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Citroen DS3 2015 review

Launching the upgraded Citroen DS3, Citroen Australia has announced it will bring in cars Australians want and will not compete to be the cheapest in the market.

The company also foreshadowed that the DS brand would split from Citroen as a stand-alone brand, although this was still some time away.

In this way DS cars would head in one direction - much like Lexus and Toyota or Infiniti and Nissan - and Citroen would pursue a different course.

Right now though, the cars are sold side by side in more than 20 showrooms around Australia.

The upgraded DS 3 hits the street with just one model, the DSport, but in hatch or cabriolet style, both packed to the hilt with a long list of standard equipment.

The DS 3 DSport will set you back $33,990 while the cabriolet is $36,590.

Rivals are Audi A1, Mini-Cooper S and Alfa Romeo Mito.

At just 3.95 metres long it’s a city slicker that also eats highways.

The move to high-specification models only was prompted by buyers of the current DS3 optioning up the current model to around $32,000 with all buyers in the past 18 months taking up satellite navigation and 17-inch alloy wheel options, among others.

Yes, like many cars that come from France, it is a little quirky

The move has allowed Citroen to simplify the DS3 line-up, yet still offer options for individualising the cars.

However, there is a downside to the upgraded DS3 – at launch it only comes with a six speed manual transmission.

The 4-speed auto sold overseas will not be brought to Australia with Citroen here stating the transmission is not what they were now prepared to sell on the Australian market.

Instead, they will wait for a more suitable auto to find its way into the DS3, stating "we are determined to get our product right."

The 2015 DS3 has been taken to a new level with major improvements.

It now has Active City Brake - a crash avoidance system that brakes the car when it is in danger of a low-speed nose to tail collision at speeds up to 31km/h.

There's a new Euro6 compliant 1.6-litre turbocharged, direct injection engine boasting 121kW of power and 240Nm of torque between 1400 - 4000rpm, linked to the 6-speed manual shifter.

This engine was developed by PSA and BMW and is currently also found in the Citroen Picasso.

DS3 also has stop/start technology which Citroen says helps the car to achieve 5.6L/100km fuel consumption.

Yes, like many cars that come from France, it is a little quirky.

There is only one cup holder in the entire car and the unusual “shark fin” B-pillar has the fin facing the back!

Then there’s the unusual vertical lift boot lid for the cabriolet.

It’s a bit of a challenge to get into, and out of the rear pew, but once in it’s a comfortable ride.

The seats have a 60/40 split to increase cargo space from 285 litres to 980 litres for trips away.

With up to 29 colour combinations, along with decals and different coloured roof and roof patterns for the cabriolet, it’s not hard to customise the DS3 to your own taste.

The new DS3 features standard reverse camera, parking sensors, LED and Xenon lights, six-year warranty, road side assist and capped price servicing.

The interior is of prestige standard with a stylistic dash design.

DS3 was launched in Brisbane and our drive program took us over familiar territory for this type of car – up and over Mount Glorious on some of the finest roads to test the car’s suspension, braking and steering.

There’s an unusual vertical lift boot lid for the cabriolet

Where it matters – on challenging roads – is where DS3 comes into its own.

The all-new 1.6-litre engine adds zing to the DS3 performance with the 240Nm of torque ensuring minimal gear changes.

It’s a wonderful engine and beautifully mated to the refined six speed manual.

It is so torquey we simply left the car in third gear while sprinting up Mount Glorious, the car pulling easily from lower revs out of sharp corners with no need to drop back to second gear.

This also translates to easy city driving.

Citroen has worked hard on the suspension and this is evident when taking on challenging roads where the DS3 laps up the uneven surfaces and remains composed and hangs on hammering into and out of turns.

Verdict

Citroen Australia describes the CS3 as a “warm hatch” acknowledging it’s a sporty two door with a 0-100km/h sprint time of 7.5 seconds – and as such not a hot hatch.

It is however, one hell of a good car that provides visual enjoyment sitting on 17-inch alloys, driving fun and excitement as well as the French 'x' factor as an experience.

Pricing Guides

$17,875
Based on third party pricing data
Lowest Price
$12,980
Highest Price
$22,770

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
Dsport 1.6L, PULP, 6 SP MAN $14,520 – 19,140 2015 Citroen DS3 2015 Dsport Pricing and Specs
Dstyle 1.6L, PULP, 4 SP AUTO $13,750 – 18,040 2015 Citroen DS3 2015 Dstyle Pricing and Specs
Dsport 1.6L, PULP, 6 SP MAN $12,980 – 17,270 2015 Citroen DS3 2015 Dsport Pricing and Specs
Dstyle 1.6L, PULP, 4 SP AUTO $12,980 – 17,380 2015 Citroen DS3 2015 Dstyle Pricing and Specs