DS 3 Cabrio: farewell

  • It's time to part with our DS 3 Cabrio
  • Can you live with a quirky small convertible over winter?
  • We come to the final verdict
  • It's time to part with our DS 3 Cabrio
  • Can you live with a quirky small convertible over winter?
  • We come to the final verdict

It’s time to bid farewell to our long-term DS 3 Cabrio. Did having a convertible over the winter months dampen our experience with the little French model?

Could the DS 3 Cabrio survive the winter?

It's a resounding yes. Not only is the strong climate control system capable of reaching a tropical 28 degrees, but the heated rear windscreen will be appreciated by those used to the impaired view out through the plastic ones fitted to convertibles of the past during colder weather. The lack of a windscreen wiper remained a gripe though.

That said, when every opportunity arose, the infinitely-adjustable electric-folding canvas roof meant we could capitalise on catching the sun’s rare appearances. The DS 3 even got to shine when it was called upon to be a camera tracking car.

The car's small footprint and gutsy engine means this little convertible is in its element in a town or city environment and the mileage speaks for itself: the lack of refinement apparent at higher speeds reflects the relatively low mileage covered compared to the long-distance cruisers in the Parkers fleet.

Showing its age

If there are any complaints, these would be down to the DS 3 showing its age.

The rear of the cabin may offer more room than a Mini Convertible but it’s still a squeeze for two people. Rear passengers of above-average size will have to tilt their heads inwards for more room or lean their upper body towards the centre of the car, brushing shoulders with the neighbouring passenger.

As a side effect of migrating to a touchscreen-only infotainment system, the majority of the audio buttons for the stereo have been removed but the space that’s now left behind is rendered useless for anything larger than a pen. You'd hope there'd be a sizeable cubby hole that would stretch further into the dash.

The remaining buttons to control the volume are also placed far too low, meaning the ergonomics aren't a complete improvement.

There's also no useful place to store a smartphone – the base of the dash is too small and the only space available is the cupholder behind the handbrake – which then compromises on drink space and leaves a trailing cable over the gearlever.

The glovebox is nigh-on useless, too, but the door is usefully shaped inwards freeing up legroom for larger passengers.

Verdict

Since October, our 130hp 1.2-litre PureTech model is no longer available in our Elegance spec, with the engine range limited to the 110hp version or 100hp BlueHDi diesel. This is a shame but, for us, we’d seriously consider the lower-powered 110hp PureTech unit and staying with Elegance spec - rather than forking out the extra to upgrade to Prestige trim and the 130hp engine.

As for the DS 3 Cabrio itself? This little convertible remains a likeable package that's stylish, has a strong engine and entertaining handling on the right road. Ultimately though, this pricey little DS is showing its age in the cabin, with its awkward driving position, laughable practicality and the way it struggles to deal with bumpy UK roads.

Mileage: 4,210 miles

Fuel economy: 43.3mpg


Thirteenth report: a potential future classic?

Citroen has historically produced cars that leave a long-lasting impression with its fans; mixing a soft, luxurious ride quality with quirky, leftfield looks. Could our DS 3 Cabrio be set to be a potential future classic?

We lent the small cabrio to Murray Scullian, News Editor at Classic Car Weekly, for a weekend to see if he could spot any potential signs.

He said: "Will it become a classic? Definitely. The DS 3 marked the re-birth of DS as its own sub-brand, making it almost as significant as the DS itself.

"If I can liken the DS to the archetypal hatchback that’s achieved classic status and value, the Peugeot 205, fast examples will reach classic status first, and good examples of these will be worth the most. The DS 3 Performance will be at the forefront, and will increase in value first, a-la 205 GTI."

But what about our Cabrio?

Based on history, Murray reckons convertibles take longer to find classic valuation: "Cabriolets generally languish in the doldrums of the cheap car stage for longer. Just like the Golf GTI Clipper and Peugeot 205 CTI of the past, which are now only becoming classics in their own rights, years after their tin-topped cousins.

