DS has opened reservations for its first pure EV – the DS-3 Crossback E-Tense. It is hoping to distinguish the DS-3 Crossback E-Tense from its compact SUV rivals by aiming at the more premium end of the market alongside the likes of the Audi Q2 and VW T-Cross. Neither of these has an EV option, though rumour has it the Q2 might get the e-Tron treatment (but that's another story!).
As such, DS is claiming that the model will be the first such vehicle in its corner of the market to hit the road when deliveries start in 2020.
As with the other recent launches from PSA Group such as the Peugeot e-208 and e-2008 and Vauxhall Corsa-e, the DS-3 Crossback E-Tense is based on its CMP (Common Modular Platform) underpinnings. This means that it gets the familiar mixture of a 50kWh lithium-ion battery powering a 134bhp, 192lb-ft motor driving the front wheels. The battery itself is guaranteed for eight years or 100,000 miles.
The model comes with an on-board high-capacity charger available as 7kW single phase or 11kW three phase which charge the DS-3 in eight or five hours respectively. Given the UK's existing infrastructure, the 7kW option will be standard here. Alongside this lower charging capacity, the DS-3 Crossback E-Tense can be rapid charged at public charging points up to 100kW. At this level the car will gain 80 per cent charge in less than 30 minutes.
On the road, DS claims a range of 200 miles (WLTP cycle) which can be maximised by using the Eco driving mode. In Sport mode the DS-3 offers sharper acceleration and more of the available power more of the time. Normal mode caters for every day driving. In Sport mode, the DS-3 Crossback E-Tense will hit 62mph from rest in 8.7 seconds, passing 30mph in just 3.3 seconds. Two levels of regenerative braking harvest power from deceleration and feed it back into the battery.
On the outside the DS-3 Crossback E-Tense strikes a purposeful pose and, whilst sharing most of its styling with its conventionally-powered siblings, has a few unique touches that distinguish it. These include an exclusive pearl crystal paint finish and 18 inch alloys, and E-Tense emblems. Across the range there are some nice touches which help establish the DS-3’s premium qualities such as flush-fitting door handles, antenna-free roofline, non-visible weather strips and hallmark 'shark fin' feature which defines the rear window line. DS matrix LED headlamps with automatic variable beams depending on road conditions are fitted as standard.
The DS-3 Crossback E-Tense is available in two different trim levels, each of which gets very good levels of technology. The lower-level Prestige model gets a 10 inch touchscreen with Mirror Screen for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, USB and Bluetooth connectivity, DAB with eight speakers, keyless start and automatic air conditioning. 3D navigation and in-car WiFi also enhance interior comfort and convenience.
In terms of safety and driving aids, a comprehensive array of airbags helps protect the occupants in the event of an accident. On the move, drivers benefit from an emergency brake system, lane keep assist, speed recognition and intelligent speed adaptation. Rear parking sensors and hill start assist make low-speed manoeuvres less arduous.
Getting your hands on a DS-3 Crossback E-Tense will start at £32,350 including the government grant. This is very competitive for something aimed at the likes of VW and Audi in terms of premium feel, yet being more in the price ballpark of the Kia E-Niro or Hyundai Kona Electric (both of which come in at between £32,000 and £33,000). The latter two may offer more performance and miles between charges, but they don't get the same levels of kit, so the compromise is ultimately up to consumers.
Dedicated services include a choice of wall box solutions, access to public charging and DS Mobility which enables owners to rent other DS models – for example a conventionally-powered model for a long journey. Deliveries start in early 2020, with priority reservations starting in July at the cost of a £500 refundable deposit.