The new DS3 offers a stylish, alternative choice in the supermini sector, it’s competent in most areas and is reasonably economical in real-life driving.
DS is a relatively new brand but it doesn’t need the greatest detective in the world to figure out the links with Citroen. However DS aims to be more style-led and therefore upmarket than its Citroen counterparts.
The new DS3 offers a stylish design on the outside, and in the interior, which features lots of carbon fibre effect on the dashboard.
Under the bonnet our test car had a 3-cylinder, 1.2-litre turbo PureTech 130 petrol engine, mated to a 6-speed manual gearbox, and of course with front-wheel drive.
DS has taken a small car with a modern efficient engine and applied big car styling and an upmarket feel. It’s a competent all-rounder in the driving department – but with a few things to note…
Firstly, we could never quite get the perfect driving position. Secondly, there’s quite a lot of road noise on motorways – with this being very noticeable on some particularly poor surfaces. And thirdly, all the infomedia buttons are hidden away right at the very bottom of the central console on the dashboard, which is a long way to reach down. The steering wheel has very thick spokes, meaning you can’t wrap your hands around them. It would be ideal to use the thick spokes to house basic infomedia controls such as volume, but instead the spokes have no controls on them at all.
However the main feeling that you’re left with is that the DS is trying to be a grown-up supermini. This may be a good thing for some people. But the best superminis are those that feel light, agile, nippy and fun – in other words ideal for use primarily in urban areas. The DS instead feels somewhat on the heavy side in terms of driving dynamics (although in reality it only weighs 1205 kg).
The official combined fuel economy for the DS3 is 62.8mpg, which equates to 105g/km CO2. Over a week of mixed driving, with perhaps too much time on motorways for such a car, we averaged 48.6mpg in real-life. This is a reasonable result from a petrol engine in isolation, although you may expect better from a supermini. With its 50 litre/11 gallon fuel tank, the DS3 has a useful real-life driving range of over 500 miles.
The DS3 Prestige costs £18,795, however our test car was £21,275 with options (including the Trinitario Nappa Watchstrap Leather Pack at £1,300) – which is getting somewhat pricey for a 3 cylinder, 1.2-litre supermini.
The DS3 is available in Chic, Elegance and Prestige trims – and also Ultra Prestige, Performance and Performance Black (the ‘Exclusive Collection’).
There’s a range of petrol and diesel engines, including PureTech 82, PureTech 110, PureTech 130, THP 165, THP 210, BlueHDi 100, BlueHDi 120. Most models come with the same 6-speed manual gearbox as in our test car, but an EAT6 Auto is also available.
The new DS3 is a stylish supermini and it’s a competent all-rounder in most areas, including economy. However it’s easy to accuse the DS3 of just being superficial style on top of a Citroen base. Ideally, DS needs to move further away from this position, and create genuine differentiation and a unique selling point compared to rivals. To follow in the footsteps of the original DS, real innovation is required. After a week with the DS, although its 500 mile driving range, which was used up and down the nation’s motorways, is impressive, you’re just left with the feeling that maybe, just maybe, some creative take on an electric car is the way forward for such a supermini. This DS3 is getting towards the end of its life, and so a new model is on the cards in the not too distant future, in the meantime, the DS3 gains a Green Car Guide rating of 7 out of 10.