DS 3 Crossback E-TENSE (2019 - 2022) used car review

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By Jonathan Crouch


Here's a car that tapped into a couple of the fastest growing trends in the automotive market: those for full-electric vehicles and small SUVs. The DS 3 Crossback E-TENSE might have an awkward name but it promised to bring buyers some of the best things from both of these market genres. And it was another model that really moved the DS brand forward.


5dr SUV (EV)


From the beginning, DS used 'E-TENSE' branding for its electric variants; the larger DS 7 Crossback E-TENSE was a 'PHEV' or 'Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle', which used a 1.6-litre petrol engine combined with a battery. The DS 3 Crossback E-TENSE though, dispensed with combustion engineering altogether and was a 'BEV' (or 'Battery Electric Vehicle').

At its launch in 2019, this was the first full-battery-powered small SUV on the market. And certainly the first of many. It used the same all-electric engineering we'd subsequently also seen in other PSA Group products, the Vauxhall Corsa-e and Peugeot's e-208 and e-2008 models. It sold in this original 'Crossback' form until early 2023, when it was replaced by an updated version that was badged mere 'DS 3' and got a slightly larger 54kWh battery and a new electric motor. It's the earlier DS 3 Crossback E-TENSE models we look at here.

What You Get

At first glance, there is not much to mark this 'zero emission' model out from other variants in the DS 3 Crossback range. It's all very subtle, key visual differentiation points including this derivative's exclusive Pearl Crystal paint finish, extra satin-chrome exterior touches and E-TENSE badging. Otherwise, this variant is exactly like its petrol and diesel showroom stablemates, so it's 4.17-metres long, 1.79-metres wide and 1.53-metres high, measurements which position this car amongst the bigger contenders in the segment for small premium SUVs.

Inside, the EV changes include dedicated information displayed in the digital instrument binnacle and an auto gear lever embossed with the 'E-TENSE' emblem. As with any other DS 3 Crossback, the cabin features an over-riding diamond-shaped theme - the digital instrument pack, the dashboard switches, the air vents and many other interior fitments all bear this shape. There's a 7-inch centre-dash screen - which grows to 10-inches in size if you get a variant fitted with navigation. You get a reasonable array of storage compartments including cup holders and a broad, functional sliding armrest. The seats are particularly comfortable thanks to a special bi-density foam the brand has developed. But over-the-shoulder vision is somewhat compromised by the rear 'D'-pillar.

In the rear, the window line in the rear is rather high, so if you've got kids, you might want to make sure they're OK with that. Because this EV model's batteries are housed within this design's clever multi-energy CMP architecture, the boot capacity (350-litres) is exactly the same as what you'd get in a petrol or diesel version of this model. Push forward the 60:40-split backrest and 1,050-litres of space is revealed.

What You Pay

DS 3 Crossback E-TENSE values start from around £14,000 (around £16,100 retail) for a 'Performance Line' model on a '19-plate, with values rising to around £17,150 (around £19,250 retail) for an equivalent-spec 'Bastille'-trimmed late '22-plate variant. All quoted values are sourced through industry experts cap hpi. Click here for a free valuation.

What to Look For

You'll need to buy carefully but the use of common Peugeot and Citroen parts means that reliability shouldn't be any worse than models from those brands. The most common problems with come across to the car's accessories and electrical systems, such is the retracting door handles, which seem to have a mind of their own. We've also heard owners report issues with certain advanced driver assistance systems which can sometimes be rather over-assertive.

With this E-TENSE version, owners have complained that the car isn't able to correctly gauge how many miles are left in the battery; often apparently, the display shows just 170 miles or so, even when fully charged. There have also been some gripes about setting the charging timer correctly. And suggestions that the usable battery capacity is actually some way below the claimed 50kWh. The charging app is also apparently awkward to use. As usual, with all DS 3 Crossbacks, check for wheel scuffs and interior child damage; and insist on a fully stamped-up service history.

Replacement Parts

(approx based on a 2020 DS 2 Crossback E-TENSE - Ex Vat) A pollen filter is around £15. Front brake pads sit in the £30-£46 bracket. Front brake discs sit in the £44-£100 bracket for a pair. A wiper is around £5-£17.

On the Road

This all-electric 'E-TENSE' variant was made possible due to the fact that the CMP platform that the DS 3 Crossback sits upon was, rather cleverly, engineered to accept both conventional and full-battery powertrains. The original version of this 'full-battery' set-up saw a 136hp electric motor linked to a 50kWh lithium-ion battery and a system for recovering energy during acceleration and braking, with effectiveness you could maximise via two driver-activated energy recovery settings - 'Normal' and 'Brake'. A DS 3 Crossback E-Tense also offers three main selectable driving modes - 'Eco', 'Normal' and 'Sport', the last of which delivers the powertrain's maximum 260Nm torque figure to the tarmac the instant the wheels begin to turn.

Which is why, despite the fact that this electric derivative tips the scales at over one and a half tonnes, rest to 62mph can be dispatched in just 8.7s. Of course, drive like that too often and you're not going to get anywhere near the quoted WLTP-rated driving range of around 200 miles. The battery weighs 350kg, but the car's kerb weight has risen by only 300kg - all of this mass low and centralised - because the engine and its ancillaries are no longer needed. All EVs are quiet but many suffer from wind noise and tyre roar; there's little of that here. What you do get - to meet the current trend - is plenty of semi-autonomous driving technology on offer (most of it optional). The 'DS Drive Assist' package combines 'Active Cruise Control' and 'Lane Keeping Assist' in a form that sees the vehicle managing both steering and speed.


The DS 3 Crossback E-TENSE is hardly inexpensive but in compensation it's a satisfyingly desirable take on full battery-powered small SUV motoring. The design is individual, the cabin feels special and it's reasonably well equipped. Plus the full-electric technology works unobtrusively and all-round refinement is exemplary.

Are there issues? Well the driving range being offered here is competitive, but some way from being at the forefront of the class - both a Renault ZOE and a BMW i3 from this era are small EV models that'll take you much further. If that's not really an issue, you want an SUV body style and you'd like something a little showier than this car's cousin, the Peugeot e-2008, then this E-TENSE model should figure on your wish list. This car, like its brand, is aspirational. If you are too and you're shopping in this segment while looking for something a bit different, you might well like it.

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