Can there be a more stereotypical use-case than this? Dropping my child off at primary school, I pass both a C-HR and a T-Cross. No DS 3 Crossbacks yet, but parked over there is a Fiat 500X, across the road a Jeep Renegade, and outside the school gate an unmatched pair of Jukes. Actually, my kid walks to school (this is London and most of her classmates do too), but you get the picture. These things are becoming default small-family town cars. They’ve a bit more space than a supermini, but they’re slightly smaller than a Focus or Golf when you need to park them. If not for off-roading, their drivers clearly think they’re OK for up-kerbing. Plus, it’s a style thing: they don’t look like a driving-school hatchback. Trouble is, at least two of the cars in this test are prima facie exemplars of style over substance.
Look at the DS 3 and C-HR. Poor packaging, can’t see out of them, high centre of gravity as the enemy of agility and aerodynamics, odd-shaped switches eccentrically disposed across their dashboards. We’re all for a bit of biodiversity in the automotive forest, but these two are going to have to work pretty hard to prove to us they aren’t an evolutionary cul de sac.
Images: Mark Riccioni