Review: DS 3 Crossback (2019)
Quirky crossover. Petrol, diesel or electric power. Stylish interior out.
Poor rear visibility. Noisy engines. Small boot. Infotainment system is slow and awkward to use. Top versions are very expensive.
DS 3 Crossback (2019): At A Glance
A rival to the Volkswagen T-Cross and MINI Countryman, the DS 3 Crossback is a crossover SUV that should be on your shortlist if you want to stand out from the crowd. It's likely to be much more rarer than mainstream alternatives, offering quirky styling, eager engines and even an electric version.
In typical DS fashion, the Crossback is far from flawless. The cabin is cosy, with a narrow front windscreen and thick pillars creating quite a snug feel. That said, there's a reasonable amount of space, but it ranks poorly in the back compared to rivals.
The standard infotainment screen is the same as that used across other PSA models, and it's a bit frustrating to use. It's slow to operate and having to navigate menus to perform simple tasks such as adjusting the temperature of the climate control quickly becomes annoying.
The good news, though, is that Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard even on the cheapest models, meaning you can use apps on your phone for directions rather than use the car's own irritating navigation system.
Buyers can choose from a three-cylinder petrol engine with a range of power outputs (100, 130 or 155PS), or a BlueHDi diesel with 100PS. An all-electric version with a 100kW motor, badged the E-Tense, is on its way.
The PureTech 130 is expected to be the most popular and this suits the car well. Like all the petrols, it's a little noisy in a typical three-cylinder manner, but that adds to its character. While the entry-level engines are available with a six-speed manual gearbox, the majority of DS3 Crossbacks come with an eight-speed automatic gearbox. This is fine for gentle driving but can occasionally be caught out if you plan a sudden overtake or want quick acceleration onto a roundabout.
Ride quality is on the firm side, especially with larger wheels, but it does feel quite agile for a crossover. Fling it around a corner and it'll respond well enough, although the steering is quite light and it leans considerably. It's at its best around town where the eager engines add to the fun of darting in and out of traffic.
What does a DS 3 Crossback (2019) cost?Get a finance quote with CarMoney
DS 3 Crossback (2019): What's It Like Inside?
The DS3 Crossback's interior is just as quirky as its exterior - in a good and bad way.
We'll deal with the good stuff first. It looks visually striking, with diamond shapes dotted around the cabin - including use on the dash as touch-sensitive buttons for everything from the volume controls to the heated seats and hazard lights.
On the face of it, there are lots of quality materials used and, although there are clearly some parts pinched from other Peugeot-Citroen vehicles, it successfully feels different enough to justify its DS badge and premium price tag.
It's rather claustrophobic, though, thanks to the large pillars and relatively shallow windscreen (similar to the MINI Hatch, in some ways). You do have a high seating position, and there's enough space for tall drivers and front passengers.
That's until you enter a bend, anyway, when your leg is likely to hit wide centre console - at which point you realise there are some hard, nasty plastics used in the cabin.
While the touch-sensitive buttons look the part, they're a little irritating to use while driving. And the infotainment screen is also frustrating to use. It requires too many steps to perform even the simplest of tasks - even adjusting the temperature - and is slow to respond.
Fortunately Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are standard across the range, allowing you to mirror apps from your phone onto the car's media display.
Things aren't great in the rear, either. In fact, rear-seat passengers will most definitely feel like second-class citizens. There's a reasonable amount of headroom but very little legroom, especially with tall adults sat up front, and it feels even more claustrophobic than the front thanks to the design of the rear windows.
The boot's a mediocre 350-litres, and loading heavy items is made tricky thanks to a high lip. Dropping the rear seats for more space is easy enough, although they don't drop entirely flat.
Standard equipment from launch:
Elegance models feature 17-inch grey diamond-cut alloy wheels, chrome door handles and matt black exterior door mirrors, hill assist, electric parking brake, speed limit warning, rear parking sensors, safety pack (with emergency braking system, lane keeping assist, speed recognition and intelligent speed adaptation), alarm, space-saver spare wheel, keyless start, air conditioning, seven-inch touchscreen infotainment with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Bluetooth, DAB radio, automatic halogen headlights, two rear ISOFIX child seat mounting points, cloth seats, 60:40 split rear seats, height adjustable front seats, leather steering wheel.
Performance Line adds 17-inch Black Oynx alloy wheels, gloss back exterior door mirrors, dark tinted rear windows, LED rear lights, black woven cloth seats with Alcantara decor, perforated leather steering wheel and central armrest, aluminium sports pedals, chrome door sill.
Prestige builds on the Performance Line specification with automatic air conditioning, frameless interior rear-view mirror, automatic front windscreen wiper activation, two front USB connection points, front parking sensors, 10-inch HD touchscreen, navigation, black leather seats, bronze decor with light grey interior roof lining.
Ultra Prestige adds 18-inch alloy wheels, head-up display, keyless entry and start, LED matrix headlights with LED daytime running lights, advanced safety pack (with extended emergency braking system, extended lane keeping assist and blind spot detection), reversing camera, black leather seats with watchstrap design, black premium leather steering wheel, driver's electric lumbar adjustment with massage function and heated front seats.
The La Premiere launch edition model features the premium advanced safety pack (with active blind spot detection and speed limit recognition), DS drive assist (with active cruise control, lane keeping assist), high beam assist, wireless phone charging.
Child seats that fit a DS 3 Crossback (2019)Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.
What's the DS 3 Crossback (2019) like to drive?
- Engines range from 1.2 Puretech 100 to 1.5 BlueHDi 100
If you're on a budget, you'll be looking at the entry-level Puretech 100 petrol with the manual gearbox. Unless you really want a manual gearbox, you'd be better looking further up the range - the cheapest engine feels underpowered, particularly at motorway speeds.
The Puretech 130 will be the most popular, and it's the sweet spot in the range, combining reasonable fuel economy (officially 42.2-47.1mpg under WLTP tests) with peppy acceleration (covering 0-62mph in 9.2 seconds). It's quite a noisy engine when you build the revs, but it's characterful. The same could be said for the more powerful 155 model, which offers some useful extra performance if you like to hustle in the outside lane.
If you cover lots of motorway miles, you might be better with the diesel. There's just one - a 1.5-litre BlueHDi with 102PS. While it's not particularly powerful it has a useful amount of torque. It's quite an unrefined engine, but its official 54.4-62.7mpg economy figure might be worth compromising for.
While not as agile as the likes of the SEAT Arona, the DS 3 Crossback is fun to drive. Its steering is overly light and it'll roll about in corners, but ultimately there's a reasonable amount of grip available. Its high seating position helps planning ahead in the city, too.
Surprisingly, for a crossover from Citroen's premium brand, the ride quality isn't particularly good. Hit a pothole and a shudder will run through the cabin - this is amplified further in high-spec models with their 18-inch wheels.
Although forward visibility is acceptable (even with the shallow windscreen), parking can be tricky due to the small rear windows. Fortunately, rear parking sensors are standard across the range, and a reversing camera is a useful optional extra (standard on Ultra Prestige and La Premiere models).
|1.2 Puretech 100||-||10.9 s||105 g/km|
|1.2 Puretech 130 EAT8||42 mpg||9.2 s||109 g/km|
|1.2 Puretech 155 EAT8||42 mpg||8.2 s||121 g/km|
|1.5 BlueHDi 100||54 mpg||11.4 s||97 g/km|
What Cars Are Similar To The DS 3 Crossback (2019)?
Unclear on what your next car should be? Use our Car Chooser to pick something that suits your needs.