The New 2023 DS 3: Another Delightful, Quirky French Crossover Americans Can't Buy

French cars and fashion don't share the same spotlight as often as one would think. But when they do, it's always worth talking about. Even if the car in question is unobtanium in North America. It's the new DS 3, and no matter how much you crave one, you simply can't.
2023 DS 3 13 photos
Photo: Stellantis
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Even so, the all-new DS 3, the successor moniker to the DS 3 Crossback, showed up at the start of this year's Paris Fashion Week to represent its hometown city. The DS 3, in its internal combustion and battery-electric form, is manufactured for the European market at the Stellantis Poissy Plant in Paris' western suburbs. For the occasion, the DS 3 present among so many people in five or even six-figure outfits is strutting its best stuff.

For starters, a Diva Red paint color mimics the deep tones of a seasonal handbag or dark lipstick to match the shades that many attendees wore. This was a very strategic move on the part of DS, who's prided themselves on desirable-looking red paint color options on their vehicles since they launched their Wild Rubis concept at the Shanghai Motor Show in 2013, sporting a similar dark-red color tone. As if to mirror the polished mirror finish of an expertly-cut gemstone.

"We drew our inspiration from jewelry and gemology. The gem varies from the jewel through its great rarity and captivating beauty. So we studied the intensity of the color of rubies with the aim of developing the sensuality of red, a toffee apple, and spiced cherries." Said Lisa Grangeon-Coudert, Colours & Materials Designer for Stellantis/DS. "Our aim was to find a color that reveals character, depth, and saturation while adding a sparkling quality to induce emotion."

That might have sounded like a lot of fancy words to describe the color red for most people. But you have to admit, the end result is pretty spectacular. Somehow being bright and vibrant while also dark and bold in tone. We only wish the average GM/Chevy red paint looked that nice. Not that the DS 3 is some kind of cosmopolitan statement about being an unobtainable Euro-luxury car. With a starting price of €30,100 for a base model or just under $29,000 in American money, it can still be bought by common folks.

2023 DS 3
Photo: Stellantis
So to say, it fills the same market spot in the European market as a Chevy Equinox or a Ford Escape in the U.S. New for the 2023 DS 3 is a redesigned front fascia complete with new LED headlamps and DS's optional MATRIX LED VISION dynamic lighting system. They promise to adapt to the ambient lighting in different driving conditions more accurately than competing systems. These are flanked by new LED daytime running lights. It all fits into a redesigned grille that, while slightly wider than the outgoing model, is accented with either polished-chrome or gloss black trim pieces, depending on the model.

It must be said the looks of the final design are subjective, to say the least. From some angles, it doesn't look particularly pretty. But, in an American market flooded with amorphous blobs on wheels, which we call crossover SUVs from domestic crossovers, the DS 3 would at least stand out. If for no other than their 17 and 18-inch alloy wheel packages that accentuate the Diva Red paint beautifully.

If you don't want to drive a car in the same shade as lipstick, there are six other body colors to choose from. As for the interior, the seats in the DS 3 are trimmed in rich, supple Nappa leather. The same variety is beloved by high-end Ram trucks and Dodge/Chrysler passenger vehicles of the last decade. All trim levels will feature heated and cooled seats. In addition, the DS3 will sport a standard 10.3" touchscreen for the infotainment system that will incorporate the Visio 2 360° parking assistance.

Starting with the entry-level Bastille edition with standard cloth seats and moving to the Performance Line and Performance Line + levels. Who adds tasteful Alcantara interior trim accents to the mix. The range-topping Opéra edition gets its leather in the special Basalt Black color with watch-strap accents on the inner inserts. Not bad for a family crossover and far nicer than what most North American buyers are used to.

2023 DS 3
Photo: Stellantis
As for what's under the hood, the DS 3's ICE powertrain offers anywhere from 101 to 155 horsepower and between 151 and 177-lb-ft (205-260 Nm) of torque from a 1.2-liter three-cylinder engine depending on the choice of a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic transmission. Less than the North American Ford Escape Hybrid's 181 horsepower from a 1.5-liter three-pot, but a nonetheless appearing engine if fuel economy trumps raw power. But if you want to ditch MPGs forever, the DS 3 E-TENSE's electric motor's 156 horsepower and 177-lb ft of torque (260 Nm) should do you nicely.

Its estimated battery range of 402 kilometers (249.7 km) should suit most daily commuters just fine as well. That generally aligns with American EV crossovers like the Chevy Bolt EUV and Hyundai Kona Electric. At €41,700 starting price for the electric E-TENSE DS 3, or just over $40,000, it undercuts the mid-range Kona Electric Limited's $43,725 base price but is a fair bit pricier than a base Kona EV's $33,550 or the Bolt EUV Premiere's $32,695.

Would there be a place for the DS 3 in a North American Domestic Market? Well, the prevailing wisdom of the last 40 years is no, and furthermore, hell no. But with Dodge, RAM, Chrysler, and Jeep now sharing a corporate roof with Citroen, Peugeot, DS, Alfa Romeo, and Lancia, perhaps conventional wisdom will go by the wayside in the near future. If it does, expect DS to lead the charge, possibly with this very car. What's more likely to happen is its bare shell is re-fitted with an American body a-la the Dodge Hornet/Alfa Romeo Tonale, wrap in in an American flag and fill the trunk full of baseballs and apple pie.

But what do you think? If Americans and Canadians had the chance to buy the DS 3, or really any modern French car, would they? Or would you avoid it as if it were the same pile of junk it was in the early 80? Let us know in the comments down below.

2023 DS 3
Photo: Stellantis
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