Citroën DS3 hatchback

Price  £13,295 - £20,995

Citroën DS3 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."

Although it started out in life as the Citroen DS 3, the car you see before you no longer carries a Citroen badge. Today, it's simply called DS 3, and is one of the first models to be sold under the DS brand. DS has been conceived as a stylish and more upmarket brand than Citroen, with the same sort of prestige usually reserved for cars more Alfa Romeo.

But buyers needn't worry too much. For now, DS models such as the DS 3 will be sold in Citroen dealerships – although in time, you may need to go to a separate dealer. In short, the changes shouldn't affect things too much.

As we've come to expect in this class, there's plenty of scope to personalise your DS 3 with options or by buying special editions. The original Citroen DS 3 has been a strong seller since it was launched in 2010 thanks to its striking design, high-quality cabin and engaging driving dynamics.

As well as competing on the fashion front, the DS 3 is also pleasingly efficient, with the 1.6-litre BlueHDi diesel model emitting only 94g/km of CO2 and managing 78.5mpg economy. Even the PureTech 82 petrol manages 62mpg, although the cutting-edge three-cylinder turbocharged engines in some rivals help them match this figure.

The DS 3 is available in five specifications: entry-level DSign, mid-range DStyle, higher-spec DSire and DSport and the range-topping Ultra Prestige. There are also various special editions that add unique trim and styling upgrades, as well as Plus packs that add certain accessories to each trim.

Even entry-level models are well equipped, with a leather steering wheel, cruise control, electric windows and mirrors, plus air-conditioning. DStyle and DSport cars come in Plus versions, which include upgrades such as Bluetooth phone connectivity, bigger alloy wheels, digital climate control, parking sensors and automatic headlamps and wipers.

There's also a DS 3 Cabriolet model which has a folding canvas roof, much like the smaller Fiat 500C city car.

The DS 3 is a fun car – both to look at and to drive. Its unusual design may not be to everyone's taste, but it certainly stands out in the upmarket supermini class, even now. An economical and punchy engine range helps keep it on the radar of many buyers and only improved build quality and practicality could seriously enhance the overall package.

If you can afford it, we'd recommend stretching to the well-equipped DSire trim level, as it allows you to choose the BlueHDi 120 diesel engine that combines plenty of power with very impressive fuel economy. You also get the six-speed manual gearbox with this engine – we think it's better than the five-speed that comes with the entry-level models.

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
"Decent build quality and classy detailing mark out the DS3's cabin. The dashboard is carried over from the firm's C3 supermini, which means you get eye-catching dials and a logical layout. Buyers can colour co-ordinate the dash, gearlever and key fob with the exterior paint finish. The newcomer steals a march on the MINI thanks to its five-seat layout – theBritish car can only accommodate four occupants. Opening the tailgate reveals a useful 285-litre load bay."
4 / 5
"The DS3 is the first in a range of very different Citroen models that put the emphasis on style and personality, along with strong performance and driver appeal. With its stylish look and compact size, it's easy to see why so many comparisons have been drawn with the popular MINI and Fiat 500."
3.5 / 5
"The engine combines strong low-rev performance – 110bhp at 3600rpm and 199lb ft at 2000rpm, enough for a sub-10.0sec 0-60mph time – with a claimed 62.8mpg (combined cycle) and 118g/km of CO2 emissions, which sees annual road tax costing just £20."
3 / 5
"The DS3 is Citroen's answer to the Mini and Fiat 500, and it gives you a lot of style for your money. The engines are strong, it has a classy cabin and every version comes well equipped."
What owners say 
4.4 /5 based on 118 reviews
 of people would recommend this car to a friend
Last updated 
6 Jan 2015
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