"What this particular DS 3 has in its favour is its engine rarity. Beyond being a great unit, it was only offered in Elegance spec for less than a year. That might sound minor now, but it will get Citroen anoraks frothing. Prices for rare spec and engine combinations in the modern classic market are rife, for example, the E36 BMW 318is four-door, which was only on sale for a month in the UK, is rarer and more desirable than its two-door cousin."

Is there anything to look out for in older Citroens?

"Reliability issues might be a favourite misconception among the classic car armchair observers, but the truth is, Citroens are no more unreliable than any other models. They can be just a tad more complex, a la the original DS’s hydropneumatic suspension.

"In any case, the certainty of the DS 3 reaching the classic status that befits its namesake cousin is on par with death and taxes."

So there we have it, if our DS 3 is heading on to become a future classic, our combined choice of engine and spec could become a sought after choice. With it being a convertible, it may just require more time for it to be a sought-after classic.

As for the rest of the package, Murray was fond of the comfortable ride, the punchy engine, the handsome exterior and the light but precise steering. On the downside, the long-throw gearbox, dated interior, noticeable wind noise and average 40mpg over the weekend was a disappointment.

Mileage: 3,813 miles

Fuel economy: 43.3mpg


Twelfth report: meeting the new Citroen C3

Since our DS 3 is a sibling to the Citroen C3 hatchback, it was time to see pit it against the newer version to see how times have changed since our car's original 2010 release. Using our DS 3 as a time capsule – has our Webasto-roofed premium-priced supermini been left behind?

Given that this is a high-spec model, weighing in at more than £18,000 at the time of writing, it's a valid comparison, especially given they're powered by two different versions of the brilliant three-cylinder Puretech engine – in the case of the C3 a 110hp version. That compares with our 130hp DS 3. 

Sitting beside the bright Almond Green finish and Onyx Black roof, the fresher C3 certainly looks more up to date with its slim daytime running lights stacked above the headlamps, raised bonnet and classically Citroenesque styling – quirky, that is.

Softer Citroen vs firmer DS

The chrome side strips of our DS 3 have been substituted with the excellent dent-protecting Airbumps first seen on the C4 Cactus and there’s a general air of ruggedness with the colour-coded wheelarches and bumpers. Some have even described it as a shrunken-down SUV.

The biggest differentiation between these two brands can be felt on the road. The most noticeable aspect for us is with the ride quality. Blessed with greater suspension travel and more absorbant springing, the C3 manages to soak up bumps on the road in a much more refined manner than our DS 3.

It transmits far fewer thumps into the cabin and feels altogether more refined on the road. The softer, flatter seats, similar to those in the C4 Cactus, also contribute and makes for a much more serene cruiser than our DS 3 – although if you're carrying passengers susceptible to car sickness, the firmer DS 3 will score more points than the pillow-soft C3.

And on the road?

The 110hp version of the 1.2-litre Puretech engine in the C3 may be down on power against our DS 3 but there’s still plenty of torque here – 205Nm against the DS 3's 230Nm – for the C3 to feel perfectly capable on a daily basis. Both feel quick on the road and eager to rev. 

But the C3 is by no means perfect. There is a more pronounced level of turbo whistle higher up in the rev range and the engine itself is much more vocal from the outside. It's rougher at idle, too. This, in conjunction with the engine transmitting vibrations through the front seats, take the polish off what is a very comfortable cruiser.

The amount of wind noise as it rushes over the front windscreen is quite disappointing too for a modern car without a folding canvas roof.

In short, the C3 may not feel as sprightly as our DS 3 to drive but it perfectly suits its character. The steering is much lighter and the handling is more composed, leading you to drive with a slower turn of pace.

We'd take the funkier C3. And that bodes well for the next-generation DS 3, which can't be that far down the line now.

