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New models - Citroen - DS3 - Cabrio

Driven: Citroen adds flair with DS3 Cabrio

Tops off: The canvas roof of the Citroen DS3 Cabrio can be lowered at speeds of up to 120km/h in just 16 seconds.

Citroen targets Mini Cabrio with DS3 drop-top from $30,990 plus on-roads

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Citroen logo13 Aug 2013

CITROEN’S DS3 Cabrio range has arrived in Australian showrooms carrying a $3250 premium over the equivalent hardtop hatch.

The two-model range kicks off from $30,990 plus on-road costs for the entry-level DStyle model and tops out with the range-topping DSport from $32,990.

This price point puts the stylish little Citroen ahead of drop-top rivals such as the Mini Cooper Cabrio priced from $40,350 and fellow French car-maker Peugeot’s aging 207CC ($33,490).

But unlike the full-convertible models, the DS3 is closer in design to the cheaper Fiat 500 Cabrio (from just $17,900), which replaces only the centre section of the roof and rear windscreen with a retractable fabric covering.

However the longer standard equipment list, larger dimensions and bigger engines of the funky Frenchy make it difficult to compare too closely with the Fiat.

The retractable-roof DS3 arrives three years after the demise of the slow-selling C3 Pluriel, which was Citroen’s last attempt at a convertible car, and three years after the introduction of the DS3 hatch range.

But while the Pluriel could be configured as a full or partial convertible thanks to its removable roof bars, the DS3 features a canvas roof that can be opened in three positions – intermediate, horizontal and fully open.

Citroen says the roof can be lowered at speeds of up to 120km/h, and takes 16 seconds for the top to be dropped completely. Mini’s Cabrio roof can be lowered in 15 seconds but only at speeds of up to 30km/h.

A glass rear window with a defroster is incorporated into the roof, and Citroen has blacked-out the pillars, maintaining the same “floating roof” design as the DS3 hatch.

Citroen says it has used top-quality canvas for the roof and sound-proofing techniques to produce acoustics that are “comparable to that of a hatchback when closed,” and it has also included an aerodynamic deflector net that operates when the roof is lowered to prevent air buffeting and deflect air currents.

Three roof colours are available on DS3, with Noir Onyx, or black, the standard colour, but for $800, buyers can choose either Bleu Infini (blue) or Gris Monogram, which incorporates the DS logo and resembles the style of French fashion label Louis Vuitton.

The Cabrio maintains the same dimensions as the hatch and Citroen is claiming the largest boot in its category, with 245 litres of cargo space compared with 125 litres in the Mini and 187 litres for the Peugeot.

Cabin space remains the same as the hatch and Citroen has included five “real” seats and a 60/40 split-folding rear bench for additional storage.

The DS3’s cabin mimics the hatch and features white LED ambient lighting in the ceiling-mounted console that houses the roof opening control, while the lighting on the air conditioning display and instrument cluster match the look of the console.

Style-focused touches continue to the exterior of the DS3 Cabrio, with the addition of a chrome-finished handle that sits at the top of the tail-gate and 3D LED tail-lights featuring a chrome-finished DS logo set in and embossed black setting.

DStyle models come standard with a leather steering wheel, digital air conditioning, cruise control with speed limiter, rear parking sensors, LED daytime running lights, Bluetooth, USB and auxiliary jack, tinted rear windows, ambient lighting and 16-inch alloy wheels.

The DSport adds sat-nav, carbon-look dash, floor mats, chrome-tipped exhaust and a hi-fi sound system to that list but replaces the 16-inch wheels with 17-inch alloys.

Safety gear includes six airbags and a seatbelt warning light and the DS hatch range comes with a five-star ANCAP safety rating.

Options for the DS3 include metallic paint for $800 and leather trim for $2000.

The base model DStyle is powered by an 88kW/160Nm 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine matched with a standard four-speed automatic transmission.

Stepping up to the more performance-focussed DSport adds a punchier 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol unit producing 115kW/240Nm matched with a standard six-speed manual transmission.

This is the PSA/BMW developed engine that powers everything from the Mini hatch and Countryman to the Peugeot RCZ coupe and 508 mid-size range, and has won the Best 1.4 to 1.8-litre engine category at the International Engine of the Year Awards for the last seven years.

Despite being 25kg heavier than the hatch, fuel economy for the DS3 is not far off its hardtop twin, with 6.7 litres per 100 kilometres for the DStyle (6.6L/100km for the hatch), while the DSport is slightly more frugal with 5.9L/100km compared to 6.0L/100km for the hatch.

Launched locally in September 2010 as a premium alternative to its regular C-line models, the DS3 hatch has slowly gained traction to become one of the French brand’s top-selling models, sitting just behind the C4 hatch range.

So far this year, Citroen has sold 150 DS3s and 152 C4s and while there is not a lot of competition in the premium light car segment, the DS3 trails the top-selling Peugeot 208 on 657 sales and Alfa Romeo Mito with 215 units shifted.

Citroen DS3 Cabrio pricing*
DS3 Cabrio DStyle (a)$30,990
DS3 Cabrio DSport $32,990
*Excludes on-road costs.

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