DS DS 3 CROSSBACK E-TENSE interior
The DS 3 Crossback E-Tense has one of the most eye-catching interiors of any electric car, but all its intricate details make some features a bit tricky to use
The DS 3 Crossback E-Tense’s cabin looks unlike anything else you’ll find in any mainstream electric car. Sure, the raised driving position and wide dashboard – like you’ll find in a Kia e-Niro or Hyundai Kona Electric – follows a familiar compact SUV theme, but it’s the numerous intricate details that make the DS 3 Crossback E-Tense’s interior so eye-catching.
Rather than conventional rows of square buttons, the DS 3 Crossback E-Tense comes with a fence-like pattern of interlocking diamond switches set above some equally angular air vents.
Sadly, this form-over-function thinking means that some of the DS 3 Crossback E-Tense’s controls aren’t located where you might expect to find them. The door handles are mounted way down by the door pockets and the window switches are fitted to the centre console rather than on the doors. There’s nothing particularly awkward about these features, but they certainly take a bit of getting used to.
DS hasn’t played it safe when it comes to interior trim, either. You can choose from nine different colour schemes ranging from moody black designs to airy (but difficult to clean) white trims. There’s also the option of bronze-effect leatherette, but this oddball combination makes parts of the cabin look like they could do with a wipe down.
Whichever of these ‘Inspiration’ packs you choose, you’ll get the option to customise the seat fabric, the dashboard trim and the colour of the headlining. The most luxurious ‘Opera’ option brings with it ‘watchstrap’ seats that are immensely comfortable and look fabulous, but they’re only available on top-spec La Premiere models.
Sadly, even range-topping cars fitted with the most opulent addons still feel a little cheap in places. The glovebox lid, parts of the centre console and surfaces lower down on the doors all have a hard, brittle plastic finish that feels at odds with the rest of the DS 3 Crossback E-Tense’s swanky cabin. That said, at least they feel like they’ll stand up to a good few years of abuse.
You get an impressive amount of equipment as standard in the DS 3 Crossback E-Tense, but it’s a shame that its eye-catching infotainment system isn’t all that easy to use
Entry-level DS 3 Crossback E-Tense Performance Line models come as standard with a 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system that’s mounted nice and high on the dashboard so it’s easy to glance at while you’re driving. The screen itself is sharp and reasonably bright so you can read it in direct sunlight.
You do get some touch-sensitive tiles on the dashboard that let you switch between key features such as the sat-nav and stereo, but they don’t click when you press them so they’re a real pain to use when you’re concentrating on the road ahead.
Unfortunately, none of these buttons controls the car’s climate control. Instead, you have to tweak the temperature through the DS 3 Crossback E-Tense’s touchscreen, which is less intuitive and takes longer than using conventional buttons like those in the Kia e-Niro and Hyundai Kona Electric.
Pick a DS 3 Crossback E-Tense in Prestige guise or above and you get a larger 10-inch touchscreen with built-in satellite navigation. This screen is a little easier to read than the smaller 7.0-inch unit, but the sat-nav maps aren’t very responsive and take a while to load – especially if you want to zoom out to view your whole journey. You’ll be much better off using the standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring features that come as standard across the DS 3 Crossback E-Tense range.
Another feature you get as standard is the 7-inch digital driver’s display. This screen, which replaces conventional analogue dials, can display a variety of different dial graphics and directions for the sat-nav, but its dark, angular design means the dials aren’t all that easy to read.
Another thorn in the DS 3 Crossback E-Tense’s already rather bruised side is the fact that you can’t get it with an upgraded Focal stereo system like the standard DS 3 Crossback.
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*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.