DS 3 Crossback E-TENSE interior, dashboard & comfort
Go for one of the higher-spec DS 3 Crossback E-TENSEs and you'll benefit from some of the most comfortable seats in any modern production car
You’ll either love or loathe the DS 3 Crossback E-TENSE’s cabin: 'quirky' is probably the best word to describe it. 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 interior do 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.
DS 3 Crossback E-TENSE dashboard
DS is targeting the premium class, and the 3 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 lower-spec cars works well with the Alcantara on the dashboard, and the angular styling is unlike anything else on the market. Upgrade to higher trim levels and you get a set of glorious leather-wrapped chairs front and back.
Equipment, options & accessories
The DS 3 E-TENSE is available in five of the standard car’s six trim levels. The entry-level Montmartre is skipped, so the cheapest electric DS 3 you can get is Bastille spec, for bang-on £34,000 as of early 2022.
Even that's no longer eligible for the government's plug-in car grant, which these days only applies to cars under £32,000. It features 17-inch alloys, automatic air-conditioning, rear parking sensors, automatic wipers, power-folding mirrors and tinted rear windows. After that, the hierarchy diverges in two, with Performance Line and Performance Line+ concentrating on sporty styling, while Rivoli and Louvre turn up the luxury.
Performance Line starts at nearly £34,500 and sports unique 17-inch alloy wheels, as well as dark exterior trim, plus power-folding and heated mirrors. There's also Performance Line+, for a little over £37,000, which ups the wheel size to 18 inches and adds matrix LED headlights, keyless entry and starting, 3D navigation, a 10-inch touchscreen and LED rear lights.
Rivoli comes in at a bit under £36,000, bagging you a choice of two different 18-inch alloy-wheel designs, matrix LED headlights, keyless entry and starting, 3D navigation a reversing camera and an advanced safety pack. The limited-edition Louvre sails through the £40,000 threshold, attempting to justify that lofty amount with a special leather interior, 18-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels, gloss-black exterior trim and 'Louvre showcase' catalogue of artworks accessible through the infotainment system.
Infotainment, apps & sat nav
All DS 3s come ready to roll with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connectivity, although more basic versions make do with a smaller seven-inch touchscreen. For the 10-inch screen, you need to opt for at least the pricey Performance Line+ model. No matter which you go for, the infotainment system and using touch-sensitive buttons to control many 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.
In This Review
- 1VerdictThe DS 3 Crossback E-TENSE is a decent – if not quite class-leading – electric SUV that has refinement and unique styling on its side
- 2Range, battery & chargingThe DS 3 E-TENSE's 200-plus-miles range is good, and while it won’t quite match that in daily use, it’s much better than style-focused rivals like the MINI Electric
- 3Running costs & insuranceElectric cars like the DS 3 Crossback E-TENSE by their nature cost mere pennies to run – but beware: insurance could be more expensive than for the petrol version
- 4Electric motor, drive & performanceThe DS 3 Crossback E-TENSE isn’t all that fun to drive, but it’s refined and relatively comfortable; plus, there’s plenty of punch in Sport mode
- 5Interior, dashboard & comfort - currently readingGo for one of the higher-spec DS 3 Crossback E-TENSEs and you'll benefit from some of the most comfortable seats in any modern production car
- 6Boot space, seating & practicalityThe electric version of the DS 3 Crossback loses nothing to its petrol counterpart when it comes to practicality – and yet it’s still not the most versatile car in its class
- 7Reliability & safetyDespite DS being a relatively low-selling manufacturer, the 3 Crossback’s mechanicals have been tried and tested in countless other small cars and SUVs