DS 3 E-Tense review

The DS 3 E-Tense is a quirky and refined electric SUV, but longer range and new tech don’t put it to the front of the pack

2023 DS 3 E-Tense
Overall rating

3.0 out of 5

Price
£35,670 - £42,470
Fuel Type:
Electric

Pros

  • 250-mile range
  • Refinement
  • Build quality

Cons

  • Touch-sensitive controls
  • Limited interior space
  • Expensive
Car typeOfficial rangeWallbox charge timeRapid charge time
Electric250 miles7hrs 30mins (0-100%, 7.4kW)30mins (10-80%, 100kW)

Citroen’s premium offshoot DS is known for putting an upmarket spin on tried-and-tested components, and the electric DS 3 Crossback E-Tense (yes, that was its official name) did just that. Underneath the quirky styling and slightly unconventional cabin design was the same running gear used to power numerous EVs from Citroen, Vauxhall and Peugeot.

Well now, not only has the compact electric SUV dropped the ‘Crossback’ from its name, it's been given a facelift, a new infotainment system and some extra range courtesy of a bigger 54kWh battery and more powerful electric motor – the same setup as the new Jeep Avenger. As a result, the DS 3 can now cover up to 250 miles on a charge, so the French marque says, while 0-62mph stacks up a leisurely nine seconds.

Facelifted cars are marked out by a pair of vertical LED strakes each side of the grille, which itself has become wider with this update. Depending on the trim level, the grille is decorated with gloss black or chromed diamond tips, while inside every model now comes with a 10.3-inch central touchscreen that’s noticeably more responsive than the old unit. However, the touch sensitive dashboard layout is still fiddly and unintuitive to use.

The tapered roofline remains, giving the DS 3 its almost coupe-like appearance, though the small rear windows can make it feel a bit claustrophobic in the back. Boot space is limited to 350 litres, which is less than the Cupra Born’s 385-litre load area, and far behind the Kia Niro EV which offers a much more substantial 475 litres.

The DS 3 is still a quiet, comfortable and easy car to drive, while the 154bhp on tap is plenty for pottering around town. The regenerative braking system doesn’t offer one-pedal driving like the Niro EV, but its progressive nature contributes to a relaxing driving experience. The DS 3 is a decent motorway cruiser, too, especially because even at 70mph very little wind or road noise manages to penetrate the cabin. It can feel a little loose on tighter roads, but we’d expect that from a more comfort-oriented EV like this.

Our biggest issue with the DS 3 is its price. Entry-level Performance Line cars come in at over £37,000 – more than you’d pay for a base Cupra Born or Kia Niro EV these days – and top-spec Opera-trim models are priced at £41,700. That’s just a few grand short of the excellent Tesla Model Y’s starting price. 

Ultimately, the updated DS 3 E-Tense is as quirky, refined and well built as before, plus the range boost and new infotainment system are certainly welcome. However, cabin space isn’t all that generous and the car is competitive rather than class-leading in most areas, making it almost impossible to justify such a high price on a small SUV. Especially when rivals offer significantly better value for money. For a more detailed look at the DS 3 E-Tense, read on for the rest of our in-depth review...

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