DS 3 (2010-present)

Sold on its style and sporty drive, the DS3 used to be known as the Citroen DS3

Strengths & Weaknesses

Strengths 

Distinctive styling
Range of efficient engines
Spacious

Weaknesses 

Expensive
Poor rear visibility
Rivals have more modern technology

Think of the DS 3 as a French Mini. It’s distinctive, fun to drive and has more character than a Ford Fiesta.

You might know it as the Citroen DS3, which was the car’s name when it first went on sale. It was so successful that Citroen decided to create an entire DS brand to separate it from its mainstream cars, which meant that the Citroen DS3 morphed into the car known simply as DS 3.

Its details such as the shark fin shape between the two side windows, a glistening grille and sculpted alloy wheels are meant to bring some French chic to the roads.

Whether you prefer this to the Mini’s British moustache grille, or the Fiat 500’s Italian curves is up to you - there’s no shortage of choice when it comes to stylish small cars.

Just like its competitors, there are plenty of options to personalise the DS3, including different colours for the roof and side mirror-surrounds, as well as a choice of alloy wheel designs.

Inside, the materials seem more upmarket than standard Citroens and new buyers can choose the colour of dashboard panels.

If you already own a Citroen DS3, then the interior will be familiar, as it has barely changed since the car was first launched under the Citroen brand.

It’s spacious inside, with plenty of room for four people to sit in comfort, although access to the rear seats is a little awkward because it's a three door car with two side doors and a hatchback boot, which is a decent size, at 285 litres. 

There’s a wide range of efficient petrol and diesel engines to choose from, so there should be something to suit every buyer. These too have been carried over from the Citroen DS3. They all have plenty of power to keep up with motorway traffic and for nipping around town, but they’re also economical and shouldn’t cost the earth to run - particularly the 1.6-litre BlueHDi turbodiesels. 

The DS 3 is enjoyable to drive, matching the promise made by its sporty looks. It feels agile when changing direction in corners but remains comfortable at the same time when the road gets a little bumpier. 

There’s a 3-year, 60,000-mile warranty if you have any problems with the DS 3, plus Euro NCAP awarded it a five-star rating for safety when it was originally tested.

Last Updated 

Thursday, July 5, 2018 - 17:00

Key facts 

Warranty: 
3 years / 60,000 miles
Boot size: 
285 litres
Width: 
1715mm
Length: 
3984mm
Height: 
1483m
Tax (min to max): 
£0 to £180

Best DS DS 3 for... 

DS 3 DStyle Nav BlueHDi 100 S&S
The 1.6-litre BlueHDI diesel engines are by far the most economical. The lower-powered 98bhp version should return 83mpg and emits just 87g/km of CO2, which means £0 annual road tax. DStyle Nav trim still comes well equipped, too, with sat-nav, climate control and rear parking sensors.
DS 3 DSport BlueHDi 120 S&S
The 118bhp BlueHDi DSport gives the DS 3 a boost in power which means it will perform better with a family on board. The DS 3 is by no means a practical family car, but the DSport trim is well-equipped, plus the BlueHDi diesel is economical.
DS 3 DSport THP 210 S&S
The THP 210 petrol engine will go from 0-62mph in 6.5 seconds and reach a 143mph top speed, plus the DSport trim brings with it slightly stiffer suspension. The six-speed manual gearbox feels slick and precise to use, plus this model feels sporty in corners.
DS 3 Ultra Prestige THP 165 S&S
This engine is one of the most inefficient in the DS 3 range. It’s quite unrefined compared to the rest of the range and, in top-spec Ultra Prestige trim, it costs £20,795 which is quite hard to stomach for such a small car.

