At $36,000 the DS3 DSport is not a cheap runaround. Nor are its rivals.
What this new class – including the Mini and Alfa – has done is bring Euro class, gadgets and luxury to the compact arena.
For those downsizing these are pintsized versions of bigger European cars; all that’s missing is the extra bulk.
Citroen have long known how to make a front-wheel-drive car work, back to the Traction Avant of 1934. So here there are few technological wonders to add, aside from today’s ubiquitous electronic braking and traction aids.
There’s a nifty Gear Efficiency Indicator to tell a driver the best time to change up through the six-speed manual.
For a small (3.95m) machine, the DS3 packs in a decent amount of space in this stylish three-door body.
OK, so the back seat’s for smaller people but up front – in a most stylish and useful cabin – there’s more elbow and head room than in its rivals.
The exterior is a piece of Gallic art with its ‘‘floating roof’’ and ‘‘shark fin’’ B pillar, a style hard to miss.
There’s little missing on the safety front – six airbags and a five-star Euro NCAP rating.
The DSport is a well-balanced machine, pretty surefooted and quite entertaining.
Best of the deal is the steering, with just the right amount of feel, plus quick and accurate responses. (Sure there’s some benign understeer but that comes with the front-wheel territory.)
This DSport runs the willing and turbocharged 1.6 litre with the sixspeed manual but initially gearing feels a little too tall in lower gears– it’s best to put the boot in.
While 240Nm of torque is said to start from 1400rpm, it’s more like 2500rpm before it all starts to sing and head toward its 115kW maximum at 6000rpm with a pleasant rush.
The Citroen DS3 DSport is a fresh and welcome addition to this new mob of Euro compacts, small but useful and very chic.