In-depth reviews

DS 3 Crossback review - Interior, design and technology

It’s boldly designed but the DS 3 Crossback doesn’t quite have the substance to back up its style

The DS 3 Crossback was the first PSA Group product to use its Common Modular Platform (CMP) – the same one that’s found under the new Peugeot 208. It’s a rigid structure that’s also been designed to allow for the inclusion of electrified powertrains, uprated in-car technology and Level 2 autonomous driving aids.

From the outside, the Crossback looks the part. It won’t be mistaken for anything else thanks to a bold front end with a large grille, a usefully lofty ride-height, a distinctive kick in the windowline on the car’s profile and large badging to the rear. Some models get two large rear tail pipes for an extra touch of sportiness. The Crossback’s party-piece deployable door handles pop out when you unlock the car. There are plenty of personalisation options, with nine exterior colours, three contrasting roof colours and a total of nine alloy wheel design/colour combinations available through the range.

Things are just as interesting inside too. The Crossback’s interior is a cacophony of tactile materials, geometric shapes and oddly placed buttons; it looks unlike anything else and puts design ahead of ergonomics in some places. There’s lots of suedecloth-effect coverings and added leather on higher-spec models; it’s far more exciting than the interior of an Audi Q2 and – while not built to quite the same standard – can match the MINI Countryman in the left-field design stakes.

Ergonomics aren’t fantastic, however. There are relatively few buttons in the cabin, with lots of key features – including the climate control – being controlled via the car’s dash-top infotainment screen. It takes a bit of getting used to the Crossback’s strange layout.

Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment

Elegance and Performance Line cars come as standard with a seven-inch touch screen atop the dashboard, joined by a smaller screen behind the steering wheel in place of traditional analogue dials. The seven-inch screen is replaced by an impressive 10-inch item on Prestige models and above and is worth the upgrade – it’s not the best in use but it certainly looks great. Prestige models also get automatic cruise control, 3D sat-nav and two USB ports in the front.

The DS 3 Crossback comes with a digital dash, which isn’t available on rivals like the MINI Countryman. The large 10-inch touchscreen display is bigger than many and is fitted with both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The smartphone connectivity works well here, but the standard interface for music and sat-nav on lower-spec models is poor; it’s best to resort to plugging in your phone.

There are plenty of features, then, but the Crossback’s infotainment isn’t terribly easy to use. The interface is confusing and frustrating – the screen sometimes takes time to register touches and often doesn’t recognise them at all. Many rival systems – such as those found in the Audi Q2 and BMW X1 – are more intuitive, and because the DS’s air-conditioning controls are only accessed through the screen, you have to look away from the road more often as well.

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