Read Caroline’s DS3 Electric review for everything you need to know about buying the new electric compact crossover from DS in Ireland in 2022.

Well, to give this car its official title, it’s the DS3 Crossback E-TENSE. The E-TENSE badge is applied to electrified cars across the new DS range, including full battery electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids.

DS has a new distributor in Ireland and will bolster their range here with the arrival of the new DS4 and DS9 in the coming months.

However the DS story starts with the DS7 Crossback, previously reviewed for Changing Lanes. And now the more compact DS3 Crossback, which has been on sale in Europe since 2019.

The new DS3 Electric on test for Changing Lanes!
The new DS3 Electric on test for Changing Lanes!

What’s so special about the DS3 Crossback?

Available now for the first time in Ireland with the option of petrol, diesel or an electric powertrain, the DS3 Crossback offers exclusive DS style in the popular B-SUV segment.

DS is positioned in the market as a French premium brand. Pricing for the new DS3 Crossback range starts from €29,170. It rises to €42,058 for a top of the line version of the charismatic crossover. The electric DS3 Crossback E-TENSE goes on sale from €37,816.

DS is not the most recognisable brand yet on Irish roads. But the DS3 Crossback impresses on approach with an elegant and classy compact presence. At the front, the DS3 is characterised by a big grille, flanked by thin strips of almost pearl-like LED daytime running lights.

Premium features like flush fitting door handles glide out of the bodywork. The DS diamond motif appears in all the details. The rear LED light signature is complemented by a surround that in the centre spells out C R O S S B A C K.

There are many options to customise the DS3: the roof and body in contrasting colours, different alloy wheel designs and eight body colours, including Pearl Crystal, exclusive to the DS3 E-TENSE.

There are three grades on offer to Irish customers – Elegance, Performance Line and top of the range Prestige.

The DS3 Crossback goes on sale from €37,816
The electric DS3 Crossback E-TENSE goes on sale from €37,816

Inside the DS3

Build on the PSA Group’s (now part of Stellantis) CMP multi-energy platform, the DS3 was designed from the very start to integrate a combustion engine or battery and electric motor, just like the Peugeot e-2008 and Opel Mokka-e.

The DS3 is undoubtedly a compact car for the B-segment. Nevertheless it feels roomy up front. The crossover style gives the driver and passengers a slightly elevated feeling with good headroom. Rear legroom is tight, though children should be fine back there.

The quirky little ‘kick’ in the window line is cool from the outside, but it makes it feel a little more dark and enclosed in the rear. There’s a 350 litre boot. It’s comparable with a typical hatchback of this size.

The cabin of the DS3 Crossback is where DS stands out. It is quirky and well-appointed with lashings of soft touch materials. There is an unusual layout. The door handles for example are not where you expect them to be. The switches for the electric windows are on the centre console. Quilted leather effect seats come as standard on this E-TENSE Elegance model. You’ll struggle to find a B-segment crossover quite as chic as this one!

The touch controls and the central air vents are diamond-shaped beneath a 7″ touchscreen. The driver gets a small but modern 7″ digital display. Equipment levels are high with heat pump, Lane Keeping Assist, Rear Park Assist, automatic air conditioning, 17″ alloys, parking sensors, reversing camera, and leather steering wheel included as standard.

Inside the DS3 Crossback
Inside the DS3 Crossback

What are my options?

The DS 3 Crossback is the first car to feature the latest upgrade of the PureTech petrol engine with a 155 hp petrol engine matched to the EAT8 (Efficient Automatic Transmission with 8-speeds). That engine is reserved for the top of the range Prestige model.

Of more interest to Irish buyers will be the two other 1.2-litre PureTech turbo petrol engines (130 hp and 100 hp). There’s also the 1.5-litre BlueHDi, diesel engine with 110 hp available from launch.

But with Irish buyers increasingly exploring their options in new electric vehicles, the electric DS3 Crossback E-TENSE is definitely worth some attention. Starting from €37,816, it does carry a premium in an increasingly competitive market for electric vehicles.

The DS3 Electric uses a 50 kWh battery to give a range of up to 320 km (WLTP), though in real world driving 250 km is a more realistic target.

Driving the DS3 E-TENSE

On the road, the electric DS3 E-TENSE is a delight to drive. The electric DS3 has increased door panel thickness, thicker glass and an acoustic windscreen. The transmission is smooth, noise is well-suppressed, giving a serene cabin experience. This model offers a more refined and slick experience behind the wheel than the DS3 Crossback 1.2 petrol, so electric suits it very well.  It’s compact and fun to drive, an ideal city car or second car – but it has long distance comfort too.

It’s delightfully conventional too, a plus from developing a car from the start with the same interior and exterior as petrol and diesel versions.

100 kW rapid charging is available, with 80% charge in just 30 minutes or roughly one hour with a 50 kW fast charger. There’s also an 11 kW on board charger for faster AC charging. This car can be charged to full in about 7.5 hours from a 7 kW home charging unit.

The DS3 Crossback petrol on test for Changing Lanes
The DS3 Crossback petrol on test for Changing Lanes

Did you like it?

The DS3 Crossback arrives in Ireland with premium ambitions, offering a chic and quirky alternative in the small SUV segment.

Driving the DS3 is certainly a unique experience. This car dares to do things a little differently in the cabin. Visually DS has lashed on the soft furnishings in the cabin to make this car feel special for its class.

It won’t be to everyone’s taste, but if you like it, you’ll probably love it after spending more time with it.

Sure it is an expensive small car with some very closely related rivals on the Irish market like the excellent Peugeot 2008 and Opel Mokka. But the DS3 is more exclusive than either car with a very distinct style. Not ‘better’ per se; but different.

The electric DS3 Crossback E-TENSE is my favourite of the range, with a slick transmission and silent, refined cabin ambience that measures up better against the car’s premium billing.

This is a fun, compact car, with plenty of style. Expensive but extremely likeable all the same.

The new DS 3 Crossback E-TENSE is available now from the new DS Store Dublin at Gowan Motors on Navan Road in Dublin 15.

The DS3 Crossback is a chic alternative in the small SUV segment
The DS3 Crossback is a chic alternative in the small SUV segment

Caroline Kidd

Model tested: DS3 Crossback E-TENSE Elegance
Price:
€37,816 including SEAI grant
Battery: 50 kWh
Power: 
136 hp
Torque: 260 Nm
0-100km/h: 
8.7 seconds
Top speed: 150 km/h
Motor tax: 
€120 per year