- Good looking
- Exceptional interior
- Fun to drive
- Only available as 3-door
- Poor ride refinement
- More expensive than some rivals
Premium hatchback is stylish and good to drive
The Citroen DS3 is the smallest in the French manufacturer’s luxury DS brand. First introduced in 2010, the DS3 has been a huge success for Citroen, with the DS3 picking up awards throughout its production period. Competing in a market that includes the Audi A1, the Mini, and the Fiat 500, the DS3 offers buyers a stylish, practical, and fun to drive package. Since late 2015, the DS3 dropped the Citroen badge altogether, setting it apart from the more conservative offerings in the normal Citroen range.
Premium feel interior, spacious boot, and good standard kit
The interior of the DS3 has some tough competition, with the Mini, and the Fiat 500 offering contemporary, unique designs. The DS3 manages to keep up with, and arguably better both of these, as its design is just as impressive, whilst it offers more practical, useable storage space.
The dashboard design of the DS3 is hugely impressive. There are few cars that look quite so contemporary as the DS3, with an imaginative design and impressive materials used throughout. It exudes quality, and improves massively from anything on offer in the normal Citroen range. Controls are however borrowed from the normal Citroen range, so it doesn’t quite have the uniqueness of a Mini, but the cabin as a package is still exemplary.
Space in the DS3 is far better than both the Mini and the Fiat 500. It’s not quite as impressive as other superminis, but in the premium sector it excels. There’s 285 litres of boot capacity on offer, which is enough for most small family needs. It’s more practical than its rivals, with the Fiat 500 (185 litres), the Audi A1 (270 litres), and the Mini (211 litres), all being far less useable cars to use day-to-day.
Equipment levels in the DS3 are, as you’d expect from a premium offering, quite impressive. Even the entry-level DSign models come with cruise control, central locking, electric windows, and LED daytime running lights, so you’re never going to feel disappointed with the kit on offer in a DS3.
Overall, the inside of the DS3 is a hugely impressive affair. There’s a quality that runs throughout the cabin, which gives it a prestige feel, and the design is unique and attractive. It also features one of the most spacious boots in its class, and there’s plenty of kit even on entry-level models.
Fun to drive, but not the most refined
The DS3 is a car that looks sporty on the outside, and matches it in its driving experience. It really is a fun car to drive. Steering is sharp and precise, and there’s plenty of grip, which makes country road drives an absolute blast. It’s a car that instills confidence in the driver, so you can have lots of fun, without ever feeling unsafe. It’s not quite as complete as a Mini Cooper, but the DS3 will always put a smile on your face.
Suspension and Chassis
Ride refinement in the DS3 is however compromised. Because the suspension and chassis is geared towards performance, its stiffness can sometimes make the car jumpy, especially over particularly rough surfaces. It also struggles with potholes, especially if you for a DS3 with bigger alloy wheels. Wind and road noise are however quite reasonable, which makes the DS3 an impressive motorway cruiser.
Gearbox options in the DS3 come in three guises. Entry-level, low-powered DS3s come with a 5-speed manual, whilst more powerful models come with a six-speed box. The six-speed suits the DS3 better, as it features a sharper shift, and offers more flexibility, especially for those who do a lot of motorway miles. There’s also an optional auto transmission, though it sometimes struggles to keep up.
Good range of punchy, efficient engines
When it comes to deciding how you want to power your DS3, you’ve got the usual two options: petrol, or diesel. There’s a good range of power outputs in the range, to suit most people’s needs, though it’s disappointing to not see a true hot hatch version.
If you want the performance to match the DS3’s sporty exterior, the best engine to go for in the DS3 range is the petrol-powered 1.6 litre THP DSport. This turbocharged, four-cylinder unit produces 165bhp, and will get you from 0-62mph in just 7.5 seconds. It’s not as fast as the most powerful hot hatches, but it’s still more than quick enough to put a smile on your face.
Eco-friendly buyers will be drawn towards the fantastic diesel-powered 1.6 BlueHDi 1955, which produces an amazingly low 87g/km of CO2 emissions. That’s not only enough to give you free road tax, it will also leave you with the peace of mind that you’re helping to save the planet. This model is also the best option for money-savers. With up to 83.1mpg on offer, you’ll save yourself lots of money at the fuel pumps each month.
Whichever engine you choose to go for in your DS3, you’re going to get an efficient, green engine, with enough power to cope with day-to-day activities. The BlueHDi offers the best balance of the three, so it’s inevitable that this model will prove to be amongst the most popular.
Full marks in NCAP safety tests, with good standard safety kit
Like nearly every car in its class, the DS3 easily achieved the highest possible 5-star NCAP safety rating. It’s worth noting that back in 2009, when the DS3 was tested, safety tests weren’t as comprehensive as they are today, but the DS3 is still a safe car. With scores of 87% in adult safety, 71% in child safety, and 83% in safety assist, you certainly don’t need to be worried. There’s also plenty of safety kit as standard. Even on entry-level models you’ll get the usual array of airbags, and electronic stability control.
Good value for money, so long as you avoid the cost of new-car depreciation
The DS3 represents excellent value for money for drivers. This obviously varies from model to model, but generally speaking CO2 emissions are low throughout the range, relative to the class, and fuel efficiency rates are impressively high. Diesel-powered DS3s offer the best value for money in the range on a day-to-day basis, so they’re worth considering if you want to save yourself lots of money.
Insurance costs in the DS3 are also pretty reasonable. This again depends on which model and trim you go for, but you won’t be paying any more than you would for an equivalent car from a rival manufacturer. The cheapest DS3 to insure is the entry-level 1.2 PureTech DSign, which is in group 10, whilst the most expensive is the range-topping 1.6 THP Prestige, which is in group 27.
Depreciation is a factor with the DS3, but only if you choose to buy from new. With first year depreciation as high as 40%, you’re better off opting for an inspected used equivalent.
The DS3 is a pretty impressive package. It’s one of the most stylish and unique cars in its class, and few cars exude the quality in their interiors like the DS3 does. With a range of efficient, green engines, and a fun driving experience to match, the DS3 should be right at the top of your shopping list if you’re looking for a luxury hatchback.
Buying a used Citroen DS3 online with Carspring
If you’re after a used Citroen DS3 for sale, it can all feel like a bit of an ordeal. What, with long days spent around gigantic car supermarkets, or time spent trawling through classified websites, looking for that ideal used DS3. Carspring makes it simple. Buy your next used Citroen DS3 online with the touch of a button. Simply decide on the model you want and choose how you want to pay.
Looking to finance your used Citroen? Not a problem, we work with our carefully selected finance partners to ensure that, if you’re paying monthly for your used Citroen DS3, you know you’re getting the best rates. What’s more, with any Carspring used DS3, you also get our 14-day money-back guarantee and 6 months’ free Carspring Warranty. Plus, you don’t have to leave your home. We’ll deliver your used Citroen to you at a time and place of your choice.
*This is an approximate figure based on the range of the car’s list price and the AA’s average 1st-year depreciation cost of 40%.