In our almost sterile-regulated world, there is still room for things that can surprise. An example of this is the DS 3 Crossback SUV. It looks like a toy, but drives like an “adult” car. What else can DS 3 Crossback surprise with? I will try to answer now.

DS 3 Crossback design: the power to be different

A very interesting question – what is DS 3 Crossback? Is this already an SUV? Is it still a hatchback? After all, here we have only front-wheel drive and compact dimensions: length 4.12 meters, width 1.79 meters, height 1.53 meters, wheelbase 2.59 meters – like a hatchback. However, we also have protective plastic underbody panels and large 18-inch wheels – just like an SUV.

And we also have a very original style: a combination of smooth lines, unexpected curves, many decorative details. For example, the radiator grille is glossy black and has a matte finish around the perimeter. Door handles got a a retractable mechanism and chrome decoration. Wheel rims – silver-black design and red caps. The central roof rack features a reverse shark fin design: a nod to the first DS 3.

First there was DS 3 – a compact 3-door hatchback, one of the first cars in the recent history of the DS brand. Then came the turn of the DS 3 Crossback: it became bigger, got a 5-door body and an “SUV” positioning. But the characteristic appearance of the “reversed shark fin” reminds us of its predecessor. And in general, the car is interesting in every detail. Interestingly, there is already a successor in the form of an updated version of the same car: pay attention to the changed front end, new headlights and radiator grille.

Despite the formal belonging to the “B-SUV crossover” class, I would still say that we have a “B+ hatchback” format car in front of us. After all, in terms of its space, the interior is rather similar to a regular compact Euro-hatch: it is still normal in front, but there is not much legroom in the back. Only some margin in height is saving the situation. And then there are those small windows, high-placed window regulator buttons, only one minimal pocket on the central tunnel…

In general: the interior of the DS 3 Crossback is a place where the division between the front (primary) and rear (secondary) parts is very strongly felt. After all, in addition to a certain margin of space, the front part of the interior impresses with the way this place is designed and used. The original shape of the front panel, a lot of decor in the form of rhombuses, the placement of keys around the automatic transmission joystick, and the digital instrument panel in the form of a display. Each element deserves separate attention!

The interior is interesting not so much for its space or transformation possibilities, but for its design. And it is also interesting with high-quality finishing materials: real “premium”. Which finds its manifestation even in the trunk (350 l), where the subwoofer of the FOCAL audio system is hidden. But in the case of the DS 3 Crossback design often prevails over practicality: the rearview camera is located in such a way that it gets dirty quickly; a similar statement applies to the trunk opening button; and the rear door glass does not lower completely.

Small technical surprises of a small car

The DS 3 Crossback SUV is built on the CMP platform, which is the basis for many compact cars: Citroen C4, Peugeot 208 and Peugeot 2008, Opel Corsa, and Opel Mokka. This platform provides for the use of 3-cylinder gasoline or 4-cylinder diesel engines, manual or automatic transmission, front-wheel drive, independent front suspension, semi-independent rear suspension, and the possibility of creating an electric version.

It seems that the compact DS 3 Crossback received the best components of this platform. For example, the DS 3 Crossback test car has a 155-horsepower gasoline engine and an 8-speed automatic transmission. And in its configuration, there is adaptive cruise control with the possibility of a complete stop, the function of maintaining a traffic lane, control of the “blind zones” of the rearview mirrors, a large 10.3-inch display of the multimedia system.

Such a list of technologies is a high-level indicator for the CMP platform. Although there is one detail that the DS 3 Crossback lacks. This refers to the three-dimensional 3D instrument panel used on the Peugeot 208 and Peugeot 2008. Instead, the DS 3 Crossback model only offers a conventional flat display. However, look at its design: what could not be accomplished by technology, was simply accomplished by design.

The test car has a 155-horsepower PureTech gasoline turbo engine, which is the most powerful version in the DS 3 Crossback range. Note that it stands out with a special dual exhaust and rear bumper: nice! Such an engine is combined with a modern 8-speed automatic AISIN, and in the list of “modern” you can mention equipment: adaptive cruise control, lane keeping, matrix headlights DS MATRIX LED VISION, large color displays (instrument panel and multimedia).

