Parkers overall rating: 3.7 out of 5 3.7
  • Plush cabin looks the part
  • Digital instrument cluster fitted as standard
  • Air-con controls only accessible through infotainment system 

The DS 3 Crossback E-Tense’s cabin is one of the most noteworthy parts of the car, thanks to its striking design and suite of available technology. Plush-feeling nappa leather, watchstrap pattern seats and alcantara are all available and help to create an environment that, while not to everyone’s tastes, certainly stands out among more mundane rivals.

Central to the cabin is the main touchscreen, coming in at 12-inches in diameter on all but the base Performance Line model, which measures up at 7.0 inches (the trim structure then proceeds with Prestige, Ultra Prestige and top-of the range La Première). The graphics and functionality are impressive, but the software could be more intuitive – especially when trying to carry out basic tasks such as adjusting the climate control temperature.

Contributing to the impression form has overtaken function, the diamond-shaped 'buttons' placed beneath the screen look smart, but aren’t very easy to use when driving. Not only are they touch-sensitive without feedback, there's a significant delay before the display responds.

All versions of the DS 3 Crossback come with a 10-inch digital instrument cluster that displays information such as speed, range and energy flow, as well as auxiliary information from the sat-nav, media and mobile phone connection. It’s a nice display and helps to lift the overall feel of the cabin, showing clear, detailed readouts, though it looks a little basic compared to Peugeot's interpretation of the same technology.

Other standard equipment on E-Tense models include keyless ignition, 17-inch alloy wheels, rear parking sensors, flush fitting door handles, climate control and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto. Further optional kit, such as automatic parking, wireless phone charging, a premium Focal Electra HiFi system and Matrix LED vision headlights can also be specced. Note that sat-nav is not standard, however Apple CarPlay/Android Auto includes sat-nav functionality when connected to a compatible smartphone.

Is it comfortable?

  • Cabin feels comfortable and well appointed
  • Impressive ride quality most of the time
  • Excellent refinement levels – even for an electric car

The DS 3 Crossback’s cabin is a comfortable place to spend time in with supportive, height adjustable front seats trimmed in various different materials. There’s enough space for taller drivers, plus the overall ergonomics are compatible with a wide range of driving positions, but there are fewer adjustments than you might be used to from a premium brand.

Despite generous bolsters, the seats aren't overly firm, striking a good balance between grippy, secure seating and relaxed comfort.

Out on the road, the E-Tense’s suspension feels as if it’s been tuned for comfort rather than sportiness. The result is a ride quality that’s assured and composed for 90% of the time, yet can struggle when presented with expansion joints in the road at high speed. At which point, the cabin doesn’t feel that well isolated from the forces exerted on the suspension.

Lower speeds show the DS 3 Crossback E-Tense in a more flattering light. The ride quality and handling on badly-maintained city streets is impressive, remaining composed and quiet over crumbling tarmac and shrugging off speed cushions without the harsh skips or jolts associated with smaller cars.

At motorway speeds the E-Tense feels less composed, with a slightly unsettled ride that, while still soft, isn't as relaxing as the floatiness at low speed would suggest. Combined with the impact on range, it's another argument that the DS 3 Crossback exists to be perfect in a land of 50mph limits, urban commutes and city-dwelling.

Visibility could be better, though, for occupants in any of the seats. The high window line and square-set front, combined with a relatively small windscreen, mean it can be tricky to see traffic lights if you're first in the queue, or place the car near kerbs. Meanwhile rear passengers get to enjoy yet more form-over-function, as the 'sharkfin' motif from the original DS 3 somewhat pointlessly obscures the view; isn't the vista from a high-riding car the reason you wanted an SUV in the first place?

2019 DS 3 Crossback E-Tense seats

Overall refinement is excellent, as you might expect for an electric car, however it’s the increased sound deadening – in the doors, side windows and windscreen – that appears to make a notable difference. This is because many electric cars suffer from excess wind and tyre noise with no engine to drown unwanted sounds out, however the E-Tense delivers a serene overall driving experience. Only when higher speeds are reached does the wind buffeting the mirrors become apparent.

Also impressive, is how those inside the car are isolated from the manufactured sound that electric cars emit to warn pedestrians of their presence; the DS 3 Crossback's voice is closer to mechanical whirr, rather than the song of a Renault Zoe.