DS plots to tackle mainstream brands with next-generation underpinnings and first EV; it’s due for reveal this year but new images have shown its styling early
The car, which will go against new rivals like the Volvo XC40 and Mercedes-Benz GLB, draws heavy inspiration from its larger DS 7 Crossback sibling, with styling cues both inside and out pointing to the larger model. The DS 7 Crossback’s intricate lights – a much-publicised feature of the car by DS – look to be dropped on the DS 3 Crossback, likely due to their expense on the comparatively inexpensive 3.
The will make its biggest assault on the mainstream new car market with the launch of the new small SUV, which is due to arrive on roads as an Audi Q2 rival in early 2019.
Slotting into one of the world’s fastest-growing segments, the compact SUV comes with promise of attracting new buyers to the brand. It could potentially overtake DS’s longstanding top seller, the 3 hatchback, despite costing more to buy.
DS’s Paris show car will be a fully electric model – used to emphasise the brand’s electrification plans – but when the 3 Crossback goes on sale, it will also offer pure combustion-engined versions. This will give it a wide variety of powertrain options, as per the PSA Group’s plan to broaden the reach of each car it makes.
Using PSA’s Compact Modular Platform (CMP) underpinnings, which can be adjusted to eCMP form for electrified powertrains, the 3 Crossback is due with a familiar range of turbocharged three and four-cylinder engines, including the 1.2 Puretech and 1.6 THP petrol units.
The smaller engine will come in the entry-level car, which is predicted to start from about £20,000. That would slightly undercut the Q2 (£21,665) and be almost £5000 more than the 3 hatchback.
Although diesel has suffered a heavy sales decrease in recent months, demand for the fuel type remains strong enough that it’s likely the 3 Crossback will be offered with the PSA Group’s 1.5 BlueHDi engine.
The aforementioned combustion engines will almost inevitably account for the bulk of 3 Crossback sales, but the launch of an electric model – DS’s first – will set the premium French brand on a path laid out by its parent company to become a builder of only electrified cars from 2025. The 3 Crossback EV will therefore be a pivotal model in the brand’s future growth plans.
DS plans to launch a new car every year between now and 2025, with each one arriving with an electrified variant. CMP-based cars will spawn EV variants, while larger models based on EMP2 underpinnings, such as the larger 7 Crossback SUV, will use hybrid drivelines.
Autocar understands that the 3 Crossback could eventually indirectly replace the 3 hatchback, which only comes in three-door form, but this wouldn’t happen until that model reaches the end of its lifecycle.
A spokesman told Autocar that “profitability is key” with regard to the future range, suggesting that the future DS line-up will lose models that are not based on its CMP (and ECMP) or EMP2 structures. This mirrors streamlining plans for the wider PSA Group.
DS first showed its new look with the new 7 Crossback. Sightings of 3 Crossback development cars show the smaller model will inherit much of that car’s design, including its slim lights and wide-mouthed front grille, and the patent images confirm this. The patent images first surfaced on Carscoops.
Peugeot has demonstrated the effectiveness of launching SUV models; its strong sales growth represented more than two-thirds of PSA’s 2017 sales. DS’s more expensive products mean it is unlikely to challenge for the top spot, but executives will be hoping the 3 Crossback can turn the company’s recent sales downturn on its head.
Demand for DS models declined by a significant 38.5% last year, largely due to a heavy decrease in sales in the Chinese market.