In-depth reviews

DS 3 Crossback E-TENSE electric motor, drive & performance

The DS 3 Crossback E-TENSE isn’t all that fun to drive, but it’s refined and relatively comfortable – and there’s plenty of punch in Sport mode

Rating
Electric motor, drive & performance Rating
0-62mphTop speedDriven wheelsPower
8.7s93mphFront134bhp

On the road, the E-TENSE’s powertrain is the main highlight. Put your foot down and the instant surge associated with so many electric cars is present and correct. It’s not Tesla quick, but the DS 3 builds power fast enough to keep up with swiftly moving traffic. In fact, the slightly softer throttle response makes it very relaxing to drive.

It’s impressively refined, too, even at motorway speeds – with very little in the way of electric-motor whine, wind and road noise. Around town, only the poor rearward and over-the-shoulder visibility lets it down, with the light and accurate steering making the car easy to position and simple to manoeuvre. The plush seats make it a comfortable companion on longer journeys, too.

Raise your speed and you’ll find that while the DS 3 isn’t the most entertaining small crossover on sale, it does feel safe and predictable to drive. The relatively firm ride means body control is acceptable, and with no gears to contend with, owners are saved from the usually vague manual-transmission action of PSA Group cars.

DS 3 Crossback E-TENSE 0-62mph, top speed and acceleration

With 134bhp, every version of the DS 3 Crossback E-TENSE does 0-62mph in around nine seconds and can hit an electronically limited 93mph top speed. While that may not sound much, it’s unlikely to trouble too many buyers – in the UK at least.

It’s worth noting that maximum power is only available in Sport mode. In the car’s Normal setting, which the DS 3 defaults to when you switch it on, the motor is limited to around 100bhp. Flick through to Eco mode and that drops to somewhere in the region of 80bhp. Don’t be put off; Eco and Normal are perfectly adequate for daily duties, to the extent you’ll rarely find yourself reaching for the Sport switch.

Handling

When the DS 3 Crossback E-TENSE reaches motorway cruising speed, the electric motor is virtually inaudible – to the extent that it’s as quiet as far more expensive luxury vehicles. There’s some wind noise caused by rustling around the wing mirrors, but DS has tackled this by adding thicker glass and door panels, plus an ‘acoustic’ windscreen – features you won’t find on the petrol or diesel versions.

The electric powertrain adds 300kg to the DS 3's weight. It’s agile enough for a car of this type, but push harder and you’ll feel that extra mass through the corners. Ride comfort is reasonable, with the suspension coping well on average road surfaces.

However, on rougher tarmac the car’s weight drags it into ruts and potholes, making it lose composure. In this respect, the Hyundai Kona Electric and Kia e-Niro have the upper hand. Still, the excellent leather seats on top-spec Ultra Prestige cars take the edge off nastier bumps and ridges.

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