 130 EAT8
Body-style: Compact crossover
Engine / CO2: 1.2 litre petrol / 141 g/k
On-road price: from £22,515. Price as tested: £28,955
Warranty: Three years / 60,000 miles
In the showroom: Now
Review rating: 3.0 Stars