DS DS 3 CROSSBACK Review & Prices
The DS 3 Crossback turn heads and has an interior that’ll impress. However, plenty of alternatives are more intuitive to use, bigger inside and come with larger boots
What's not so good
Find out more about the DS DS 3 CROSSBACK
The DS 3 Crossback is an interesting choice if you want a small SUV that really stands out from the crowd. It doesn’t have the badge kudos of a Volkswagen T-Roc, but it’ll leave that German alternative eating its avant-garde dust in the style stakes.
Just take a look at the front end. OK, those strange vertical daytime running lights kind of look like a stream of tears, but the DS 3 Crossback looks like a concept car that’s taken a wrong turn on its way to a motor show.
The funky details don’t stop there. Step inside and you’ll find the DS 3 Crossback is packed with soft materials, elegantly sculpted buttons and loads of diamond-shaped details that look like they belong in a ritzy cocktail bar.
Sadly, not all these eye-catching features are easy to use. The infotainment system with its oddly placed shortcut buttons takes a lot more getting used to than the screens in a T-Roc or Skoda Karoq, for example.
While programming the DS 3 Crossback’s sat nav or tuning the stereo might take a bit of getting used to, at least the seats offer plenty of adjustment to help you get comfy. Unfortunately, the news isn’t quite so good in the back. Sure, three kids have plenty of room, but anyone of much more than average height will probably feel pretty cramped.
Things don’t get much better when you load the DS 3 Crossback’s boot with luggage. There’s less room than you get in many more affordable SUVs and the boot lacks any kind of clever storage features like those you get in a Karoq.
The DS 3 Crossback looks far cooler than the current crop of small SUVs, but it's nowhere near as practical as some less funky alternatives
At least whatever you manage to pack into the boot won’t get jiggled about when you’re driving thanks to the DS 3 Crossback’s comfortable suspension. It soaks up potholes very well in town, where you’ll find the DS’s light steering, relatively small size and perky petrol engines help make it a doddle to drive.
It’s even more relaxing to drive on motorways where the DS 3 Crossback’s comfort-focused suspension and special sound-deadening windscreen help muffle any unpleasant wind and tyre noise. It’s even quite economical.
Turn onto a twisty country road and you’ll find the DS 3 Crossback’s soft suspension and light steering means it isn’t anywhere near as agile as a Mazda CX-30 or SEAT Arona. But that doesn’t stop it being a really nice car to travel in.
Head over to our DS 3 Crossback deals page to see how much you can save or read on for our in-depth interior, practicality and driving review sections.
The DS DS 3 CROSSBACK has a RRP range of £23,550 to £37,625. Monthly payments start at £380. The price of a used DS DS 3 CROSSBACK on carwow starts at £9,495.
DS 3 Crossback prices are at the higher end within the small SUV class. Alternatives from ‘mainstream’ brands generally cost less including the Fiat 500X, Kia Stonic, Hyundai Kona, Peugeot 2008 and Ford Puma (just). If you look at premium brand alternatives like Volkswagen T-Roc, Audi Q2, BMW X2 and Mini Countryman, though, the DS 3 Crossback undercuts all of them.
Most models in the range are named after districts in Paris – Montmartre, Bastille, Rivoli and Louvre. There’s also sporty-looking Performance Line and Performance Line+ models in the middle of the range.
That it’s priced between mainstream and premium brand alternatives underlines the DS 3 Crossback’s position in the market. It looks more stylish and feels posher than the cheaper cars, but it can’t quite match the prestigious image or interior quality of the more expensive ones. Still, the DS 3 Crossback is reasonably priced for a car that stands out from the crowd as much as it does.
The DS 3 Crossback driving experience majors on comfort and relaxation rather than speed and fun – but that’s no bad thing
The DS 3 Crossback is quite a small car and its raised driving position gives you a generally good view out, so nipping around town in it is an absolute doddle. Visibility to the rear, looking over your shoulder, isn’t great because the back window is quite small. But all models bar the entry-level Montmatre at least have rear parking sensors, to help guide you into a space.
The seats and steering wheel have a large range of adjustment, so it’s easy to find a comfortable driving position. Bear in mind, though, that the windscreen pillars are quite thick, which can make it tricky to see to the side at certain junctions. Your driving position could improve matters or make them worse, depending on exactly where you sit.
The electric DS 3 Crossback E-Tense is best suited to town driving but the petrol and diesel models provide reasonably peppy performance. The six-speed manual gearbox fitted to 100hp petrol and 110hp diesel models feels quite slick and light, while the eight-speed automatic on more powerful models feels responsive and changes gear smoothly.
The ride is really comfortable, too, the soft suspension taking the edge off holes and bumps in the road really well. You’ll still feel them, but much more gently than in some of the alternative cars.
The only reservation we have is with the brakes. They’re actually pretty strong, but you have to press the pedal down quite a long way before the car starts to slow. And when it does, it slows down much more abruptly than you might expect. Which makes it tricky to drive smoothly in stop-start traffic.
On the motorway
You might not expect a relatively small car to give a relaxing ride on the motorway, but the DS 3 Crossback really does. The soft suspension that’s so comfortable on scarred urban roads allows the car to practically float along at 70mph. There’s also a special sound-deadening windscreen that significantly reduces the amount of wind and tyre noise that gets through to the interior, enhancing the sense of calm.
The 100hp PureTech petrol engine can maintain 70mph, but feels a bit strained while doing so. The more powerful petrol engines feel stronger and their standard-fit automatic gearboxes are arguably better suited to motorways. The most powerful 155hp option may look better on paper, but it actually has little more surge than the 130hp engine. The 155hp engine does give more performance, but you have to work it quite hard to access that performance, which isn’t ideal.
