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DS 3 Review

DS DS 3
DS DS 3
DS DS 3
DS DS 3
DS DS 3
DS DS 3
DS DS 3
DS DS 3
DS DS 3
DS DS 3
DS DS 3

1/10

DS DS 3

2/10

DS DS 3

3/10

DS DS 3

4/10

DS DS 3

5/10

DS DS 3

6/10

DS DS 3

7/10

DS DS 3

8/10

DS DS 3

9/10

DS DS 3

10/10

1 / 10

heycar review

      Launch year
      2010
      Body type
      Small hatch
      Fuel type
      Petrol, Diesel
heycar editorial team

Written by

heycar editorial team

00/10
heycar rating
Pretty and fun to drive

Best bits

  •  Good looking from all angles with the option of a convertible roof
  •  Low running costs from the smaller petrol engines
  •  Comfortable ride and roomy cabin

Not so great

  • Cabrio’s small boot opening compromises practicality
  • Diesel engines are gruff
  • Infotainment feels dated

Read by

DS3  Exterior

Overall verdict

DS3 Interior Side

On the inside

DS3 Driving

Driving

DS3 Back

How much does it cost to run

DS3 Driving

Prices, versions and specification

Overall verdict

"Few cars can claim to have kickstarted an entire brand, but that’s exactly what the DS 3 did. It began life as the Citroen DS 3, but then badge-shifted to become the standalone DS company as the Citroen logo was replaced in 2015."

DS3  Exterior

Regardless of which badge is on the bonnet, the DS 3 was a hit from the moment it was launched and carried on in the same vein throughout its production life. It helped the MINI, Fiat 500 and other funky small cars which had paved the way for buyers to expect a mass of personalisation options, which is where the DS 3 really caught buyers’ imaginations.


There was an almost bewildering array of ways in which you could make a DS 3 your own and distinct from any other on the road. Some of this led to a few garish examples, but the majority followed a similar route to the MINI with bright colours, contrasting roof paint and cabins with more luxurious appointments that you’d find in mainstream superminis.


All of this put the DS 3 firmly towards the premium end of the supermini scale and parent firm Citroen backed it up with build quality that was a step up from the C3 it was based on. There was also a range of engines that offered everything from frugal to feistily fast.


Three petrol engines were available from the launch in 2010, comprising an entry-point 95PS 1.4-litre, a 1.6 VTi with 120PS and a turbocharged 1.6 with 156PS. This latter motor was shared with the contemporary MINI Cooper, which tells you everything you need to know about where the DS 3 was positioned.


Two turbodiesels were also an option from the start. They came in 90- or 110PS 1.6-litre forms and were great if you needed something very easy on fuel, though the petrols were more in keeping with the DS 3’s focus on driving fun.


It delivered on enjoyment from behind the wheel in a way other DS models have missed. As well as the perky engines, the handling was nimble without inducing a ride that was too firm. Throw in steering with sporty feel and manual gearboxes that were light to use and the DS 3’s appeal was broad.


The engine line-up evolved with the arrival of the Racing’s 204PS turbo petrol 1.6-litre, though this was a limited edition version. An update of the range in 2014 saw the introduction of 82-, 110- and 130PS 1.2-litre Puretech petrol engines, while hot hatch fans were catered for with the 210PS Performance model. The 1.6-litre BlueHDi turbodiesels with 100- and 120PS complied with Euro 6 emissions standards.


DS introduced the Cabrio in 2013 and claimed it was the only five-seat convertible on the UK market. This was a bold statement as the roof was more of a full-length folding canvas top than a proper cabriolet. Still, it retained the decent rear seat space and practicality of the DS 3, though it did nothing to help the small boot that already limited the hatch.


None of this seems to bother DS 3 owners who rate the car for its looks, driving ability and cabin comforts.


Ready to get your top quality DS DS 3?

