DS 3 hatchback

Price  £13,295 - £20,995

DS 3 hatchback

reviewed by Carbuyer

  • Sporty looks
  • Good to drive
  • Quite cheap to run
  • More desirable rivals out there
  • Only available as three-door
  • Quite expensive to buy

At a glance

The greenest
DStyle Nav BlueHDi 100 S&S 3dr £17,595
The cheapest
DSign PureTech 82 3dr £13,295
The fastest
Ultra Prestige THP 165 S&S 6-speed 3dr £20,795
Top of the range
Ultra Prestige BlueHDi 120 S&S 6-speed 3dr £20,995

"The DS 3 is an upmarket small car that's quirky, fun and spacious, but it can't trump the latest MINI."

The DS 3 is a stylish, compact three-door hatchback (also available in cabriolet form) that rivals the MINI, Fiat 500 and Alfa Romeo MiTo. Although it's badged as DS, it's actually a member of the Citroen family – ‘DS’ referring to a stylish and futuristic saloon the company made in the sixties. So, when considering a DS, Citroen would like you to put all thoughts of the Ford Fiesta and Vauxhall Corsa out of your mind.

Depending on which trim level you go for, you can choose from three efficient petrol engines (the mid-range one comes in manual or automatic form) and two diesels. Our pick of the petrols is the PureTech 110 manual. It can do 62.8mpg and costs just £20 a year to tax (the less powerful PureTech 82 has the same figures) but takes the car from 0-62mph in a reasonably brisk 9.6 seconds.

The diesels are more frugal still, with the BlueHDi managing 83.1mpg. Both cost nothing to tax. Of all the engines, our favourite is the BueHDi 120. What's more, it has a six-speed gearbox, where the two less powerful petrols are five-speed (the exception is the sporty THP 165 petrol engine, which also has six speeds).

The DS 3 is fun to drive, as it's sporty and agile. The steering could be better weighted and have more feedback (MINI's is better) but even so, it's impressive and the ride is comfortable.

This car is also as good-looking inside as it is outside. Fit and finish is top-notch and most of the materials look and feel a cut above those in Citroens. Unlike rivals such as the MINI and Audi A1, there's no five-door DS3, so rear-seat passengers are always going to have to clamber past the front seats.

The front is roomy enough, but the rear suffers from the DS 3's sloping roofline. What's more, rear quarter visibility is compromised by thick window pillars. On the plus side, there's a large boot that's only slightly spoiled by a high rear bumper.

There are five core trim levels, running from basic DSign to top-spec Ultra Prestige. Our pick of the line-up is the second one up, called DStyle. It offers a wide choice of engines and transmissions and comes with 17-inch alloy wheels, air-conditioning, sat nav and dark-tinted windows. That said, even the DSign has a leather-trimmed steering wheel, cruise control and electric mirrors.

Euro NCAP awarded the DS its top five-star crash safety rating and standard equipment includes anti-lock brakes and electronic stability control. DS is a relatively new brand, so we can only infer its reliability from current Citroens. The picture here is patchy, but since the DS 3 shares many parts with the tried-and-tested Citroen C3, we think it should hold up well.

MPG, running costs & CO2

3.4 / 5

The DS 3 is available with some very economical engines

Engines, drive & performance

4.1 / 5

The DS 3 is a fun car to drive but the MINI is better

Interior & comfort

3.6 / 5

The DS 3 is stylish and attractive on the inside, but refinement could be better

Practicality & boot space

3.5 / 5

The DS 3 has a larger boot than rivals, but cabin storage space is limited

Reliability & safety

3 / 5

The DS 3 is the top-rated model from DS or Citroen in the latest Driver Power survey

What the others say

3.6 / 5
based on 4 reviews
4 / 5
"The DS 3 (previously called the Citroen DS3) offers a fun drive, efficient engines and an array of personalisation options."
3.5 / 5
"Entertaining drive, fine styling, interesting interior and plenty personalisation makes for a fun Mini rival."
3 / 5
"The engines are strong, it has a classy cabin and every version comes well equipped."
4 / 5
"The DS3 is a little cramped in the back, although adults can squeeze in for shorter journeys and the boot should be big enough for most of your shopping needs."
What owners say 
4.4 /5 based on 120 reviews
 of people would recommend this car to a friend
Last updated 
28 Oct 2015
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