Citroen DS3 DSport Review

This is a well equipped small car that matches (or almost matches) dearer rivals such as the Cooper S and the Audi A1 Sport. Air and cruise are standard. The comfortable seats look plush with their alcantara inserts. Other pleasing goodies are a readout for the oil level (because owners may not care to open the bonnet themselves, perhaps) and a cooled glovebox.

In keeping with Citroën brand values, the DS3 offers more comfort and space than you might expect in a car of this size. The boot is generous and especially so if you fold down the rear seat backs. But bwe spent lots of time looking for somewhere to store a drink bottle and the jacket had to be slung across the back seat because the hooks had gone missing.

Performance and Economy
It is becoming difficult to know who is in bed with whom in the car industry. The engine in this car is a 1.6-litre turbo petrol unit closely related to, but less powerful than, the one beneath the short bonnet of the MINI Cooper S.

The maximum power of 115 kW is ably supported by 240 Nm of torque on offer right through from just 1400 rpm to 4000 rpm. Torque is the key to the DS3 Sport’s urgency. Zero to 100 km/h takes just 7.3 seconds. The car is available only with a six-speed manual transmission, the upper three ratios of which are quite tall and this helps the car to outstandingly low fuel consumption figures. The tall sixth gear (at 100 km/h the rpm are about 2250) makes for quiet progress.

Choose the standard DS3 and you get a four-speed automatic transmission with no choice of a manual.

The DS3 DSport averaged about five litres per 100 kilometres of highway cruising.

Ride and handling
This is a fun car to drive and we didn’t want to return it after the week long test over all manner of roads, including lots of low quality dirt tracks.

Only the steering detracts slightly from what is otherwise an excellent driving experience. That elegant wheel does not deliver the sense of intimate connection with the tarmac expected of this type of sports machine.

Steering aside, the dynamics are near perfect with ultra-crisp turn-in and agile responses. The ride is firm but better than average for the class.

Rivals
Rivals include the MINI Cooper range, the now far from New Volkswagen Beetle, Alfa MiTo and even the Fiat 500. But for equipment and performance the DS3 DSport is more evenly matched with the MINI Cooper S and Audi A1 Sport, although slower than both.

But the Citroën DS3 DSport arguably has more design flair than any of the above. The sensual shape, boldly conceived details, careful evocation of the glory days of the Diesse and lovely cabin give it a bespoke feel generally reserved for more expensive cars.

Summary
Style is at the heart of this machine but it has the performance, comfort, safety and dynamics to add the requisite substance.

 

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