Mileage: 3,611 miles

Fuel economy: 43.3mpg


Eleventh report: number crunching

We’ve been crunching the numbers to see how affordable our DS 3 Elegance model is on the manufacturer's PCP finance scheme.

Since our 130hp 1.2-litre engine variant is no longer available in Elegance trim, we're looking at the 110hp version over a three-year, 8,000-mile-per-year contract with a £1,500 deposit. Including metallic paint this will set you back £348 per month.

In comparison, a MINI Convertible Cooper Sport Pack will cost just £308 per month with the same contract terms. This, despite a higher APR charge of 5.9% (compared to the DS 3’s 4.9%), though this is counteracted by a £1,000 deposit contribution discount at the time of writing.*

For £305 per month, you could have the Fiat 500C in top-spec Riva trim with the 105hp 0.9-litre TwinAir petrol engine. This is for a longer 48 month contract, however, (which reduces the monthly payment) with a deposit of £1,450 and a £1,100 deposit contribution from Fiat.*

If you must have our 130hp engine, selecting the Prestige model with the same contract terms makes the monthly cost more difficult to justify. At £391 per month, this leaves you with a DS 3 Cabrio that’s £83 a month more expensive and still slightly less powerful than the MINI.

While our DS 3 Cabrio looks to be an attractive rival beside the MINI and Fiat, the finance offers available make for a more costly proposition. Furthermore, if you want a premium-branded, four-seat convertible with usable boot space, an Audi A3 1.4 TFSI SE can be had for £365 per month. This is for a 36 month contract with a deposit of £1,500 and a higher 10,000 mile allowance, thanks largely in part to the £3,400 deposit contribution from Audi.

*Deals are correct at time of publication. Everyone’s financial circumstances are different and credit is not always available – Parkers cannot recommend a deal for you specifically. These deals are indicative examples of some packages available this week.

Mileage: 3,310 miles

Fuel economy: 44.1mpg

 


Tenth report: take the shot

I’ve always wondered whether the DS 3 Cabrio would work as a camera tracking car. With the canvas roof piled up neatly at the rear, it seemed that this could work as a decent platform to rest a camera on and capture some decent shots remotely. With a slightly softer ride than models on larger wheels, the 1.2-litre Elegance could be the ideal candidate here.

Is this an opportunity for the DS 3 Cabrio to shine?

In all honesty, we were surprised how well this worked. With the roof folded down at the rear like a parcel shelf, this enabled us to remain seated at the back with one arm holding the camera on top of the roof the entire time.

The suspension is soft enough and the roof doesn’t transmit any harsh bumps resulting in blurred pictures. Furthermore, the folded fabric roof rests at a downward angle and automatically points the camera towards the member of the Parkers team driving behind.

I think we may have just found a great use for our DS 3 Cabrio from now on - weather dependent of course.

Mileage: 2,951

Fuel economy: 44.2mpg


Nineth report: economy run

The 130hp from our DS3’s three-cylinder 1.2-litre engine makes it feel more urgent than the long-termer it replaces – the 140hp Fiesta Zetec S Black Edition - but how does it compare in the fuel economy stakes?

Despite falling short of the official claimed figure of 62.8mpg, our 44.8mpg average compares well with the Fiesta’s 42mpg, considering the larger engine size.

Inevitably, since our DS 3 has spent a large proportion of its lifetime in an urban environment, we reckon our average figures could be improved further with a combination of longer motorway journeys and a slightly less enthusiastic driving style.

But that’s still a huge way off the official figures?

Perhaps, but in a bid to improve transparency to its customers, DS (along with sister brands Peugeot and Citroen), is one of the first manufacturers attempting to publish fuel consumption figures more representative of real-world conditions with their own independent tests.

Since 2016, the brands have been carrying out these tests on public roads hoping to produce more accurate everyday fuel consumption figures over those published from laboratory conditions.

