Compact Crossover offers Captivating Style!
By Shahzad Sheikh
If you want style and panache from a car you might want to take a look at European brands that are funnelling the essence of continental catwalk fashion into the themes and aesthetics of their automobiles. I previously reviewed the DS7 Crossback, which encapsulates this ethos, but if you don’t need something quite as commodious then take a look at this lovely crossover SUV from the Citroen spin-off brand DS.
The DS 3 Crossback is available with a choice of three petrol engines (100bhp, 130bhp & 155bhp) and a diesel with 102bhp. Prices range from around £21,000 to £34,000. But the car we’re testing is the Prestige Pure Tech 155bhp which comes with a 1.2-litre three-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine. Keeping in mind it weighs a relatively light 1200kg (for an SUV), it’s capable of accelerating the car from rest to 62mph in 8.2 seconds and on to a top speed of 129mph. Fuel consumption is not at all bad in the mid-40s mpg. The price comes in at just under £30k before options.
Since I’ve been banging on about style in the first part of this piece, that’s a given, but just to emphasise the point, there’s an angular square or diamond-cut theme that runs through this car inside and out, from the kinked slash in the lower part of the side profile, the reverse sharp-fin type element on the rear side window, the grille surrounds and the daytime running light housings that sort of form chiselled cheekbones around the car’s ‘face’. At the rear, there are surprisingly prominent twin pipes – and I mean pipes in the almost classical sense!
The design cues are of course followed through into the interior, and whilst I should just mention the reasonable boot space and the adequate rear accommodation for most normal sized adults – beware if you’re claustrophobic though, as that ‘fin’ eats into the passenger cabin’s natural light entry.
At the front however it’s… well, put it this way; if they pulled out the entire dashboard and centre console and stuck it in an art gallery, it would be way more captivating and worthy of pontificating on than a banana gaffer-taped to the wall. The fascia seems recessed away rather than coming in to claw at you like most do. The steering stands proud and makes a premium proposition with the flat-bottom and touch controls. The instrument panel cones your eyes towards it through two large triangular arrangements and it’s fully digital and configurable.
There isn’t the normal line of buttons and switches on the dashboard, but a geometric pattern of piano-black surfaces that you touch to make things happen on the screen – which itself is disappointingly and simplistically rectangular and ordinary – and the car itself. Along the centre console are more beautifully crafted toggle switches you just want to fondle because of their delightful tactile feel, and the iron-handle gear-shifter is easier to use than it looks.
Don’t be put off by the notion of ‘just THREE cylinders’ the astonishingly torquey motor produces an impressive 240Nm (177lb ft) of torque, and as three-pots are wont to do, it sounds delicious when you twist down your right foot. Momentum off the line is decent – which around town is really what matters most. It’s a great motorway cruiser too, largely due to the refined, well-controlled and comfy set up of the DS 3’s suspension. It doesn’t float or roll, and suppresses undulations and bumps well.
So both you and your passengers will appreciate that after long periods of time in the car, in town and intercity. For sporty drivers, the brakes are reassuring, the steering is nicely weighted and the grip on this front-wheel drive car is good. But there isn’t a huge amount of feel, and the dynamics of the car aren’t really set up to be chucked about.
You will be enamoured by this car for its style, comfort and slightly contrary approach to interior style and the driver/car interface. It’s a talking point for anyone you give a lift too, and makes you feel special each time you get in. It keeps you safe, well and looking good. And for that it’s well worth putting on your shopping list.