DS 3 review
The DS 3 is a left-field choice in the small premium SUV segment, and one that’s been developed with comfort in mind
The DS 3 stands out from the crowd with a style that’s all its own, but it’s a little bit average in most other respects. There’s a generous amount of standard equipment however prices are high for a small premium SUV that can’t quite match its rivals for outright quality and polish.
Designed with comfort in mind, the DS 3 is easy to drive and reasonably refined, but it lacks the control you get from its competition. Both the petrol and electric powertrains are strong enough though, with the DS 3 E-Tense getting an impressive range boost as part of a recent facelift.
Our choice: DS 3 PureTech 130 Performance Line
About the DS 3
The DS brand is a luxury arm of Stellantis, the parent company of several car makers including Peugeot, Citroen and Vauxhall. Previously, the DS name was attached to high-end Citroen models, but now it stands on its own. Its range now includes the DS 7 mid-size SUV, DS 9 saloon and DS 4 hatchback, with the DS 3 serving as the brand’s entry-level model.
The French firm’s small SUV is based on the same Common Modular Platform as Peugeot’s 208 supermini and 2008 SUV, and is offered with a choice of petrol or electric power. The DS 3’s combustion-engined competitors include the Audi Q2 and MINI Countryman, along with higher-end versions of the Volkswagen T-Roc, while the fully-electric DS 3 E-Tense competes with the Vauxhall Mokka Electric, Hyundai Kona Electric and Kia Soul EV.
A facelift for 2023 saw a number of changes made to the DS 3, including the ‘Crossback’ part of the model’s original name being dropped, the removal of a diesel engine from the line-up and the addition of a new infotainment system.
The petrol engine is a turbocharged 1.2-litre three-cylinder unit that, in base PureTech 100 guise, is paired with a six-speed manual gearbox, while PureTech 130 cars get more power and an eight-speed automatic.
The DS 3 E-Tense received more significant updates for 2023, most notably a larger 54kWh battery and more power. As a result, the small electric SUV now offers up to 250 miles on the WLTP combined cycle – nearly 60 miles more than the old model.
There are four trim levels to pick from – Performance Line, Performance Line+, Rivoli and Opera – but even entry-level models get 17-inch alloy wheels, keyless start and a 10.3-inch infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity. DS’ Safety Pack is also fitted as standard, and this includes automatic emergency braking, lane-keep assist and speed limit recognition. This pack helped the DS 3 gain its five-star safety rating from Euro NCAP.
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In this review
- 1Verdict - currently readingThe DS 3 is a left-field choice in the small premium SUV segment, and one that’s been developed with comfort in mind
- 2Engines, performance and driveThe DS 3 is nimble around town, but far from exciting when you hit the open road
- 3MPG, CO2 and Running CostsRunning costs for the DS 3 should be good whether you go for petrol or electric power
- 4Interior, design and technologyIt’s boldly designed but the DS 3 doesn’t quite have the substance to back up its style
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceThe DS 3’s focus on style means practicality is compromised versus rivals
- 6Reliability and SafetyThe DS 3 redeems itself with great safety credentials but reliability is still largely untested