Since these results are achieved from a 57-mile test route that involves carrying passengers and luggage, driving on different road gradients and the use of air-con and heating, we’re more confident in matching these figures than those printed in the brochure.

Though 58 models across the Peugeot, Citroen and DS range have been assessed, our 1.2-litre 130hp DS 3 Cabrio has not yet been tested, but we are getting close to the 47.1mpg figure achieved with the 110hp version of this engine - which is an encouraging indication of the tests being more accurate.

You can find out if your particular Peugeot, Citroen or DS has been tested here.

Mileage: 2,616

Fuel economy: 44.8mpg

 


Eighth report: what did you say?

When you decide to opt for a convertible version of any car, you expect to make a few compromises over the equivalent hardtop, whether it’s a drop in boot space or a more cramped cabin for rear passengers.

Factor in the extra metalwork required to retain the car's rigidity with the top folded down and this can add a lot of weight, simultaneously blunting performance, economy and driving characteristics.

Since our DS 3 Cabrio closely resembles the hatchback, the level of compromise in practicality hasn’t been much of a shock. The DS 3 hatchback has always been a small hatch with space at a premium, so the limited boot access has been the most noticeable aspect.

DS 3 Cabrio motorway driving

On the road, though, the compromise begins to make itself heard. The brochure claims interior noise with the roof up is comparable to the hatchback, but that’s not been the case to our ears. It permanently sounds like a window has been left open thanks to the ever-present wind noise, which can prove tiresome on longer journeys.

Selecting the upgraded HiFi audio system will just about drown that noise out, but there's enough filtering into the cabin to make the DS 3 the ideal car for blocking out unwanted conversation when we've had to car share with colleagues.

Is the DS 3 Cabrio best left to low-speed town driving then?

Not necessarily. The front seats are appreciably comfortable and despite the lack of lumbar adjustment, there's enough bolstering and side support to help provide a decent level of long-distance comfort.

DS 3 Cabrio front seats

The LED headlights have come into their own too, making those night-time stints that bit more effortless thanks to their decent range and broad spread of light.

DS 3 LED headlight option

Switching back to the dim yellow hue from conventional halogen bulbs feels rather limiting now and decidedly old fashioned; it's an option we'd consider for any car in the future.

Mileage: 2,271

Fuel economy: 45.3mpg

 


 

Seventh report: beating winter blues

Can you live with a canvas roof during winter? Our DS 3 Cabrio proves you can, thanks to its roof that can adjust to freak weather conditions with great simplicity.

Sure enough, the canvas hood on our DS 3 might serve as a full-length sunroof rather than a fully-fledged convertible – like on the MINI Convertible — but at least this translates into a straightforward roof-folding mechanism.

This retains much of the hatchback’s painted bodywork too, in place of the vast swathes of canvas pitched up like a tent; a few punters have had to take a closer look to identify whether this is the Cabrio version or not. If you like your soft tops to be discreet, this could be the ideal solution.

That extra bodywork and front windbreaker also provides a higher level of shelter from crosswinds, helping the cabin to be a slightly less blustery environment when driving alfresco on the road.

The roof itself opens and closes quickly at the press of a button with minimal effort and fuss, operating at speeds up to 75mph. Thankfully DS avoided making the 3 as needlessly complex as its predecessor, the Citroen C3 Pluriel, with its detachable roof bars.

You can infinitely choose where the roof stops if you lightly hold the button down, but with a firmer press, the roof will automatically up to three preset positions:

  • Press it once and it stops above the front passengers' heads
  • Press it twice and it rolls as far back as the rear spoiler
  • Press it a third time and it fully retracts, with the roof resting above the tailgate.

We’ve defaulted to having the roof ajar just above our heads throughout the winter whenever we’ve managed to catch a sighting of the sun - even when we tested the DS 3 Cabrio Performance Black (below), we found ourselves opening it more often than expected. Despite the lack of heated seats, you can set the strong heater and its high temperature settings to induce a 28°C heatwave.

