DS 3 Crossback Road Test at the Chihuly At Kew Exhibition

DS 3 Crossback Road Test

DS 3 Crossback luxury compact SUV is a union of savoir-faire and advanced technology, as Gina Baksa discovers.

I was last at Kew Gardens a lifetime ago, on a “keep-your-blazers-on-girls!” school trip. Cue severe overheating in the Palm House, unexpected fainting, and much pre-teen drama.

Today, I’m back at Kew – in a much cooler glasshouse (the exquisite Nash Conservatory) – for the launch of the DS 3 Crossback – a luxury compact SUV and a look at the new Chihuly at Kew: reflections on nature exhibition. The Canadian artist’s spectacular glass sculptures have transformed Kew’s glasshouses and gardens into a vibrant outdoor gallery, and DS are sponsors of the exhibition that runs until 27 October 2019.

Dale Chihuly’s Sapphire Star
Dale Chihuly’s Sapphire Star.

Dale Chihuly’s intricate and other-worldly sculptures are like giant flowers; some Medusa-like with their tangled webs, others like giant marbles. Set against the tranquil – and beautifully manicured – gardens, glades, arboretums and tropical plants at Kew. Head to the recently opened Temperate House (the world’s largest Victorian glasshouse with 10,000 plant varieties) to see Chihuly’s suspended pansy sculpture – and others – that will take your breath away.

DS Automobiles Vision
Kew Gardens cleverly combines its legacy with the contemporary – much like the new DS 3 Crossback 5-door luxury compact SUV I’m road-testing this morning on a run out to Surrey.

The DS brand is a Paris native, launched in 2015 with the aim of providing French luxury savoir-faire in the auto industry, with a nod to its Fifties heritage.

With its focus on producing low-emission vehicles, each DS vehicle now includes petrol, diesel and electrified versions. Either as a plug-in hybrid petrol-electric or battery electric vehicle (BEV) known as E-TENSE, which is due on sale later this year and available in both the DS 3 Crossback and the DS 7 Crossback.

The 5-door DS 3 Crossback I’m in, is the 1199cc / 3 cylinders 155 PureTech version – it is gleaming in the Kew sunshine: Imperial Gold body with shiny black roof. Its sleek muscular flanks with shark-fin feature, that sweeps up to the large front diamond grille and the DS logo. The bonnet has a sculpted edge, leading the eye down to the centre-placed DS badge. Stylish Matrix LED headlights (three LED modules for dipped beam as well as a MATRIX BEAM module for driving) sit here – they that automatically adjust to the road ahead and dip when it senses approaching vehicles.

At the rear, passengers enjoy tinted privacy windows, while the DS 3 Crossback has a nice neat end with chrome-finished twin exhausts incorporated into the rear bumper. The wraparound rear LED lights are linked by a signature Crossback metal strip, while the unusual design continues with deep-set air vents.

The DS 3 looks stylish and strong; like it would easily handle a long road trip – and maybe a few muddy fields – as well as zipping around town. Oh and a nice set of 18-inch Sao Paulo alloys. A premium compact SUV to compete with the likes of the AudiQ2 and the Mini Countryman. And I can already tell it will be easy to park at a respectable 4.12m in length. And 1.79m width. I’m impressed by the looks.

As Marion David, DS Product Director says: “The DS 3 Crossback is an SUV that’s both powerful and sculptural with an overall impressive posture.”

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