  • All cars come with a warranty
  • Selected dealers only
  • All quality checked

DS DS 3

1.2 PureTech 130 Prestige 5dr EAT8

  • 2019
  • 3,300 miles

Manufacturer Approved

  • Robins And Day DS Salon Chingford
  • Essex, E48SP
Price:£17,490
PCP: £250.76/mo

Representative example: Contract Length: 36 months, 35 Monthly Payments: £250.76, Customer Deposit: £2,623.00, Total Deposit: £2,623.50, Optional Final Payment: £10,395.00, Total Charge For Credit: £4,305.10, Total Amount Payable: £21,795.10, Representative APR: 11.9%, Interest Rate (Fixed): 11.9%, Excess Mileage Charge: 12.5ppm, Mileage Per Annum: 10,000

DS DS 3

1.2 PureTech 130 Performance Line 5dr EAT8

  • 2019
  • 8,914 miles

Manufacturer Approved

  • Robins And Day DS Salon Glasgow
  • Lanarkshire, G38JR
Price:£15,995
PCP: £236.09/mo

Representative example: Contract Length: 36 months, 35 Monthly Payments: £236.09, Customer Deposit: £2,399.00, Total Deposit: £2,399.25, Optional Final Payment: £9,225.00, Total Charge For Credit: £3,892.40, Total Amount Payable: £19,887.40, Representative APR: 11.9%, Interest Rate (Fixed): 11.9%, Excess Mileage Charge: 12.5ppm, Mileage Per Annum: 10,000

Is the DS 3 right for you?

Pitching any supermini against the might of the MINI brand is a brave move, but the DS 3 pulled it off. It has managed this with looks that are distinctive yet not retro and an interior with more space than most of its premium rivals, though there has never been a five-door DS 3 of this generation.


Inside and out, there was vast scope for new owners to personalise their DS 3 with a wide range of paint options and contrasting roof colours, including some with textured effects. The cabin could be kitted out to a very high standard, making it feel rather luxurious, and the DS 3 Cabrio added a bit of open-air je ne sais quoi.


There is also an engine option to suit almost everyone, from frugal to downright rapid with the petrols and some fuel-sipping turbodiesels. Most will come with the easy-going manual gearbox, while DS also offered EAT6 automated manual that behaved like a sluggish auto ’box. 


What’s the best DS 3 model/engine to choose?

There’s a DS 3 out there to suit almost every budget. However, we recommend seeking out one of the later models with the 130PS 1.2-Puretech petrol engine. It’s a great balance between offering enough get up and go to show off the sporty side of the DS without ravaging your bank balance when it comes to filling up with fuel and other running costs.


While DS offered this engine with its EAT6 automated manual gearbox, we’d stick with the standard six-speed manual that has a light, accurate shift and avoids the clunky action of the EAT ’box.


With these later DS 3’s, there were revised trim levels and our pick is the mid-level Elegance. It has 16-inch alloy wheels finished in black, LED rear lights, air conditioning, cruise control and a DAB radio with Bluetooth connection. It also comes with a 7-inch touchscreen, USB port and cloth upholstery.


What other cars are similar to the DS 3?

The prime rival to the DS 3 is the MINI, which offers many of the same qualities of deft handling, plenty of engine options and even a cabriolet version. MINI offered an even more bewildering array of personalisation options, though the hatch and drop-top are not as spacious in the back seats as the DS 3. Also in the premium sector is the Audi A1 and Alfa Romeo MiTo.


Others to consider are the Ford Fiesta that delivers big on driving pleasure, especially in ST form, while the Volkswagen Polo is classy and very capable. The SEAT Ibiza is another very competent supermini alongside the Renault Clio and Peugeot 208, which shares engines with the DS. 


Learn more

DS3 Interior Side

On the inside

DS3 Driving

Driving

DS3 Back

How much does it cost to run

DS3 Driving

Prices, versions and specification

Ask the heycar experts: common questions

Does Citroën still make the DS 3?

Technically, the DS 3 stopped being a Citroën in 2015, but now both brands have ceased production. Despite selling in big numbers, the DS 3 has been replaced, this time as an SUV.

Dan Powell

Answered by

Dan Powell

What are the different versions of the DS 3?

Apart from the standard hatch, buyers could also pick up the expensive limited edition DS 3 Racing, with brisk performance and bespoke suspension and styling, and the Convertible.

heycar editorial team

Answered by

heycar editorial team

What insurance group is the DS 3?

Despite often having less power than the equivalent MINI, the Citroën actually sits in higher insurance groups across the range, with most sitting between groups 19-24. Entry-level cars drop down as low as Group 10, the fastest Performance version falls into Group 37.

Andy Brady

Answered by

Andy Brady

Is the DS 3 a Citroën?

Imaginative styling, cool design touches and a sporty character make the DS 3 a fine Gallic alternative to the retro-inspired MINI, but a firm ride and cramped rear seats count against it.

Russell Campbell

Answered by

Russell Campbell