When the roof is fully open, the rear spoiler sits neatly with the third high-level brake light remaining in view for those following behind. But all that canvas does stack up in a pile where the rear windscreen would otherwise be, impeding rear vision completely.

If you open the boot, the roof will automatically move up and raise the rear windscreen back in place.

The heated glass rear windscreen is far better than one made of plastic, but the lack of a windscreen wiper isn’t ideal. Applying a layer of Rain-X can help keep rain water off to a minimal level and maintain visibility, but there’s only so much you can do against high levels of road spray.

Is the fabric roof on the DS 3 Cabrio easy to maintain?

The coarse material of the canvas roof isn’t the easiest to clean, although using warm water when washing the car helps scrub off the more stubborn marks. Owners have taken to adding an extra layer of waterproofing by applying a coat of water repellant (Gtechniq I1 Smart Fabric more specifically).

We have found advisories on owners’ forums against opening the roof fully when it’s wet, as it effectively squeezes any residual water out into the cabin, as well as potentially stretching the material.

Mileage: 2,109

Fuel economy: 45.8mpg

 


Sixth report: on the road

When you consider the DS 3 as a premium, design-focused supermini, it has to contend with rivals such as the Fiat 500 C and Vauxhall Adam. But perhaps the most established contender all three of these models will have their sights on will be the MINI hatchback. Renowned for its driving fun, does our little French hatch stack up against it on the road?

We like our DS 3 engine, but what about the rest of the driving experience?

Unlike the soft, roly-poly nature you might experience from the Citroen brand, the DS 3 has upped its game to contend with the MINI. Our long-termer isn’t as poised as its more square-footed rival but it’s certainly a step in the right direction towards raising a smile on your face.

We’ll get the quirks out the way first. The driving controls certainly feel a step behind, chiefly because they’re too light and designed for ease of use. Combine this with a long-throw gearbox, slow-to-respond steering and a clutch biting point that’s set too high, it all makes for a leisurely experience.

It doesn’t just struggle to match the MINI in this regard but also against my last long-termer, the Ford Fiesta Zetec S (or ST-Line as it's now called). Despite all this, it still makes for a likeable car - it just requires a little more input from the driver before the chassis will respond and entertain.

DS 3 Cabrio Elegance, purple, driving front

While it doesn’t feel quite as sophisticated as its newer rivals, our DS 3 certainly isn’t without charm.

The high levels of grip means you have the confidence to approach bends with a touch more vigour, while the forgiving tyres and suspension make for a package that's more fun than the Performance model - which is all too ready to wash wide in every direction in wet weather conditions.

Flexi-time

However, while the DS 3 manages to balance everyday ride comfort and entertainment on the road, the chassis is beginning to feel its age, with bumps battering the chassis and body in an uncomfortable manner.

DS 3 Cabrio Elegance, purple, driving rear

With a canvas roof allowing the DS 3 to retain its side body panels, you'd be forgiven for thinking it retains much of its rigidity over the regular hatchback. Unfortunately when the body panels are this tall with no real connection in the middle, there’s not much tolerance here before bumps start being transmitted into the cabin.

The Performance models with stiffer suspension are better at reigning this in, but that's a solution that'll cost you upwards of £23,000.

If we can experience this level of flexing in a car this small, we dread to think what a Range Rover Evoque Convertible will be like with its lower body panels...

Mileage: 1,757

Fuel economy: 46.6mpg

 


Fifth report: letterbox view

With the festive holidays looming and the need to ferry presents and luggage around the country, it was time to address the elephant in the room with our DS 3 Cabrio: the boot.

At 245 litres, the boot capacity itself is perfectly usable – it’s bigger than the Mini Convertible and Fiat 500 C, but accessing it is just comical. Stowing away a child seat may require your best Tetris skills.

You have to crouch down and feed your luggage through a rectangular portal, which then has to drop down a step onto the boot floor; it can sometimes feel like you’re rehearsing for the haka as a member of the New Zealand rugby union team.

