DS 3 Crossback 2019 Review
Before we look at the car - or ‘luxury compact
SUV’ - it’s worth taking a moment to consider the name. DS has been a sub-brand
of Citroën since 2009 and a standalone marque since 2015. The 3 Crossback isn’t
the company’s first independent model but I’m labouring this quite deliberately
after a week of being asked what I have on test. ‘A DS 3 Crossback’ I reply,
waiting for the inevitable ‘Oh, a Citroën’. Clearly there is still some PR work
Enough about the name. What’s it like and does it really differ from the other PSA models? Certainly, there are hints of the wider group’s design ethos but DS brings its own signature face. One of the first things you’ll notice is the DS logo and its diamond imagery can be found on just about every part of the car, inside and out. It starts with the pleasing chromed logo and diamond grille mesh and can be seen in the stern-looking headlamps too. It’s not the cheeky face often found on smaller SUVs but a serious look with the stern brow of the bonnet edge.
The DS 3 Crossback is cleanly-styled on its flanks - with a notably high window line - and similarly the tail is neat and attractively unadorned. Possibly the car’s biggest styling cue is the kicked-up window line behind the B pillar.
Inside, it’s serious business too, with dark suede across the facia, dark headlining and those shallow windows bringing a cocooning feel. There are plenty of soft-touch materials and seating is comfortable
There is an element of form over function with many of the buttons being hard to distinguish and laid out somewhat haphazardly. More regular drivers will find familiarity helps.
Engines and trim levels
The range is comprised of Elegance, Performance Line, Prestige, Ultra Prestige and La Premiere. As is quite common, it’s the mid specifications which hit the sweet spot in terms of equipment. Performance Line brings electronic folding mirrors, Alcantara trim and the all-important safety pack. Prestige adds the larger 10-inch media screen, navigation, keyless start and front parking sensors to the package.
Engine-wise, it’s the 100, 130 or 155 PS petrol and 100 PS diesel. The higher output petrol engines are automatic only; the others have manual gearboxes. The all-electric E-TENSE is also now available to order.
On test we have the 130 PS petrol, with its 1.2 litres displacement across three cylinders. It is smooth, sweet-sounding and well matched to the 3 Crossback, providing respectable performance. We tended to average low 30s to the gallon on mixed driving including town and motorway sections.
The higher seating position affords the driver a commanding view of the road ahead. The angles on the B-pillers, however, do reduce side visibility enormously, especially for that brief over-the-shoulder glance before moving out a lane on the motorway. Rear visibility is also limited, making the parking camera a much appreciated piece of equipment.
Ride-wise, the DS 3 is comfortable, with suspension leaning toward soft. The suppleness means there is a small amount of nose lift under acceleration and it dips slightly on braking: characteristics which used to be mainstream before everyone went for firmer rides. Despite the softness, when pushed harder in the corners, it demonstrates surprisingly good composure.
Visually, the DS 3 stands-out and excepting its sister brand Citroën, there are few other companies concentrating as hard on comfort. It’s slightly flawed in some of its details, but then it does have some character. Whether it’s a true premium brand is debatable, but it certainly ticks the luxurious box with the generous equipment. And with its distinctive branding and (currently) relatively low numbers on the road, it means a little individuality too.
About the Author
Andrew is a freelance motoring journalist with a background in IT and the vehicle leasing industry. With a lifetime’s passion for all things automotive, he can be found behind the wheel of everything from vans to supercars. In addition to reviewing the latest vehicles and technology, Andrew also runs a couple of classic British motors. He lives at the edge of the Peak District with his son and cat.
Andrew Wright @theMotorWriter