The Citroen DS3 was first introduced in 2009 as the revival of the Citroen DS sub-brand. The DS department was tasked with making more interesting, better-looking cars that are going to bridge economy-level cars with entry-level luxury cars by making them futuristic and infused with technology solutions that are typically associated with luxury cars. So, is Citroen DS3 a good car?
The Citroen DS3 is a well-built cool-looking hatchback that tailors toward a younger audience. It also drives a bit better than most Citroen models which certainly makes it a good car. It is available with a bunch of different engine options depending on your personal preference. The car looks youthful and futuristic inside and out.
Reliability is all over the place as early DS3 models were part of almost a dozen recalls while later models are a bit better. The car does suffer from common issues which we are going to discuss in greater detail in this article.
The values of these are now really good as you can buy a used DS3 for a really low price. Practicality is not the best as the car compromises practicality for design, but the DS3 still offers enough space for most people and the trunk space is large enough.
Citroen DS3 – The powerplant
The Citroen DS3 comes with plenty of engine options starting with the 1.4L in-line 4-cylinder engine with 95hp or the 1.2L inline 3-cylinder engine with 82hp. The most powerful gasoline engine with the DS3 is the 1.6L 4-cylinder engine that pushes out between 120hp and 203hp for the top-of-the-live performance DS3 Racing models.
If you prefer diesel engines, you are in luck because the DS3 comes with two different engine sizes starting with the 1.4L 4-cylinder that offers 68hp or the 1.6L 4-cylinder that offers up to 115hp. Facelifted DS3 models kept the same engines, but the power was raised around 10hp for each engine option and they also kept the DS3 Racing which has 210hp for the newest DS3 Racing model.
You can go for either a manual or an automatic gearbox and all DS3 models are FWD. When it comes to efficiency, you can expect anywhere between 35MPG up to 50MPG with the most efficient diesel models. All in all, the DS3 engine palette is okay, even though we would like more powerful diesel variants.
Citroen DS3 – Design and chassis
When it comes to design, the DS3 surely is highly dependent on the cosmetic options you go for. Low-specified versions don’t really look any better than regular Citroen models while higher-end DS models with the right paint and trim options do look way better. The interior of the DS3 is also really cool but isn’t all that well-appointed.
When it comes to the driving experience, the DS3 drives like any other small hatchback which means that it is agile and really easy to drive. However, we must note that even though the DS3 does not have a through-and-through performance version, some DS3 models do feel lively to drive which is certainly a good thing.
Citroen DS3 – Reliability and common issues
Reliability-wise, the DS3 is fairly complicated because it was part of quite a few recalls during its production, especially in the early years. The car’s electricals are a known sore point as many electrical systems can fail and will need fixing throughout the car’s lifespan. It is more or less the same story with some of the car’s equipment such as headlights and rattling issues.
The steering system can become stiff and the car can experience severe engine misfiring issues. The suspension can sag due to a broken spring which is a notable issue as well. Other issues include potential fuel leaks.
Citroen DS3 – Value and practicality
When it comes to value, the DS3 is now a really affordable car which means that pretty much everyone can buy one used. If you like these types of small hatchbacks, you are surely going to enjoy the DS3 as it drives a bit more swiftly than most cars in this segment. All in all, it offers great value and it should be considered if you are after this type of car.
Practicality on the other hand is not the best as the car is not the biggest in its class. The design does eat into rear headspace a little bit while legroom isn’t anything to brag about either. Trunk space is decent, visibility is okay, and the car is fairly easy to get in and out of.
What does Citroen DS mean?
The DS abbreviation in Citroen indicates “Different Spirit” or “Distinct Series” as these cars are made with more emphasis on style, design, and desirability. These cars share most of their parts with other standard Citroen models, but also offer something more unique and cool which seems to be fairly popular with the younger audience.
The DS abbreviation was first used in the 1950s, but Citroen and DS split up in 2015 when DS became a completely separate brand. Even though these are not the same anymore, you can still see lots of resemblance between Citroen and DS models.
Is the Citroen DS3 a good city car?
The Citroen DS3 is designed to be a city car before anything else which means that it is small, agile, and fairly nippy. It is really easy to park the DS3 as it really does not take up all that much space. That is not to say that the DS3 can’t go on longer journeys, because it can do that as well.
Either way, most people who bought the DS3 bought it for urban use as such a small form factor makes the car perfect for city centers, especially in Europe.
What cars compete with the Citroen DS3?
The fiercest and most obvious rival to the Citroen DS3 is the Mini Cooper Hatchback. The Mini drives a bit better and offers higher quality materials while the DS3 is more practical and is a bit cheaper to buy. The VW Polo also rivals the DS3 and so does the Opel/Vauxhall Corsa.