Even our long-term Mazda MX-5 with the smallest boot in our fleet is more user-friendly, simply because the opening faces the right way up.

Apparently there’s a spare wheel under the boot floor, but we've yet to unearth this. We dread to think how much trying to free that out (after removing luggage beforehand), would take off the shine from ownership, unless you’re a master at the game The Crystal Maze. The rear seats will fold for larger objects but we're apprehensive on the amount of strain your back would endure having to load it through in the first place.

Access via the passenger compartment is hardly a better solution as getting to the rear seats are a cumbersome process in itself - the front seats are unable to tilt and slide forward far enough and limit the ease of access, even if you can open up the roof in the process and allow yourself to stand up in the footwell.

So while our DS3 may have some usable boot capacity on paper, the execution doesn't quite live up to the expectation. This is a classic case of style over substance.

Mileage: 1,411

Fuel economy: 48.7mpg

 


Fourth report: Should we have gone diesel?

As we head towards 2,000 miles in our DS 3 Cabrio, we’re wondering if there is any reason to pick any of the diesel engines at all. Producing 130hp, 230Nm torque and a pleasant enough soundtrack, our 1.2-litre PureTech engine manages to average even better fuel consumption than our previous long-termer - the Ford Fiesta 1.0-litre EcoBoost. Is this the best engine in the DS 3 range?

With our 0-62mph time of 9.0 seconds and a 126mph top speed, the 1.6-litre BlueHDi 120 diesel is the closest match in terms of performance – taking 9.3 seconds to reach 0-62mph with the top speed down to 118mph. The diesel wins by producing even fewer emissions though at 94g/km (compared to 105g/km), and a claimed average of 78.5mpg (compared with the petrol’s 62.8mpg).

However there’s a big £2,600 issue with this diesel engine as it’s only available on the higher-spec Prestige model, costing £22,095 – a difference which you’d fail to recuperate over three years and 30,000 miles, even with the £40 a year saving in road tax and difference in fuel costs accounted for.

Opt for the lower-powered 1.6 BlueHDi 100 diesel engine and things begin to make more sense. In matching Elegance trim, the overall running costs favour against our petrol-powered model, although while this could be tempting for some, the character of the diesel engine simply doesn’t suit the DS3’s character.

DS 3 wheel Elegance

Unlike our previous Citroen Cactus, the diesel engines in the DS 3 don’t deliver their performance in such a torquey manner. Instead, their lethargic delivery is enough for us to compromise a little in running costs and live with our better all-rounder on a daily basis. Our petrol model is more refined with less engine rumble filtering into the cabin and is better to drive thanks to slightly better pedal response and a tighter gearbox.

Our last fill up has shown the worse figure so far with a calculated 38mpg, so we’ll have to see if this continues its downward trend over time. Who the lead-footed culprit is in the Parkers team remains a mystery…

Mileage: 1,360

Fuel economy: 49.1mpg

 


Third report: Sibling rivalry

We’ve enjoyed settling in to our DS 3 so far, but our long termer recently met up with its brawnier sibling: the DS3 Performance Black.

With a flared bodykit and matt black finish, this hotted-up version looks like it lives on a diet of protein shakes and as well as petrol. With an ‘on the road’ price difference heading towards £6,000 at the time of writing, it was time to see how our long-termer fared against the fastest, most aggressive DS 3 Cabrio in the range.

What’s the difference?

Thanks to that bodykit and wider stance between the wheels, the Performance Black benefits from the hunkered-down look. Usually we're not fans of matt black, but it seems to work better on the DS 3, accentuating the creases and lines of the bodywork.

For the most part, we’re a fan of its appearance: replacing the chrome parts of our Elegance model with anthracite and carbon fibre-themed ones is a good move, but the gold wing mirrors and dashboard trim remind me of a mobile phone case from the early 2000’s. Luckily this Cabrio avoids the matching gold roof found on the standard hatch too.

