DS 3 Crossback E-TENSE interior & comfort
You’ll either love or loathe the E-TENSE’s cabin: 'quirky' is probably the best word to describe the interior. The dashboard is laid out in a diamond formation, with most of the buttons residing below the central touchscreen. The layout isn’t as complicated as it looks, though; the switches all do what you’d expect them to do, and connecting your phone using Apple CarPlay or Android Auto is a doddle.
However, parts of the DS 3’s cabin feel over-designed. You’ll find the window switches on the centre console rather than on the doors, for example, and the big block of plastic trim obscuring over-the-shoulder visibility is the definition of form taking precedence over function. The digital dials look great, however, presenting all the necessary information exactly where you want it.
Then there are the seats. The chairs in the flagship Ultra Prestige-spec DS 3 are genuinely among the most comfortable seats of any modern production car. There’s just so much cushion – and without any tradeoff in support. They seem to take the edge off the slightly firm ride, too.
DS 3 Crossback E-TENSE dashboard
DS is targeting the premium class, and the Crossback’s interior design, for the most part, feels special enough to meet the criteria. There’s high-quality material on the doors and dashboard, and all the technology is first-rate. The design is a little off-the-wall and won’t be to all tastes, but apart from some slightly flimsy window switches, it all appears pretty well built.
The cloth upholstery on Performance Line cars – the lowest trim level offering the electric E-TENSE powertrain – works well with the Alcantara on the dashboard, and the angular styling is unlike anything else on the market. Upgrade to the range-topping Ultra Prestige and you get a set of glorious leather-wrapped chairs front and back.
Equipment, options & accessories
Given quality isn’t far off this car’s premium rivals, it’s a pity that equipment levels are little more than average: flush door handles, automatic air-conditioning, a seven-inch infotainment screen, lane-keeping assistance, cruise control and automatic emergency braking are all standard, but you’ll need to upgrade beyond the basic trim level for LED headlights and the larger 10-inch touchscreen sat nav.
The DS 3 E-TENSE is available in three of the standard car’s four trim levels. Performance Line gives the car a sportier look, including unique 17-inch wheels, tinted windows and dark trim. Prestige cars get leather seats and a three-year subscription to DS’s range of connected services, while Ultra Prestige brings that larger screen, a head-up display, matrix LED lights, 18-inch wheels and those super-comfortable watch-strap-style leather seats.
But at almost £36,000 – after the government’s plug-in car grant has been applied – the Ultra Prestige does look quite pricey. Especially when you consider how well built the latest Kia and Hyundai products feel. Spend just a few thousand pounds more, and you’re looking at Tesla Model 3 money.
Infotainment, apps & sat nav
All DS 3s come ready to roll with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, although more basic versions make do with a smaller seven-inch touchscreen. For the larger 10-inch screen, you need to opt for the flagship Ultra Prestige model, but beware, these cars are very expensive.
Admittedly, no matter which version you go for, the infotainment system and a reliance on touch-sensitive buttons to control many of the car’s functions can be frustrating. The diamond-shaped switches aren’t the most responsive, although everything is clearly labelled and the system is easy to navigate.