DS 3 CROSSBACK Interior
As I approach the car (petrol Pure Tech 155 version), key in hand, the elegant flush-fitting door handles open out automatically. And retract again when I walk away. A nice touch that works thanks to the Keyless Proximity Entry feature with a range of 1.5m. The cockpit is spacious, with good headroom and very comfortable Nappa premium leather seats with double density foam plus adjustable headrests – all with a diamond motif. The leather theme continues in the steering wheel and the dash.
I like the 10.3-inch touchscreen. It’s all digital – no analogue dials here – and I find the 7-inch display easy to read. No sun glare either. I can change the display to whatever info I need, including fuel level, speed, distance covered, SatNav and driving aids. The DS diamond motif is a standout feature in the central fascia, just below the touchscreen. The touch controls here are easy to use and find. Interestingly the lever controls for the windows are located on the centre console, either side of the nifty gear shift.
My co-driver (over 6ft tall) tested the rear seats for me and we could see he had plenty of legroom – and enough space for three not-too-big adults – on the seat. ISOFIX attachments for child safety seats are standard. Again, double density foam has been used to provide a comfortable ride. Boot space is 350 litres volume and can be extended to 1,050 litres with the split-fold rear seats. More than enough space for weekend getaways, as well as golf clubs, shopping and pushchairs. Interestingly, the batteries on the E-tense electrified version are placed on the floor so do not take up valuable boot space.
DS 3 CROSSBACK Handling and Performance
Foot on the brake, keyless starter button (just below the central fascia) pressed and we’re off! Instantly feel the cocoon-like space – DS has put superior insulation in here as I can hardly hear the engine when the windows are up.
The DS 3 Crossback – we have an 8-speed automatic (the petrol version has a six-speed manual) – moves smoothly up the gears as we head out on the dual carriageway towards our lunch spot at the De Vere Beaumont Estate in the heart of Windsor Park. The transparent head-up display strip that rises above the dash to give me the speed and the route is especially useful, and means I can keep my eyes on the road.
Simply choose your preferred drive mode from the selector on the left-hand side of the centre console. These include Manual, Sport, Normal and Eco. Traction options are Sand, Mud and Snow. As we’re on tarmac these aren’t tested but I enjoy the Sport mode which provides a slightly edgier engine noise and ride but doesn’t skimp on suspension.
A safety feature that is useful but catches me unaware is the emergency braking. A child moves out in front of the car while I’m doing 30mph – and instantly the brakes engaged. Slightly unnerving as I’d seen the kid, but good to know that DS is on the ball with their safety focus.
The DS 3 Crossback is more nimble than I’d imagined – her 1199 / 3 cylinder engine has enough oomph to overtake a tractor later on a country road without any trouble. Acceleration on the DS 3 Crossback is very respectable with a 0 to 62mph in just 8.2 seconds And with a top speed of 129mph, this luxury compact SUV is a delight to drive – in city traffic – and on the motorway. Braking is excellent.
Music is an essential accompaniment to driving and is one of my greatest pleasures, so I’m happy to report that the high-end Focal Electra Hi-Fi system in the DS 3 Crossback is excellent with a booming 515 Watts of power from 12 speakers and a single subwoofer.
DS 3 Crossback: Safety Features
As you’d expect in a luxury compact SUV of this calibre, the DS 3 Crossback comes with a raft of safety features. Although I dread the day when autonomous driving is the norm, the DS Drive Assist is quite welcome for a speed freak like me, since it automatically regulates my speed in relation to the vehicle ahead. At times unnerving, it also controls the steering wheel to help me keep in lane. Often irritated by this ‘hidden hand’ taking over the wheel, I’m slowly getting used to the feature and can appreciate its benefits.
I’m impressed with the DS suspension – it takes the bumps of London’s city streets well – thanks to a suspension system which scans the road ahead. The information gathered is held in a central unit that is then fed to the dampers that regulate accordingly. Genius. As is the excellent Driver Attention Monitoring. Here an infrared camera behind the steering wheel and above the windscreen monitors the driver’s eyes, eyelids and head movements.
As soon it senses a lack of focus, an audible beep signals as well as a warning on the instrument panel. For extra safety during night driving and low light, an infra-red camera in the front grille detects people and animals on the road up to 100m away.
If like me, you actually enjoy parking, the Park Assist feature won’t be firing you up. However if you’d prefer to give feet and hands a rest, the option is there on automatic versions only. Simply press the Park button, kick back and relax.