If you do lots of miles, though, you may want to consider the BlueHDi diesel. It may only have 110hp but it has the most torque, so feels really quite under-stressed at high speed. And it can do more than 60mpg.
On a twisty road
Once again, the soft suspension has quite a large bearing on how the DS 3 Crossback feels to drive on a country road – it causes the car’s body to lean over quite a long way in corners taken at higher speeds. It doesn’t feel uncontrolled and probably won’t induce car sickness, but alternatives like the Ford Puma remain more upright in corners, which means you can make faster progress.
The steering is light and accurate, even if you don’t really feel connected to it. You trust the car’s going to go where you point it, though. There’s lots of grip, as well, so it feels good and secure in corners.
Ultimately, the DS 3 Crossback is at its best cruising along a flowing A-road rather than ripping along a winding B-road.
The DS 3 Crossback has enough space to be used as a family car, but there are more practical alternatives.
There’s decent leg and headroom in the front seats, though the car’s relatively low roof means anyone really tall may find their head brushing the ceiling. At least it’s easy to get in – the raised seating position will allow most people to just slide in without having to bend down or climb up.
There’s not much storage space in the DS 3 Crossback’s interior. The front door bins can hold a half-litre bottle but not much else with it. There’s a pair of cupholders between the front seats and a small cubby hole under the front armrest (not fitted to entry-level models), plus a shallow tray in front of the gearstick for your phone or keys, but not both. As per normal for a French car, the fusebox takes up most of the space behind the glovebox lid, leaving enough just for a few chocolate bars.
Space in the back seats
Two, possibly three children should have enough space in the back of the DS 3 Crossback to be comfortable for a few hours. But there are better alternatives if you have young ones who use child seats. The ISOFIX mounts are difficult to get to and the back doors don’t open very wide, so it’s a hassle to get children into and out of the car.
Space for adults is a bit of a premium. If you’re of average height, you should be comfortable enough, certainly more so than in an Audi Q2. But headroom is tight for anyone taller and there’s little space for feet under the front seats.
The only storage in the back is a small pocket on each door.
The DS 3 Crossback has one of the smallest boots you’ll find in this type of car. With a capacity of 350 litres, it’s little more than you get in a Ford Fiesta and a lot less than you get in the closely related Peugeot 2008. There are no hidden extra storage compartments or a height-adjustable floor, either. The boot is at least a good, square shape and the opening is quite large. But the high loading lip and large step over the back seats when they’re folded down means loading big and bulky stuff isn’t exactly easy. If practicality is a main priority, alternatives like the Ford Puma will suit you much better.
There’s plenty of style and high-quality materials in the DS 3 Crossback’s cabin, although the phrase style over substance rings true with some elements of useability
The DS 3 Crossback has the most eye-catching interior of any small SUV. It’s full of interesting details, diamond-shaped buttons and tactile materials. Even entry-level models feel quite special and the lavishly finished high-spec models are rather luxurious.
However, the layout isn’t the most user friendly. For instance, the electric window switches are down on the centre console, rather than on the doors. The door handles are below the armrests, rather than above them. And the touch sensitive infotainment system shortcut buttons on the dashboard can be slow to respond.
Every model has a touchscreen infotainment system on the dashboard with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, Bluetooth and DAB radio. Higher spec models get extra features like sat nav and the Louvre model even features a gallery of works that are on display in the eponymous art museum with audio commentary from the museum’s experts. The infotainment isn’t the slickest we’ve used, but you can get around the ‘native’ system by connecting your phone.
Other standard features include a 7.0-inch digital driver’s display, cruise control, air con, keyless start, and front and rear electric windows. High spec models also have matrix LED headlights, parking sensors, a reversing camera and voice recognition to control a larger touchscreen.
The DS 3 Crossback’s fuel economy is right on par for this type of car. The official figures show the 100hp petrol engine can do 49mpg, the 130hp engine 46mpg and the 155hp engine 44mpg. The diesel (an increasingly rare thing in small SUVs) is, of course, the most economical option, giving as much as 62mpg.
CO2 emissions range between 120g/km and 143g/km, so your annual Vehicle Excise Duty will be pretty low, likewise company car tax where that appliers. If you want to beat the tax man, though, check out the electric DS 3 Crossback E-Tense.
Car safety experts Euro NCAP gave the DS 3 Crossback a four star rating, or a full five stars when it’s fitted with some optional safety features. Either way, it scores highly for protecting adult and child occupants, which is reassuring.
Standard safety features include automatic emergency braking (AEB), lane keeping assist, lane departure warning and speed limit sign recognition. Rivoli and Louvre models also get upgraded AEB that can detect pedestrians and cyclists, plus lane keeping assist that can detect the edge of the road, as well as lane markings.
The DS 3 Crossback hasn’t featured in any owner satisfaction surveys, so we can’t say anything concrete about its reliability. However, in recent years sister brand Citroen has made great strides in improving its previously patchy build quality and reliability, so you’re unlikely to experience any significant problems. There haven’t been any recalls for the DS 3 Crossback, which is a good start. It comes with a three-year/60,000 mile warranty, as do most alternatives.
*Please contact the dealer for a personalised quote, including terms and conditions. Quote is subject to dealer requirements, including status and availability. Illustrations are based on personal contract hire, 9 month upfront fee, 48 month term and 8000 miles annually, VAT included.