The iconic DS put divinity on wheels in the fifties, and quite understandably, Citroën used the prestigious two letters to define its actual premium range. The brand has indeed impressed us with some formidable cars already, bold in styling and refined in technology and above all ride, handling and performance.
The DS3 continues this tradition, and we tested for you here the cabrio version, with the frugal, smooth and powerful PureTech 3 cylinder making it a lively performer. More importantly, it came with the latest double clutch 6-speed auto box, which makes this DS an ideally smooth companion. Just read further…
Hans Knol ten Bensel
A new face…
The latest DS3 has a new front end treatment, which gives the car a more premium character and style, moving the DS3 away from the Citroën ancestry.
The facelift suits the car very well, with the styling of the rest of the car remaining virtually unchanged, and rightly so. We like the well rounded contours of the DS3, the styling treatment of the b-pillar is quite original and gives the car a contemporary, elegant look.
The same can be said of the choice of body colors and the selection of the materials and patterns, especially the canvas of the foldable roof, which shows the experience of the brand in selecting just that element which makes a car elegant and full of character.
The self assured good taste can also be found in the interior, where everything blends quite well together, right down to the chosen stitching and surface treatment of the leather covered seats.
The instrumentation is also an outstanding example of good design, with the large speedometer just right in front of you, flanked by a rev counter on the left, also very much kept in your line of vision.
The steering wheel is also well shaped, fits your hands like a glove, and its beautifully finished in matte aluminum and black perforated, nicely stitched leather.
Last but not least there is the excellent seating position, with the sporting, well padded seats keeping you firmly into place.
The 3 cylinder engine is quite impressive. It is very docile, and picks up without the slightest hesitation from low revs onwards, making it also a pleasure to drive at low speeds. Push the throttle a bit deeper and it treats you to a very pleasant throb, sporting to say the least, but never obtrusive. The sound under power is most endearing, but the nice thing about this unit is that it is also virtually completely inaudible at low revs.
Also at the legal cruising speeds between 120 and 135 km/h, the engine remains totally silent and even not the slightest vibration enters the cabin. Needless to say this transforms the DS3 in a premium class Gran Turismo and it is a delight to take this compact DS3 on long European trips.
This engine merits a good gearbox, and it now has one. The dual clutch gearbox is truly delightful, and is utterly smooth, whilst also being alert and agile, choosing just that right gear in every possible driving situation. During our test, we just put the ergonomic gear lever in “D” and left it there. It engages smooth and gradually from standstill, making it a delight to use in heavy urban traffic. When you are more in a hurry, just floor this throttle and the DS3 manages to put just the right the power to the front wheels, prevent them from slipping, and catapults you smoothly forward, the engine revving up in beautiful staccato and choosing the gears smoothly and with lightning speed.
The box changes up cleverly under small throttle openings, but flicks in split seconds in the correct lower gear when you put your right foot down. A deep throb the exhaust is a delight to your ears, swelling to a thoroughbred allegro while you are enjoying the power. Acceleration from 0 to 100 is done in a very creditable 10,2 seconds, with top speed being 188 km/h.
As you can expect, the DS3 is very lively in the intermediate speed ranges, the good torque of the 3 cylinder PureTech unit sees to that. It delivers 205 Nm at 1500 rpm, maximum power being 110 HP or 81 Kw at 5500 rpm. State of the art combustion chamber shape and technology make it a very efficient unit. We chalked up an average consumption of 6,1 liters over the total 810 km test distance, which is quite creditable given that we drove the DS3 with esprit…
The manufacturer quotes for the EC cycle an average consumption of 4,9 liters.
Open air pleasure
The open roof of the DS3 is an undisturbed pleasure. It opens, while driving even, to any position you want, and fully down you enjoy state of the art cabrio driving. Just soo nice.
During our test we enjoyed beautiful warm September weather, and you can understand that we used it every time we turned the starting key. The advantage of the roof layout is that the boot area remains undisturbed, and the four seat DS3 still offers quite adequate luggage space of 245 liters. When you put the rear seats fully down, the DS3 will accommodate up to 980 liters, and of course you can load even more with the roof down…
Infotainment with panache
One word of praise is also fitting for the infotainment and navigation. Indeed, this DS3 is spoiling you with state of the art electronics, intuitive and easy to use.
We were much pleased with the excellent audio system, sporting a DAB radio, which is just so nice when you want to keep listening in superb quality to your favorite classical radio station in up built, urban areas. Of course, your smartphone blends in nicely with the system.
The navigation system was intuitive to use and proved quite fast, clear and accurate, in tune with the overall cleverness of the DS3.
The DS3 seduced us in many ways, as goddesses do. We liked the styling and shape, the very practical open roof, the mechanical refinement, the performance, the efficiency, the premium character of the car and its formidable urban and Gran Turismo capabilities.
You can choose within a dazzling array of colors, finishes and equipment levels, from chic to sport chic and even irresistible, so yes, you will find this DS3 indeed very hard to resist…
Hans Knol ten Bensel