The DS 3 Crossback is a left-field choice in the small premium SUV segment, one that’s been developed with comfort in mind

The DS 3 Crossback stands out from the crowd with a style that’s all its own, but it’s a little bit average in most other respects. There’s a generous amount of standard equipment but prices are high for a small premium SUV that can’t quite match its rivals for outright quality and polish.The DS 3 has been designed with comfort in mind and as such rides well – there’s not as much control as in some rivals, but it’s comfortable around town and refinement is good. It’s easy to drive, the interior is trimmed in some nice materials (even if outright build quality isn’t quite there) and the engine and gearbox combinations are strong. The Audi Q2 is a more accomplished all-rounder, though, as are the BMW X1, Lexus UX, Mercedes GLA and MINI Countryman. There are just too many talented rivals available to make the DS 3 truly recommendable.

Our Choice 
DS 3 Crossback PureTech 130 Auto Elegance

The DS brand is the luxury arm of PSA, the French parent company of Peugeot, Citroen and Vauxhall. Previously, the DS name was attached to high-end Citroen models, but now it stands on its own. The larger DS 7 Crossback arrived in 2018 to take on the Audi Q5 and Mercedes GLC, with the smaller DS 3 introduced soon after. The DS 3 was the first PSA car to be based on the Common Modular Platform, as found underpinning the latest Peugeot 208. The DS 3 is a small premium SUV that’s aimed at the Audi Q2 and BMW X1, along with higher-end versions of the Mazda CX-3 and Volkswagen T-Roc.

As with most PSA products, the DS 3 comes with a good range of petrol and diesel engines: three petrols and one diesel. The petrols are 1.2-litre three-cylinder units with incremental power increases, while the diesel is a 1.5-litre four-cylinder. The less powerful engines come with a six-speed manual, while those from the upper end of the range get an eight-speed automatic.  

Best hatchbacks to buy 2019

An electric version – the E-Tense – is set to arrive by the end of 2019 with a 100kW motor, 50kWh battery and a real-world range of 200 miles. It’ll go up against the excellent Kia e-Niro and Hyundai Kona Electric.

The DS 3 Crossback’s strong engines are let down by poor body control and distant steering
Running costs for the DS 3 Crossback should be good regardless of engine choice
It’s boldly designed but the DS 3 Crossback doesn’t quite have the substance to back up its style
The DS 3 Crossback’s focus on style means practicality is compromised versus rivals
The DS 3 Crossback redeems itself with great safety credentials but reliability is largely untested

There are five trim levels to pick from, but even entry-level Elegance models get 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights and a seven-inch infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity, along with automatic emergency braking, lane-keep assist and speed limit recognition as part of DS’ Safety Pack – an addition that helped the DS 3 gain its five-star safety rating from Euro NCAP. 

Key rivals include the Audi Q2, BMW X1, MINI Countryman, Lexus UX and Mercedes GLA, as well as higher-end versions of the Mazda CX-3, Volkswagen T-Roc and – to some extent – the DS 3 Crossback’s Citroen C4 Aircross and Peugeot 2008 siblings from the PSA stable.

Last updated: 
31 Jul, 2019