Behind the wheel: “turbo” – optimism and “sport” – liveliness

Small and light (only 1,205 kg), but quite powerful – what will we get at the output? Good acceleration and lively character! DS 3 Crossback does not turn into a sports car even with a 155-horsepower engine and performance with the symbolic name Performance Line. But it gives optimism and a good mood while driving. An active start from a standstill, imperceptible quick switching of the automatic transmission, a minimum of delays when pressing the accelerator pedal – and here we are already racing ahead of the city flow. And the acceleration “in motion” in the city or on the highway is quite active. Under the barely noticeable chirping of the 3-cylinder engine, the car quickly reaches any speed limit allowed in Ukraine and seems to say “come on”.

It’s great that the DS 3 Crossback crossover can drive not only in a straight line. Its steering wheel makes 2.5-2.7 revolutions from stop to stop: again, this is not an indicator of a “sharp” sports steering wheel. But the combination of compactness and lightness guarantees us quick maneuvers and readiness to turn in bends of various steepness. Plus, a surprisingly well-chosen balance of suspension comfort: usually lively character and thirst for turns promise hard springs and shock absorbers – but not this time! Baby DS 3 Crossback is surprisingly able to maintain good “adult” comfort. I once wrote and I will repeat again: given the design, interior, and equipment of the DS 3 Crossback car, hardly anyone will believe that it is bought for a cool drive; and in vain – because this SUV really drives well.

Gasoline “turbo” fulfills its declared performance (155 hp and 240 Nm, acceleration from 0-100 km/h in 8.2 seconds, maximum 208 km/h), but it does not mind eating fuel. At least in the city, I got 7.5-8 liters per 100 km, but if you get excited and drive really briskly, you can get 9-9.5 liters. On the highway at a speed of 90-100 km/h, the car consumes about 5.5 liters per hundred km. The DRIVE MODE switch noticeably affects the character of the car: in SPORT mode, the automatic transmission does not rush to shift to a higher gear, and feedback on the accelerator pedal becomes sharper; in the ECO position, everything happens the other way around – the car “falls asleep” to save fuel.

DS 3 Crossback cost: paying extra for style

From the beginning of its sales in Ukraine, the DS 3 Crossback seemed to imitate the behavior of “high fashion houses”: for each new season (ie, model year), different combinations of engines and equipment were prepared. For example, the hero of this article is presented in a version with a 155-horsepower engine and in the Performance Line configuration. But now there are options for sale with a 130-horsepower engine, an 8-speed automatic transmission, made by Bastille (wow, what a thematic name!) – such a car costs from UAH 973,000 or about $24,000. Quite a lot…

However, be sure that in any case, the buyer will not be offended by the equipment. After all, DS 3 Crossback Bastille offers: front and side airbags, inflatable safety curtains, climate control, lane keeping, traffic sign recognition, rearview camera, heated front seats, cruise control, touch 7-inch display, digital panel instruments (also a 7-inch display), light-alloy 17-inch wheels, Bastille interior trim – bronze-colored fabric, eco-leather inserts, dark ceiling.

DS 3 Crossback test drive: when the details really matter

Maksym Solovyov, founder of the Drivovo company: “For our cars by subscription service, a Peugeot 2008 SUV is one of the most popular among customers. But there are also specific requests – one of which was DS 3 Crossback. The client wanted to get something of the Peugeot 2008 format, but with a more stylish design, luxurious interior, and maximum equipment. Even the price of such a car will be slightly higher than that of the well-known 2008. So we decided to try DS 3 Crossback – and guessed. It is worth noting that there are not many such cars in our company, but in the case of this model and these customers, originality and uniqueness are only an additional advantage.”

DS 3 Crossback test drive results

What is DS 3 Crossback? It’s a car that’s not afraid to be different – and it’s made for people who want to be different. That’s how you can formulate the idea of the DS 3 Crossback model.

At the same time, I note that in addition to an interesting exterior design and an original interior, the DS 3 Crossback SUV can offer other advantages. For example, a high level of equipment and modern technologies. Or, no matter how strange it may be perceived, an exciting driver’s character.

This is how the combination of various details and features managed to create a car with a complete and developed character. In the end, it turns out that the DS 3 Crossback is much more than just a “pretty face in a fashionable wrapper.”

DS 3 Crossback test drive: when the details really matter

Car provided by Drivovo: cars by subscription service