Bit different to look at and sit in, as practical as ICE car
Ride comfort, inconsistent brake pedal, awkward infotainment
What is it?
If you want a super-small, vaguely SUV-shaped thing from a ‘premium’ brand, you have many choices. The Audi Q2, Mini Countryman, VW T-Cross... the list goes on. However if you want one powered not by petrol or diesel but exclusively by electricity, you’ve got few options. None at all, in fact, bar this: the all-electric DS 3 Crossback E-Tense.
The E-Tense has a 50kWh battery good for 200 miles or thereabouts of range. Said battery powers a 134bhp e-motor, giving 0-62mph in under nine seconds and a top speed of 93mph, and can be charged from nought to 80 per cent in 30 minutes with a 100kW charger.
Sound familiar? This is the same drivetrain you get in the new Peugeot e-208 and Vauxhall Corsa-e (single motor on front axle, so front-wheel drive only). The three cars share a platform (though the DS 3’s wheelbase is a little longer) designed from the outset to work with both electric and combustion drivetrains, meaning there is no practical compromise in buying the EV (in other words, no boot-full of batteries) instead of the popular three-cylinder petrol.
In fact you couldn’t identify the EV in a line-up of DS 3s. Well, if the subtle E-Tense badges were gaffer-taped over. As with the 208 there’s no blanked-off grille, different bodywork or special trim - the E-Tense looks more or less identical to petrol- and diesel-powered DS 3s. It will be available in the same trims and with the same equipment. Indeed, it’ll be built in the same factory (near Paris), on the same production line.
For PSA, electricity is merely an alternative means of propelling your DS 3 - a third option alongside petrol or diesel - rather than cause for a standalone model. I.e. the exact opposite of what everyone else seems to be doing. We quite like that - helps normalise the technology.
What's the verdict?
DS doesn’t think the Crossback E-Tense has any rivals - but it costs the same kind of money as a Hyundai Kona Electric and Kia e-Niro, both of which feel like better resolved, more complete products (and can go further on a charge). What they lack though is style - the DS 3 might not be to your taste, but for many its quirky design and ‘premium’ features will be reasons enough to get one over the more practical Kia, even with those dynamic shortcomings.