Make / Model Search

Car reviews - Citroen - DS3 - range

Our Opinion

We like
Distinctive styling, responsive engine, very comfortable ride, high safety kit, well priced
Room for improvement
Better for two adults, poor personal storage space, one (only) tiny cupholder, no automatic


Click to see larger images

16 Apr 2015

HOW gutsy is Citroen Automobiles Australia by refusing to compromise on its latest DS3, even when that may cost it half its potential sales?It has refused the automatic version of the DS3, saying the four-speed automatic unit offered was old and not in keeping with the spirit of the refreshed new hatch and cabrio.

Automatics made up 49 per cent of the sales of the previous DS3 – a big slice that Citroen in Australia won’t get until France finds a better self-shifter, likely the six-cog unit in the Picasso.

But that’s about the only complaint. And for those who love to drive, it’s actually not a complaint at all.

The latest Citroen DS3 is outwardly similar to the previous model, given it is simply a light facelift, and retains two body-styles, a hatchback from $33,990, plus on-roads, and a cabrio with a sliding fabric roof that retracts like an extended sunroof from $36,590. Now, however, it arrives in one trim specification called DSport with one drivetrain.

The compressed styling of the DS3 and its shark’s fin B-pillar design continue.

While promptly identified on the street, its appearance is not unlike that of the Fiat 500. No surprise that their birthplaces are within the crush of densely populated and compacted dimensions of major European cities.

There’s only one reference to Citroen on this car (on the boot lid) as the DS brand starts to pull away from its parent, striving to step up to a niche luxury position.

That reflects the equipment level and perceived quality of the little car and that’s no better seen than in the cabin where leather takes a backseat – literally – to the lacquered carbon-fibre dashboard fascia, the textured soft-feel dash top and the wide-open faces of the three-dial instrument binnacle.

At less than 4m long, it’s quite a small car yet for the front occupants, it doesn’t feel cramped. In fact the sunken glovebox offers plenty of legroom for the front passenger and, combined with the long door, makes it an easy car to enter without losing any elegance in the process.

The seats are very well bolstered to give excellent long-distance comfort and support through the corners – a sideways action that this car thoroughly embraces and one that the driver will enjoy exploiting.

There’s less joy for the rear passengers. While it will accommodate two adults with good legroom and sufficient headroom (it never felt tight for me at 1.77m), the heavy B-pillar, tiny fixed side glass and all-black décor could induce a sense of claustrophobia.

But human cargo aside, the rear seat is split and folds almost flat for a decent cargo area. With the rear seats in situ, there’s a reasonable 285 litres for the hardtop hatch.

The DS3 comes with a tweaked version of the PSA 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine once fitted also to the previous-gen Mini.

If it was a spirited engine before, it has now matured into a more relaxed powerplant with more mumbo delivered across a wider rev range. It makes the car, especially in manual, a much easier car to drive.

Through the winding and altitude-flexing greenhouse of Queensland’s Mt Glorious, the DS3 was as unfussed in its performance as it was with its crisp, flat-stance handling and unexpectedly supple suspension.

As an experiment, a 15km section of the narrow, snaking road and an open section beyond was done with the car left in third gear. From as low as 1000rpm to almost 4000rpm, the 240Nm of torque from 1400rpm made further gear changes unnecessary.

That flexibility translates to the city and denser traffic and could almost excuse a buyer from ignoring an automatic option. If there was one.

More impressive than the engine’s elastic character was the suspension.

References may point to the DS3 as being a competitor to the Mini – size, accommodation, price and status – but where the Mini has handling reminiscent of a refined go-kart for two adults, the DS3 is more supple, putting comfort slightly ahead of handling.

The Mini may bump and skip its way around some poorly-paved Mt Glorious corners but the DS3 would travel a bit slower but soak the ruts and barely concern its occupants.

Perhaps I had too much fun. Citroen Automobiles Australia claim the DS3 – both hatch and cabrio – will sip 5.6 litres per 100 kilometres. On test, on those Queensland roads, the tester delivered 8.2L/100km.

And there was some mild annoyances with some features of the DS3. Europeans clearly don’t believe that drinks are allowed on board. The one and only cupholder in the DS3 is an angled hole in the forward section of the small centre console better suited to a babychino than an adult cup.

It’s hard to find a place for your mobile phone and wallet, for example, and the lidded centre box nicely folds up and out of the way of the driver’s elbow but is also tiny.

Driver visibility isn’t great, interrupted by big A-pillars and B-pillars. The cabrio fares worse, with a small glass rear window and, when folded completely, removes any rear vision.

But it drives so well. It looks distinctive and is nippy through traffic, dead easy to park and ostensibly easy on fuel. It’s not outrageously expensive, either. With six years of warranty and capped-price servicing, it even makes financial sense.

Click to share

Click below to follow us on
Facebook  Twitter  Instagram

GoAuto can help you buy a new DS3

Customer Terms and Conditions – New Car Lead enquires


This is an agreement between GoAutoMedia Pty Limited ACN 094 732 457 of PO Box 18, Beach Road, Sandringham, VIC, 3191 (“we/us”), the owner and operator of the GoAuto.com.au website (“the website”) and the person wanting GoAuto.com.au to provide them with a lead for the purchase of a new car (“you”).

By completing a New Car Lead Enquiry, you agree to the terms and conditions and disclaimers and acknowledge the policies set out below.

Terms and Conditions

  • In order for us to effect a lead you must you must complete a New Car Lead Enquiry (“Enquiry”).
  • We will call you as soon as possible after you complete the Enquiry and certainly no later than the next business day. When we call, we will discuss with you your new car requirements.
  • You consent to our passing on the Enquiry and your requirements to an appropriate authorised motor car dealer as a lead.
  • We will contact you again in approximately eight days following your initial enquiry to check on the progress of the Enquiry.
  • While we will provide the dealer with the Enquiry and details of your new car requirements, we take no responsibility for what happens after passing on that material as a lead.
  • You acknowledge that we are a new car information service providing new car editorial information, pictures and prices to our customers as a guide only. Any new car prices published on the website are the manufacturers’ recommended retail prices and do not include delivery charges and on-road costs. Any authorized motor car dealer to which we pass on your Enquiry as a lead will provide you with full details of the price at which the vehicle will be sold to you.
  • You acknowledge that we do not sell motor vehicles. Any sale of a new car to you by a dealer after we have passed on your Enquiry to that dealer as a lead, is a sale by that dealer not by us.

Privacy Policy– New Car Lead Enquires

  • We take privacy very seriously. We understand that you will only complete an Enquiry if you can trust us to protect your personal information and use it appropriately. Our policy is to ensure that the personal information collected when you make an Enquiry is only used for the purposes of connecting you with an authorised motor car dealer.
  • We do not on-sell information collected from you or any other customer.
  • From time to time, we may email you with information or promotions that may be relevant for car buyers. You will continue to receive communications from us unless you tell us that you do not want to receive any advertising or promotional information in the future by unsubscribing from these communications.
* Denotes required field
** Australian inquiries only

Motor industry news

GoAutoNews is Australia’s number one automotive industry journal covering the latest news, future and new model releases, market trends, industry personnel movements, and international events.

Catch up on all of the latest industry news with this week's edition of GoAutoNews
Click here