DS3: FUNKY MAR­VEL WITH GOOD LOOKS STEPS UP THE SUPERMINI BAT­TLE

The DS3 leads the charge for Ds au­to­mo­biles, Citroen’s new up­mar­ket car brand in the fight against the Mini Hatch and audi a1. How does it stack up?

Belfast Telegraph - NI Carfinder - - Front Page - SI­MON DAVIS

WHAT’S NEW?

The DS3 has been with us for some time now - since 2010, in fact - al­beit un­der Citroen brand­ing. Now, though, the DS moniker has been es­tab­lished as a new brand in its own right, and has its eyes firmly set on the more premi- um seg­ment of the supermini mar­ket. This means the DS3 is up against the likes of the Audi A1, as well as the daddy of the supermini mar­ket: the Mini Hatch.

To help it out in its fight, the DS3 comes equipped with good looks, plenty of kit as stan­dard, as well as a range of eco­nom­i­cal and en­ter­tain­ing en­gines.

LOOKS AND IM­AGE

The looks de­part­ment is the DS3’S forte. While the car hasn’t changed too much cos­met­i­cally since it first went on sale, it still looks fresh and rel­e­vant six years later. New DS badg­ing re­places the for­mer Citroen ones, and

a re­designed grille takes pride of place on the front of the car.

The DS3 is also highly cus­tomis­able, with more than three mil­lion com­bi­na­tions of colour, wheels, trim, and seat fab­rics. If you’re af­ter a car that you can truly put your per­sonal mark on, the DS3 is the one for you.

Mov­ing in­side, you will find large, com­fort­able leather seats that wouldn’t look out of place in a big­ger, more up­mar­ket car. The rest of the cabin also feels equally premium, with smart coloured pan­elling on the pas­sen­ger-side dash, pol­ished metal high­lights and trendy black plas­tic fit­tings. How­ever, the DS3 is slightly let down by the pres­ence of cheap-look­ing, rough plas­tic sur­faces on the lower doors.

SPACE AND PRAC­TI­CAL­ITY

Driv­ers and front pas­sen­gers will find they are more than com­fort­able in the DS3, thanks to those large seats. How­ever, the same can’t re­ally be said for the back of the car as legroom and head­room is re­stricted.

Prac­ti­cal­ity-wise, the DS3 of­fers buy­ers a fairly large boot for a car of its size. With the rear seats in place, there’s 285 litres of space - more than you get in the Mini Hatch and Audi A1.

While you can fold the seats down to open up 980 litres of room, they will not fold flat. There is also a rather large boot lip, which makes it more dif­fi­cult to load heav­ier or awk­wardly shaped ob­jects.

BE­HIND THE WHEEL

If you’re in the mood to throw a few cor­ners at the DS3, you’ll find it copes su­perbly. It at­tacks cor­ners with en­thu­si­asm, and thanks to its slightly stiff sus­pen­sion set-up, al­ways feels well planted. On the mo­tor­way, the DS3 makes for a com­fort­able cruiser as well - thanks mostly to its large, supportive seats.

While the 118bhp diesel DS3 we had on test wasn’t the quick­est car in the world, the engine dishes out more than enough grunt to get you off the line in a brisk fashion. Get up to mo­tor­way cruis­ing speeds and you’ll find it quiet and re­fined.

VALUE FOR MONEY

If you’re look­ing to put a DS3 on your drive, be pre­pared to say goodbye to a fair amount of cash, as this cer­tainly isn’t the cheap­est car you can buy. Our test car, which came in Pres­tige trim with a 118bhp diesel engine, would set you back £19,495. That said, you do get plenty of kit such as satel­lite nav­i­ga­tion, an up­graded stereo sys­tem and re­vers­ing cam­eras as stan­dard. The cool, up­mar­ket im­age that comes with this French supermini is never a bad thing, ei­ther.

When it comes to run­ning costs, the DS3 makes an even bet­ter case for it­self. All of the 1.2-litre Puretech petrol en­gines can man­age an av­er­age fuel con- sump­tion of more than 60mpg, while the Blue­hdi diesels re­turn 83.1mpg and 78.5mpg in 98bhp and 118bhp guises re­spec­tively. The DS3 won’t be an ex­pen­sive car to run, then.

WHO WOULD BUY ONE?

The DS3 is likely to ap­peal to any­one want­ing a small, trendy, eco­nom­i­cal and fun-to- drive supermini that has char­ac­ter and charm in spades. First-time car buy­ers with a bit of ex­tra cash to splash will find it an ap­peal­ing op­tion, as will those look­ing for a slightly left-field al­ter­na­tive to the in­cred­i­bly pop­u­lar Mini.

FACTS AT A GLANCE

Model: DS3 Pres­tige Blue­hdi 120 S& S Engine: 1.6-litre tur­bod­iesel pro­duc­ing 118bhp and 210lb/ft of torque Trans­mis­sion: Six-speed man­ual Per­for­mance: 0- 62mph in 9.3 sec­onds, 118mph top speed Econ­omy: 78.5mpg com­bined Emis­sions: 94g/km CO2

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