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Citroen DS3: Test Drive Review

Date: 01 February 2010   |   Author: Tristan Young

Category: Supermini
P11D price: £15,695
Key rival: Mini

The DS3 is the first of three new DS-badged cars Citroen will introduce in the next three years.

Citroen's DS badge conjures up a host of much-loved historic brand values, but unlike BMW with the new Mini and Fiat with the new 500, the French manufacturer is making a concerted effort to avoid doing 'retro'-styled cars for its DS model line. The result, in the case of the DS3, is a car that is a deliberately modern take on how a supermini should look, but which is still stylish as well as appearing both sporty and desirable. .

The DS3, available only as a three-door car, is based on the underpinnings of the Citroen C3, which is only sold in five-door form. However, externally at least, the two cars look completely different. There are differences internally, too - the upper dash is new for the DS3, as are the sporty seats - but here there's a lot of carry-over from the C3. Citroen is, however, encouraging buyers to individualise their cars with a multitude of interior and exterior styling and colour combinations, including different roof, wheel and door mirror options. While the company hasn't issued any statistics on the number of possible combinations, our simple calculations show there are thousands of variations possible. And that's before Citroen allows fleet customers to order business-branded colour combinations.

Powering the new, sporty Citroen are two 1.6-litre diesel engines - one of which comes in at 99g/km - and three petrol engines ranging from 95PS to 156PS.

At launch only the most powerful 1.6 turbo petrol was available to test, but at 155g/km for CO2 and 42.2mpg it still has business appeal.

It's the same engine that's in the Mini and a host of other Citroen and Peugeot products, and it's a great match for the car's sporty theme.

But the best part of the DS3 is the driving experience. The car is fun in the corners without being too uncomfortable, a problem it's chief competitor the Mini suffers from, and it is something that Citroen hasn't done well since the Saxo.

The French manufacturer also claims figures from the residual value guides that put the DS3 at the same level as the Mini - an amazing achievement.

In fact, there's little criticism that can be directed at the Citroen DS3. If the whole-life costs come in as class leading, then its score will jump from an impressive 8/10 to a great 9/10.

Citroen DS3 1.6 THP 150 DSport 3 doors manual
P11D price£15,695
Model price range£11,700-£15,900
Fuel consumption42.2mpg
CO2 (tax) 155g/km (19%)
BIK 20/40% per month£49/£99
Service interval20,000mls
Insurancegroup 22E [new banding]
Boot space (min/max)285/980 litres
Engine size/power1598cc/156PS
Top speed/0-62mph134mph/7.3secs
On sale February 2010
VerdictFun, stylish, desirable
supermini. Best Citroen
in years.


Fun, stylish, desirable supermini. Best Citroen in years.