DS DS 3 History 

  • October 2009 Citroen DS3 is launched
  • February 2010 Limited edition Citroen DS3 racing launched.
  • January 2011 Citroen DS3 Orla Kiely special edition trim launched
  • July 2011 Citroen adds more personalisation options to the DS3 
  • January 2014 Citroen DS3 Pink revealed
  • May 2014 BlueHDi diesel engines and PureTech 82 engines added to the Citroen DS3 range
  • June 2014 The DS brand is created and the Citroen DS3 is renamed simply DS3
  • December 2014 THP 165 and PureTech 110 engine joins the range, along with Ultra Prestige and DStyle Techno models
  • January 2016 The DS3 is redesigned, replacing its grille, which dated from the time when it was known as the Citroen DS3.

Understanding DS DS 3 car names 

  • DS 3
  • Trim level
    DSport
  • Engine
    PureTech 110 S&S
  • Trim level
    The trim level indicates how much standard equipment is fitted. The cheapest model is DSign. Each subsequent level has more equipment and a higher price, starting with DStyle then DStyle Nav, DSport, 1955 Limited Edition, Dark Light Limited Edition and Ultra Prestige
  • Engine
    BlueHDi is the name for DS’ diesel engines, while PureTech is the name for its three-cylinder turbocharged petrol engines. The power is given in horsepower (also known as PS). S&S stands for start and stop - indicating an engine that switches itself off temporarily to save fuel when you're stopped in traffic.

DS DS 3 Engines 

Petrol: PureTech 82, PureTech 110, THP 165 Diesel: BlueHDi 100, BlueHDi 120

Mpg

Bhp

0 - 62mph

top speed

PureTech 82

62.8mpg

81bhp

12.3secs

107mph

PureTech 110

62.8mpg

108bhp

9.6secs

118mph

THP 210

50.4mpg

210bhp

6.5secs

143mph

BlueHDi 100

83.1mpg

97bhp

10.8secs

117mph

DS DS 3 Trims 

Chic, Connected Chic, Performance Line, Prestige, Ines de la Fressange, Performance, Performance Black, Parthenon Cream, Black Lezard, Cafe Racer

DS heavily relies on its customisation options, therefore, there are plenty of trim levels to get your head around.

Chic is base spec, but still comes with air conditioning, cruise control, and 16-inch alloy wheels. Connected chic gets bigger 17-inch alloy wheels as well as Mirror Link and Apple CarPlay

Performance Line adds a bi-tone black roof, graphics on the outside, and Performance Line carpet mats (really). Next up is Prestige which adds Xenon headlights and an Alacantara-lined steering wheel.

Ines de La Fressange specification is named after a French model. This gets unique badging and automatic air-con.

Parthenon Cream gets cream body colour with a Topaz or Black roof, Black Lezard gives you the option of a Lezard effect roof. Cafe Racer has unique exterior styling, including roof decorations and badging.

Performance gets you the sportiest engine with 210hp, plus Brembo brakes and 18-inch alloy wheels. Performance Black offers up matt black paint with gold door mirrors and roof.

DS DS 3 Reliability and warranty 

While DS is technically a new brand, all models are based on existing Citroen models from when the cars all fell under the Citroen name. This means all of the engines and parts are found elsewhere in the range - as well as some Peugeot cars - so they should be tried and tested.

Citroen doesn’t have the best reputation for reliability, but the DS 3 finished in 67th place in the 2015 Driver Power survey, which isn’t too bad. However, it came in a worrying 150th place out of 200 cars for build quality.

If you need to make use of the manufacturer’s warranty, you’ll be covered for the first three years and 60,000 miles, but there will always be the chance to extend this when you buy the car.

In terms of safety, every DS 3 comes with six airbags, stability control and automatic activation of the hazard warning lights under braking, plus you can add ‘Active City Brake’ for £250 which automatically applies the brakes if you nearly have a collision at low speeds.

Used DS DS 3 

The DS 3 has been on sale since 2010 and hundreds are on the used market at the moment. 

Base spec (Chic) models registered in 2018 start at around £11,000. That's a useful £4,000 of the price of a new car.

2015 models with the economical and punchy 1.6-litre diesel start at around £6,000, which is pretty cheap for such a stylish car. The sporty 210bhp Performance models sell for around £17,000 - as long as you don't mind buying a car that was registered in 2017.