Independent, Expert EV Reviews & Advice Since 2006

DS 3 E-TENSE 2023 Review

The all-electric DS 3 E-TENSE compact SUV has been updated, with a new, longer 250-mile range being the main headline; the comfortable ride quality remains.

  • DS 3 E-TENSE
  • DS 3 E-TENSE
  • DS 3 E-TENSE
  • DS 3 E-TENSE
  • DS 3 E-TENSE
  • DS 3 E-TENSE
  • DS 3 E-TENSE
  • DS 3 E-TENSE
  • DS 3 E-TENSE
  • DS 3 E-TENSE
  • DS 3 E-TENSE
  • DS 3 E-TENSE
  • DS3_Crossback_E-Tense_Fastned_Chargecurve
Green Car Guide Rating: 9/10

Key stats

  • Model/Engine size:   DS 3 Opera E-TENSE
  • Fuel:   Electric
  • Electric driving range (WLTP): 250 miles
  • Maximum rapid charging rate:   100 kW

Summary

  • The DS 3 E-TENSE has been updated, now with a 250-mile range
  • Comfortable ride quality
  • Practical, compact SUV body style
  • Premium feel

Background

The DS 3 E-TENSE has been updated and has gained a longer range of 250 miles thanks to a new, larger battery: 54 kWh (50.8 kWh usable capacity), compared to the 50 kWh battery of the previous model. The range is now 52 miles more than the original DS 3 CROSSBACK E-TENSE (the ‘CROSSBACK’ name has now been dropped). So does the extra range mean that the DS 3 E-TENSE should now be near the top of your compact electric SUV shortlist?

DS 3 E-TENSEDS 3 E-TENSE

Design & Engineering

As well as the larger battery, the DS 3 E-TENSE also has a new electric motor, with 115 kW (156 hp) of power and 260 Nm of torque. Although the DS 3 is an SUV, it’s front-wheel drive rather than all-wheel drive.

Aerodynamics have also been improved, thanks to slightly revised styling details at the front of the car, flush-fitting door handles, and new 18-inch wheels fitted with ‘tall and narrow’ Class A+ tyres, along with a 10mm reduction in ground clearance.

The DS 3 is a five-seater with a 350-litre boot; rear legroom isn’t huge , but it usually isn’t in this class of car. The diamond design theme in the interior remains.

DS 3 E-TENSEDS 3 E-TENSE

DS 3 E-TENSE 2023 Driving Experience

The DS 3 E-TENSE had an important mission during the week that it was on test with us: it was our transport for a feature about the Lake District EV Trail [link]. This is a 74-mile route around the Lake District taking in some of the region’s most amazing places. The route is also an excellent test for a car, as it includes motorways, dual carriageways, winding country roads, steep hills, and narrow roads through towns and villages.

The ideal vehicle shouldn’t be too big, due to the narrow roads, but it needs to offer practical space on the inside. The DS 3 ticks the first box.

The next two criteria are ground clearance and ride quality, as many Lake District roads are quite undulating and bumpy, and many parking places are off-road. The DS 3 also meets these requirements. The DS 3 shares its platform with the Peugeot e-2008, but a key difference in the driving experience is that (apart from having a larger steering wheel than the e-2008) the DS 3 has softer suspension, meaning more comfortable ride quality. And being an SUV, it has decent ground clearance.

The next test of a car in the Lake District is its ability to drive up hills. Most petrol and diesel cars are very revvy and noisy and appear to struggle when attempting to tackle the region’s numerous steep inclines, and manual cars are prone to damaging their clutches. None of that is an issue with the DS 3. The all-electric DS 3 E-TENSE has instant torque at all times, so driving up hills is effortless. You’ve got drive mode choices of Eco, Normal and Sport, giving you options for efficiency on motorways, normal driving around town, and the quickest possible responses for hills. You’ve also got the option to increase the level of brake regeneration using the ‘B’ setting on the gear selector, which gives you more control when, for example, driving through downhill corners. And thanks to the single-speed transmission, no gear changing or wearing out of the clutch is required.

And of course being all-electric, the DS 3 E-TENSE has no tailpipe emissions and so helps to keep the Lake District air clean.

The interior of the DS 3 features a new 10.3-inch high definition central screen. Under the touchscreen are diamond-shaped ‘haptic’ shortcut buttons (ie. they don’t click when you touch them) for functions including phone, nav, media, car and temperature. The system generally works well but if the screen is displaying a map through Apple CarPlay, you lose the ability to easily control items such as the cabin temperature and the radio.

There’s a head-up display, however this is a piece of plastic on top of the dashboard, which is more distracting than projecting information directly onto the windscreen.

There are also diamond-style window switches, not on the inside of the doors, but instead on either side of the gear selector on the centre console.

The door mirror controls are located under the dash to the right of the steering wheel, where they are very hidden away and hard to see and use.

The only main issue we had with the DS 3 was that it can be slow to start and engage gear, which isn’t particularly helpful if you’ve parked the car on a single-track road for a photo and another car suddenly appears.

DS 3 E-TENSEDS 3 E-TENSE

DS 3 E-TENSE 2023 Electric Range and Charging

The DS 3 E-TENSE has an official combined WLTP electric driving range of up to 250 miles. The DS 3 regularly displayed a range of 248 miles, however this didn’t translate to reality, especially at motorway speeds, when the real-world range was closer to 210 miles.

The DS 3 E-TENSE has a heat pump and liquid circulation to help improve the range, enhance the rate of rapid charging, and help to minimise battery deterioration over time.

The DS 3 E-TENSE has a maximum rapid charging rate of 100 kW, allowing a 10% to 80% rapid charge in 30 minutes.

Electric cars do not charge at their maximum charge rate for an entire charging session – their charge rate typically starts off high with a battery with a low state of charge, then the charge rate decreases as the battery charge increases. See the charge curve for the DS 3 E-TENSE from Fastned:

DS3_Crossback_E-Tense_Fastned_Chargecurve

How to charge an electric car

DS 3 E-TENSEDS 3 E-TENSE

Price And Model Range

The DS 3 Opera E-TENSE is available from £42,700. Trim levels for the DS 3 E-TENSE are Performance Line, Performance Line+, Rivoli and Opera.

DS 3 E-TENSEDS 3 E-TENSE

Conclusion

The Lake District EV Trail was a good test for the DS 3 E-TENSE, and the car proved to be an ideal vehicle for such roads, even with front-wheel drive rather than all-wheel drive (although the DS 3 was on test in summer). One of the car’s main attributes is a comfortable ride, although the compact size and decent ground clearance was also a bonus. The all-electric drivetrain provided instant responses and was effortless when negotiating the region’s many hills. The longer driving range of 250 miles definitely makes the new DS 3 easier to live with and a more practical proposition. The DS 3 E-TENSE is awarded a Green Car Guide rating of 9 out of 10.

Car facts and figures DS 3 E-TENSE 2023 Review

  • Test electric driving range: 210 miles
  • Consumption (WLTP): TBC
  • CO2 emissions (WLTP): 0 g/km
  • Vehicle tax rate (VED):   £0
  • Benefit in Kind (BIK) company car tax liability (2022/23): 2%
  • Price:   £42,700
  • Insurance group:   27-30
  • Power:   154 hp
  • Torque:   260 Nm
  • Max speed:   93 mph
  • 0-62 mph:   9.0 seconds
  • Weight:   1,625 kg
  • Towing capacity: 0 kg
Paul Clarke

Review by:
Paul Clarke, GreenCarGuide Editor