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?
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