DS 3 Crossback

PureTech 155

Automatic Ultra

Prestige

DS 3 CROSSBACK, front static
DS 3 CROSSBACK, rear action
DS 3 CROSSBACK, rear static
DS 3 CROSSBACK, dashboard
DS 3 CROSSBACK, front action 2
DS 3 Crossback, boot

THE DS 3 Crossback is the fast-growing French brand's first foray into compact crossover territory.

Effectively it's a replacement for the long-serving DS3, which has actually been around for ten years now.

When the DS3 was launched it was a Citroen but since then DS has ploughed its own furrow as a standalone brand.

The DS 3 Crossback certainly inherits plenty of DS3 DNA but is actually a very different car, competing in a very different marketplace.

The world's gone crossover crazy since the original DS3 broke cover and its successor wants a piece of the action.

The DS3 was definitely a winner and did much to help boost Citroen and establish the DS brand as a more premium entity in its own right.

The DS3 managed to cash in on the chic small car boom - a movement led by the MINI and Fiat 500 - and no doubt the powers that be at PSA will be hoping the DS 3 Crossback does the same as far as fashionable compact SUVs are concerned.

It faces some tough competition though, with cars like the MINI Countryman, Volkswagen T-Cross and Audi Q2 to contend with, though DS also has potential owners of Renault Capturs and Nissan Jukes in its sights.

In some ways the DS brand is still evolving and is very much a work in progress but the DS3 Crossback hits the mark in many respects.

Taking the DS3 as its basic blueprint it moves a popular vehicle on smoothly and cleverly into new territory.

There's no doubting its design lines are distinctive and appealing and that's a good start.

Quirky styling can go a long way in this segment and the DS 3 Crossback has that by the bucket-load, with its shark fin styling and jewel-like headlights.

It's purposeful and eye-catching profile is one thing but sometimes it's the little things that count and the Range Rover Evoque-style retractable door handles - which pop out when you approach the vehicle and retract when you move off - add to its essence.

I'm a big fan of the larger DS 7 SUV and the DS 3 Crossback does feel very much like a scaled-down version on that when you step inside.

If you like diamond motifs you'll absolutely love it as diamonds are everywhere on the interior - including the air outlets, window switches, the ignition switch and parking brake.

There aren't too many physical switches and most functions including entertainment and climate control are operated via the touchscreen.

It's an environment that really is very classy indeed, something that increases in emphasis the more you progress up the range.

You will certainly pay for the privilege of having some of the more super-chic features but I can see many buyers being quite happy to do that.

It's not a cheap car - prices start from £21,550 for a 101bhp manual petrol model and this range-topping Ultra Prestige model - a 155bhp eight speed petrol automatic - will set you back £33,155.

There's an even more exclusive La Premiere launch edition trim costing £33,950.

This car came with another DS trademark - the ‘watchstrap' leather upholstery - which is a definite winner and again really helps set the DS 3 Crossback apart from its competitors.

Engine-wise the 155bhp petrol is the most powerful of three versions of the 1.2-litre PureTech unit. In between it and the 101bhp entry-level version is a 131bhp option.

Reflecting the continuing trend to move away from diesel there's just one diesel offering - a 100bhp 1.5-litre BlueHDi. An all-electric version is coming later this year.

Standard kit across the range includes rear parking sensors, air conditioning, DAB radio, touchscreen with mirroring for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, keyless start and emergency braking system and lane keeping assist.

Step-up from an entry level Elegance model to Performance Line and electronically folding and heated door mirrors are added, along with woven cloth seats, leather steering, LED rear lights and more besides.

Prestige, Ultra Prestige and La Premiere launch edition models add a touch of luxury with sat-nav, 18-in diamond cut alloys, active cruise control, leather trim and LED headlights.

It's a small-ish car that has a big enough feel, in part through its elevated ride height - and it feels very super roomy when you're sat up front. It's not huge in the rear but capable of carrying a couple of adults in an acceptable degree of comfort and has a reasonably sized 350-litre boot.

To drive the DS 3 Crossback is decent enough and the highest-powered petrol engine is a smooth and sweet performer.

It has enough in the way of performance capability to entertain and never seems lacking for such a relatively small unit.

In terms of handling it measures up too, and I found it generally fun to drive, even if the ride quality errs on the harsh side at times, particularly on rougher road surfaces.

FAST FACTS

DS 3 Crossback PureTech 155 Automatic Ultra Prestige

Price: £33,155

Mechanical: 155bhp, 1,199cc, 3cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 8-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 129mph

0-62mph: 8.2 seconds

Combined MPG: 45.7

Insurance Group: 24

C02 emissions: 128 g/km

Bik rating: 29%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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