The delightful DS3

The DS3 is a Citroen supermini and the first instalment in the manufacturer’s DS sub-range. We see a whole catalogue of Citroens taking the DS brand name that first appeared in the 1950s on one of the most iconic cars of the 20th century, and attempting to reimagine that model’s sense of progress and excitement for the modern era.

Thursday, 8th March 2012, 12:58 pm

It’s a big ask but if Citroen can replicate even a fraction of the furore that surrounded the original DS, it will be on to a winner.

Beneath the avant-garde exterior of the DS3 is the chassis from the C3 supermini.

The car has been set-up to achieve Citroen’s trademark ride comfort but also high levels of manoeuvrability with a 10.3m turning circle.

Providing the motive force are 90bhp and 110bhp 1.6-litre HDi diesels with the petrol side of the equation accounted for by VTi variable valve timing units with 95bhp and 120bhp.

At the top of the line-up is the impressive 150bhp THP turbocharged petrol engine.

The engines are mated with five or six-speed manual gearboxes as standard.

Wow, the DS3 is quite a sight.

The basic shape of the car is traditional supermini with gentle curves marking its extremities and the wheels pushed out to the corners producing a squat, purposeful stance.

The real drama, however, is in the detail.

From that ‘shark fin’ B-pillar and the contrasting roof panel to the vertical strips of LED running lights that flank the front grille and the distinct sill line connecting the wheelarches, the DS3 is ferociously unconventional.

It has the look of a concept car but Citroen has built it and you can buy it.

For a modern supermini, the DS3 is relatively compact.

It’s 3950mm long and 1710mm wide, which is similar to the Ford Fiesta, but Citroen has worked hard to maintain plenty of interior space.

The manufacturer claims there’s room for five adults with legroom in the rear enhanced by the slender backs of the driver and front passenger seats.

In the tail, the boot is 285-litres which is large for the supermini class and 60:40 split rear seats give options for extending that capacity.

The engines in the DS3 are familiar Citroen units and are known to be economical for their size and type.

The HDi diesels are the ones that drivers intent on saving fuel will gravitate towards and both feature DPFS particulate filters to further clean up their acts.

The lesser of the two emit around 99g/km of CO2 and return around 60mpg on the combined cycle.

The DS3 is also equipped with a gearshift indicator that prompts drivers to change gear at the opportune moment for greater efficiency.

By looking to its past and the unparalleled reputation it once had for forward thinking, Citroen makes inroads at the trendy end of the small car market.

The DS3 evokes the extraordinary Citroen DS with extrovert styling and a focus on futuristic design. Citroen has also managed to furnish the car with a variety of hi-tech features and is presenting customers with a range of options to personalise their vehicles.

This is a welcome return to Citroen doing what it does best.