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Citroen DS3 2014 review

This is our second month with Citroen's cute DS3 Sport three-door hatch and we are loving it.

That might sound like too profound a statement for what is an affordable mainstream hatchback but when you get this car into the tight city confines - where it's totally at home, the diminutive DS3 really shines. And there's plenty of room left in our garage.... yeehaa.

Parking's a breeze, you can dart into tight laneways with plenty of room on the sides, duck around that big pothole with ease and if you need to take four adults home, it's not a problem. They will travel in scented style. Yes, there's a scent generator in the DS3's dash.

Price and equipment

Some may say it's too much money but when you compare apples with apples, that is, option up the more basic competitors, there's nothing in it. The DS3 goes for $29,740 and that includes plenty of standard kit like climate control air, full Bluetooth connectivity, satnav, power ancillaries, gorgeous alloy wheels and a large centre information pod. The instrument cluster itself is a work of modern art. Leather adds two grand to the price.

Engine and transmission

You can only get the DS3 Sport with a six-speed manual and that also gets you the 1.6-litre, turbo, petrol, four-cylinder engine with 115kW/240Nm output. It's a shared effort between Peugeot, Citroen, Mini and BMW and boasts efficiency boosting direct fuel injection, variable valve timing and staged oil and water pumps.

The six-speed manual 'box is a slick-shifting unit with well-spaced ratios to effectively capture the engine's power and torque.

Driving

It has a muted growl to the dual outlet exhaust and runs smoothly and sweetly. It is no slouch either around town or out on the highway while fuel economy (on premium) hovers around the 6.0-litres/100km mark.

At 1135kg, the DS3's fairly weighty for a three-door, light hatchback but the extra equipment and safety stuff all adds up. It makes little if any difference to the way the car handles or performs, the latter rating among top of the light car brigade.

Citroen has nailed the suspension calibration to deliver both comfort and control while giving the little DS3 a strong sporty flavour particularly when cornering flat out. It doesn't flinch and offers plenty of driver engagement with minimal body roll into the bargain.

In practical terms, the DS3 has plenty to offer including fold flat rear seats and relatively easy rear seat access with a handy fold/slide function on the front pews. Interior room is generous and there are plenty of storage options for bibs and bobs.

We like the exterior look which is cute and "assertive", something completely different from other mainstream light cars. And that is the essence of the DS3 -- it's something different, a step up on most of its boring competition.

Verdict

Wonder if there's a high performance version to match Peugeot's 208 GTi? That would be something else again...

Pricing Guides

$14,190
Based on third party pricing data
Lowest Price
$10,670
Highest Price
$17,710

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
Dsport 1.6L, PULP, 6 SP MAN $13,420 – 17,710 2014 Citroen DS3 2014 Dsport Pricing and Specs
Dstyle 1.6L, PULP, 4 SP AUTO $12,430 – 16,610 2014 Citroen DS3 2014 Dstyle Pricing and Specs
DSIGN 1.2L, PULP, 5 SP MAN $10,670 – 14,630 2014 Citroen DS3 2014 DSIGN Pricing and Specs
Dsport 1.6L, PULP, 6 SP MAN $11,990 – 15,950 2014 Citroen DS3 2014 Dsport Pricing and Specs