French premium brand gets PSA’s new supermini platform first. Does it deliver against class leaders like the Mini Countryman and Audi Q2?

The PSA Group – car-making Goliath, parent of Peugeot, Citroën and Vauxhall, and now part of the Stellantis Group of brands – invested €100 million in preparing its Poissy plant for DS 3 Crossback production.

As a statistic, this is a blunt but effective measure of just how much stock is being placed in this bold-looking new car.

The original DS 3 was a great-looking car. This one needed to be every bit as desirable given its price and positioning. If it was, you could forgive it a lot else besides. But, while I appreciate it’s subjective, I’m just not sold on the looks

A bold play it is, too. Following the larger DS 7 Crossback, this is only the second ground-up product from DS Automobiles, and is aimed at usurping traditional premium brands in the hugely popular and still growing B-SUV crossover hatchback segment.

The Audi Q2 and Mini Countryman are the cars in the firing line but, unlike those manufacturers, DS is still establishing its credentials and remains a relatively unknown quantity to the majority of drivers.

The earliest DS specimens of the modern era were, of course, derived from existing Citroën models – and most enjoyed limited success. In fact, the likeable DS3 hatchback aside, it’s no stretch to say that DS Automobiles has endured heavy commercial weather, even since it was established as an independent entity in 2015.

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The DS 7 Crossback would seem to be leading a revival and today’s road test subject needs to bolster those sales and deliver much more besides. This car could be seen as one of a number of raised ride-height supermini SUVs currently supplanting their hatchback forebears.

It’s a car very much of its time in other ways, too. The CMP platform on which it’s based has been co-developed with PSA’s Chinese partner, Dongfeng Motor; there is an electric version arriving shortly; an emphasis has been placed on style and ambience; and much is being made of its segment-leading driver-assistance technology.

Price £29,455 Power 153bhp Torque 177lb ft 0-60mph 8.8sec 30-70mph in fourth 10.5sec Fuel economy 40.6mpg CO2 emissions 114-121g/km 70-0mph 48.7m

The DS 3 Crossback range at a glance

There is a choice of automatic or manual transmissions, but it is engine dependant. There’s no four-wheel drive option. Equipment-boosting ‘Plus’ packages are available on mid-range PerformanceLine and Prestige trim levels, while a launch edition called La Première comes almost fully loaded.


DS 3 Crossback First drives