DS unleashes Audi Q2 rival SUV. DS 3 Crossback will come in petrol, diesel and electric flavours. PSA brand aims to underscore premium car credentials with new DS 3 Crossback.
DS Automobiles has revealed its second model since becoming a stand-alone premium car maker pitched directly at the likes of Audi and Volvo: the Audi Q2-rivalling DS 3 Crossback. Following the DS 7 Crossback as the second of six DS models planned to arrive by 2023, the small SUV enters he most competitive and fastest-growing segment in Europe.
The DS 3 Crossback is the first model to be based on the PSA Group’s new Common Modular Platform (CMP), which will underpin every small car from DS, Peugeot, Citroлn, Opel and Vauxhall in the immediate future, including the next Peugeot 208 and Vauxhall Corsa.
The French-built DS 3 Crossback, which will reach the UK in the second quarter of next year, is also an indirect replacement for the DS 3 three-door supermini. That model will stay in production until the end of 2019 before being phased out.
The DS 3 Crossback, which bore the codename ‘D34’ during its development, will be offered with petrol and diesel engines and, soon after launch, as a dedicated electric vehicle. The plan of DS, and the whole of PSA, is to offer electrified versions of each of its cars, rather than have bespoke electric models.
Engines include 99bhp, 128bhp and a new 153bhp versions of the three-cylinder 1.2-litre Puretech petrol unit, with an eight-speed automatic gearbox offered. A four-cylinder 99bhp 1.5-litre diesel will also feature. The EV uses a 50kWh lithium ion battery powered by a 134bhp electric motor (0-62mph in 8.7sec, with a top speed of 93mph) to provide a range of more than 186 miles on the WLTP test cycle (an exact figure has yet to be confirmed). On the now-outdated NEDC cycle, the range was 280 miles.
An 80% recharge of battery capacity is possible within half an hour through 100kW rapid chargers. The batteries are stored in place of the fuel tank, under seats or within the centre tunnel to ensure cabin and luggage space is identical to the fossil-fuel versions.
The car’s styling was inspired by the DS 7 Crossback, while the shark-fin side pillars are a nod to the DS 3. DS design chief Thierry Métroz says that the 4118mm-long, 1791mmwide and 1534mm-high DS 3 Crossback’s design has been optimised around the new CMP architecture. DS designers were involved in its gestation to give the car the best possible chance of design leadership in such a style-led segment. To that end, DS is hopeful of challenging at the top of the sector in terms of sales.
The DS 3 Crossback is being pitched as a technology-rich model in its segment, with features such as flush-fitting door handles, matrix LED headlights and, unusually for any car let alone one of this size, no visible rubber between the side windows and bodywork.
Much of the technology used, such as the active safety systems, is borrowed from the larger DS 7 Crossback. It includes an emergency braking system that can detect pedestrians at night. Premium features that have also made their way from the DS 7 Crossback include nappa leather and Alcantara interior trim options.
DS 3 Crossback will be the first car to sit on PSA’s CMP platform.
DS’S BREAK THROUGH MOMENT?
The story of DS is a curious one. It can’t be helpful to a company trying to establish its luxury credentials having cars within the very same generation being badged both as a Citroën and a DS.
Look to Audi as an example of how it should be done: when you see an A3 of 1998 by a kerbside, it does nothing to diminish the cars of today. But that DS 3 you can buy now branded as a DS was a Citroën a few years ago, and can be bought as one as a used car. Not ideal.
Yet DS now means business. Or rather parent firm PSA and boss Carlos Tavares do. For DS is its own brand, with its own bespoke models, own dealers, and the technology lead within the group. Tavares believes there is a gap in the market for a French premium brand; there is, but it’s up to DS to take advantage.
The new DS 7 is likeable and interesting, but by no means a class leader. Could the DS 3 Crossback be? Looks-wise, which is all we can judge it on for now, it is more desirable and better resolved than any small SUV out there. If the way it drives can match, and the dealer network is in place to sell it, DS’s coming of age might be upon us.
Number of small SUVs sold in Europe in the first half of 2018, making it the fastest-growing SUV sub-sector.