Zapmap verdict: “Stylish and agile, the DS 3 Crossback E-Tense combines the natural strengths of compact crossovers in a premium EV package.”
- ● OTR: £30,990
- ● Category: Crossover
- ● Tax: £0 VED – 0% BIK
- ● Cost to charge: £8.00
- ● Emissions: 0 g/km CO2
- ● Cost per mile of range: £150
Range & charging
The DS 3 Crossback is the first pure-electric model from the premium brand, with a range of 206 miles on a charge and ultra-rapid charging capabilities. The first pure-electric model from DS shares a platform and powertrain with other PSA Group models such s the Peugeot e-208 and Vauxhall Corsa-e, but DS has decided upon a compact crossover for its EV rather than the conventional supermini shape of the other two. Also available with petrol and diesel engines, DS Automobiles’ electric focus means this E-Tense is a crucial model for the company.
There is one configuration available:
- ● DS 3 Crossback E-Tense – 100 kW – 50 kWh – 206 miles
Although a range of a little over 200 miles is good for a small car like the DS 3 Crossback E-Tense, drivers will be hard pushed to achieve that figure unless they drive almost exclusively in town. The average range available ended up at 160 miles on a charge, which is a greater difference between official and real-world than I’ve come to expect with WLTP-derived figures. That was with a careful bit of driving for some time, trying all the (reasonable real-world) tricks in the book, as a more reliable figure would be closer to 130 miles on a charge. It may have a 50 kWh battery, but the range is not particularly impressive compared to rivals.
However, for most, a range of between 130 and 160 miles on a charge is more than enough to cover a week’s worth of driving, and as such, the relatively short real-world range is of no issue. The driver also gets features like drive mode select – featuring Eco, Normal, and Sport – and a D/B setting on the gear selector to switch between near coasting in D and strong brake energy recuperation in B. The latter won’t allow for ‘one-pedal’ driving, but you can get close.
For those travelling longer distances, the DS 3 Crossback E-Tense is fitted with 100 kW ultra-rapid CCS DC charging capability as standard, meaning a top-up to 80% is possible in half an hour. That can add more than 100 miles of real-world range in that time, so it does help off-set the short-ish distance available on a single charge. Buyers get a 7..2 kW on-board charger fitted as standard for home, work, and public points, which will recharge the car in around seven and a half hours, though there is also the option of an 11 kW on-board charger for those with regular access to 11 kW or 22 kW points.
On the road
The DS 3 Crossback suffers or benefits from the fact that it’s a compact crossover, depending on your point of view. Personally, I prefer a sportier car, with good driving dynamics for a twisty country road. The DS doesn’t excel here, thanks to a higher ride height than a conventional supermini or similar. The centre of gravity – despite being relatively low thanks to the battery being placed in the floor of the car – is higher than you would find in an electric supermini, a Peugeot e-208 for example. As such, it’s not as precise to steer and leans more when cornering.
However, this means the softer set-up, with greater travel in the springs, better suits those preferring a more comfortable car. It remains a good choice for urban driving whatever the driver’s thoughts on handling, as the compact proportions and light steering mean it deals with thigh turns and car parks easily. It’s four-square stance helps the car’s natural agility, and it also makes the wheelbase as long as possible for motorway driving. Here, the DS 3 Crossback E-Tense is not a natural, but it’s certainly not out of its depth, and it’s a refined drive in most situations. The 100 kW electric motor is plenty powerful enough for the DS 3 Crossback E-Tense, and its instant pick-up a big benefit of the electric version over its petrol/diesel powered alternatives.
Comfort & Practicality
As a compact crossover, expectations for a large and spacious car should be tempered. What you will likely get is a car with similar levels of practicality to a supermini, and that’s roughly what the DS 3 Crossback E-Tense achieves. Thanks to being built on a platform designed with electrification in mind, the DS doesn’t compromise interior space because of its electric powertrain, so buyers get the same levels of head, leg, and shoulder room as conventionally powered models. Front seat passengers have plenty of space, whilst those in the rear don’t have a lot of leg room, but it’s ample for children. Boot space is decent rather than good, and overall the DS proves a practical enough proposition.
The seats throughout are comfortable and supportive, even over long trips, and the materials used are of a high quality. The DS 3 Crossback E-Tense is a premium proposition in the market, and it feels a nicer car to sit in than many of its rivals. The design reflects this ethos inside and out, with DS Automobiles’ chic French aesthetics proving more than just a task ticking off buzzwords. It looks different without putting buyers off.
Tech & Specifications
Equipment levels are good in the DS 3 Crossback E-Tense, with a number of key features fitted as standard. There’s room to upgrade with trim levels, options, or ‘Inspirations’ packs too. Standard kit includes 17-inch alloys, keyless start, air conditioning, leather steering wheel, 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system, and 7-inch digital drivers’ instruments.
The DS 3 Crossback E-Tense is not a car for those that prioritise a long driving range. For similar money and the same space, buyers can get the Hyundai Kona Electric which will cover around twice the distance in real-world driving on a charge. Those wanting more space could look at the cheaper and MG ZS EV which has a similar range. However, those wanting a stylish crossover, and who rarely need to cover long distances in it, will find the DS 3 Crossback E-Tense appealing.