Striking DS delivers on quality

DS3 Crosback E-Tense

By Bill McCarthy

The decision to split off DS from parent brand Citroen looks to be paying off. Striking designs are the key and while you pay a premium price for the upmarket models you get unique styling, high end interior quality and a range of efficient engines.

And of course, the electric version, the E-Tense driven here.

The first 100 per cent electric model in the DS Automobiles, on sale since 2019, now has a claimed range of 212 miles according to the WLTP combined cycle, an increase of nearly seven per cent.

The car is powered by a 136bhp combination of 100kW electric motor powered by a 50kWh battery.

As with all electric vehicles, the trick is convincing drivers not to suffer from range anxiety.

That was tested to the full during a challenging drive during foul conditions on the motorway, where an admittedly not scientific estimate put it nearer 120 miles. However those were pretty extreme conditions and driving under normal circumstances, the range, again not a scientific estimate, was nearer 180 miles, even thought driver at higher speeds.

To mitigate range fears, the E-Tense can be topped up to 80 per send battery capacity in 30 minutes on the fastest chargers usually found on motorway services.

A charge will take nearer five hours with 11kW domestic fast charger, or eight hours with a 7kW unit.

The DS brand’s efforts to distinguish itself as the more luxury arm of Citroen are working if this firecrackers is anything to go by.

Visually outstanding, both inside and out, for a hatcback/SUV/crossover has a premium brand feel to the interior.

Like its DS predecessors it has a kind of quirky elegance that set it out from the crowd.

The front end features the “DS wings” grille, flanked by the LED matrix headlights on this model and vertical daytime running lights and 18-inch diamond cut ally’s

Another clever touch are the flush door handles, which pop out when the door is unlocked via keyless entry and settle back into place when the door is closed. 

The interior features a jewel-like theme, with diamond-shaped controls on dash and seven-inchcentre console which controls infotainment, connectivity via Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and navigation where specified

The whole interior feels luxurious with soft touch finish throughout and in this case Nappa leather seats with pearl stitching and suede type finish.

Head and legroom are surprisingly good in the front although tighter for rear seat passengers. Everything feels well engineered and screwed together. 

Boot space is pretty good with 350 litres expanding 1,050 litres with the seats folded, giving really usable stowage space..

On the road, an electric motor whisks the car to 60mph in a lively 8.7 seconds. Not the quickest, but plenty fast enough for the majority, who will be more concerned with range than blistering performance. More importantly perhaps, it will hit 30mph in just over three seconds, ideal around town.

The handling is decent with a comfortable ride while the steering has a positive feel.

All models are well equipped. Goodies on this model include eight speaker sound system, Bluetooth® handsfree and media streaming with USB socket, multi-function on-board trip computer and a 3D navigation system, plus a host of safety kit and driver aids including head up display, assisted parking.

This is one of the best looking cars around with an exceptional interior. Starting at just over £31,500 OTR (including the government plug-in grant), prices are competitive as well with good standard equipment.

Factfile

DS3 Crossback E-Tense Ultimate Prestige

Price: £38,600

Mechanical: 136PS electric motor driving rear wheels via single speed transmission

Max speed: 93 mph

0-62mph: 8.7 secs

Range: 217 miles

Insurance group: 30

CO2 emissions: 0 g/km 

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles 

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