DS 3 Crossback E-Tense: Eccentric, moi?

THE electric version of the weird DS 3 Crossback - dubbed the E-Tense - has been updated so it can go further on a full charge, writes William Scholes.

DS was spun out of Citroen a few years ago and given the mission of striving out into the posh, luxury territory occupied by many established German brands. Some of the cars are pretty good, but the DS 3 is not one of them. It is one of the most unlikeable cars I've driven in recent years, not least because its headlamps are rather feeble.

It also looks mad, and not in an endearing way.

Under the divisive skin and interior, are the same fine battery and motor set-up found in the likes of the Vauxhall Corsa and Peugeot 208.

The update is said to extend the range by 7 per cent, meaning you can in theory go from a little under 200 miles to 212 miles on a full charge.

A standard-fit heat pump is responsible for some of the gain and the single gear ratio has been tweaked to further improve efficiency. DS claim that its participation in the Formula E electric racing series has informed the updates, though it is difficult to think of many cars less racy than a DS 3.

Elsewhere, there are new 17-inch 'A-rated' eco-friendly tyres developed with Continental, which are said to use a new high-silica compound that reduces rolling resistance and noise emissions.

The E-Tense can be charged at up to 100kW, though that's obviously not exactly a selling point in Northern Ireland, where we have a more leisurely approach to public charging speeds.

Should you be able to charge at such a high speed, DS says you could re-juice your E-Tense's 50kWh battery from 0-80 per cent in around 30 minutes.

That battery powers a single electric motor that returns 134bhp and 192lb ft of torque, giving a 0-62mph time of 8.7 seconds. Electric cars are usually notably brisk from a standstill to 30mph or 40mph, and DS also quote a 0-30mph time of 3.3 seconds.

Prices start at £31,500 after the plug-in car grant for a 'Bastille' model, rising to £38,600 for the high-spec 'Rivoli'. (And as I've suggested, the trim names aren't even the maddest thing about the DS 3 Crossback...).

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