There is one major drawback on the matt black though compared to the gloss finish of our Elegance model: it’s a magnet for dirt. Especially since the winter months have been fast-approaching, the Performance Black was displaying every spec of muck it had collected within just half a day.

Is our long-termer left trailing behind?

The Performance Black comes with a 1.6-litre turbocharged, four-cylinder engine producing 208hp and 300 Nm of torque. Factor in a shorter set of gear ratios for even quicker acceleration and the 0-62mph time drops from our 9.0 seconds right down to 6.5 seconds.

With larger 18-inch wheels, 15mm-lowered suspension and that wider front and rear track, the Performance Black tackles the bends with more agility.

Ultimately, there are two standout features on the Performance Black that better our long-termer:

  • the bucket seats can be set low enough so that you no longer look down at the dials with the steering wheel pointing up at a raised angle - they’re both directly in view and reach ahead of you now.
  • the stiffer suspension not only minimises body roll in the bends but reduces a lot of the body flex over bumps too – even if that meant sacrificing the softer ride quality for one that thumps endlessly.

Elsewhere though, it's not necessarily a case of 'more is better'.

The larger exhaust means it’s louder, but that doesn’t necessarily translate into a nicer noise inside the car. The heavier steering is a personal preference but it still trails cheaper hot hatch rivals for accuracy, and the larger, chunky 18-inch wheels may look great but are completely exposed to kerbing. The tyres have worse traction in the wet too, with wheelspin happening all too easily.

As an everyday proposition, our 1.2-litre Elegance is quick enough and much more comfortable to live with. The Performance Black will undoubtedly be more memorable in some respects and will have you laughing harder when the mood suits but could leave you tired, deflated and drained when you’re not willing to compromise.

Mileage: 1,044

Fuel economy: 47.3mpg

 


Second report: What options have we got?

DS 3 Cabrio rear side

Our DS 3 Cabrio has been settling in quite well so far and our attention has been drawn to the Elegance trim of this long-termer: have we managed to pick the sweet spot in the range?

We haven’t found ourselves yearning for any of the extra kit that would be fitted to higher-spec Prestige models, although this could largely be down to the options fitted to our car.

The optional LED headlamps at £600* give a good spread of light and also lend the DS 3 a futuristic look up front. The sweeping indicators are a nice touch too, even if they don’t quite operate with the smoothness of other brands – such as Keith’s long-term Ford Mondeo or Adam’s Audi A4 Avant.

DS 3 front indicators

The £500* Nav Plus Pack makes a large contribution to its high-spec feel, comprehensively kitting out the interior with:

  • Sat-nav
  • HiFi system upgrade (comprising of a centre dash-mounted tweeter and subwoofer)
  • Automatic lights and wipers
  • Electrically-folding door mirrors
  • Auto-dimming rear-view mirror

If you don’t require all of the components listed above you can option them individually, but just by selecting these two options alone brings us a kit list that is almost identical to the Prestige model for £1,100* – that's an £800 saving over the DS 3 Prestige with the same engine.

This could be the ideal balance for those who may find the ride in the Prestige model too firm thanks to the larger 17-inch wheels; even if they are more aesthetically pleasing to some of us.

The silver dashboard trim as part of the £150* Irresistible Paris Kit certainly brightens up the interior too, especially compared to the gloss black that’s normally fitted as standard.

Anything else we’re temped by?

Considering the DS 3 is marketed as a premium hatchback, it’s a shame that a leather steering wheel is bundled with premium carpets, along with a fake leather-trimmed instrument binnacle and gearknob to form a £400* Lux pack option. We like the idea of this, but think it's a cost option best left unselected.

The total cost of our DS 3 Cabrio Elegance with options comes in at £21,640*. If you are yet to decide on your own DS 3 Cabrio, we’ve reviewed the entire range, otherwise we think we’ve landed comfortably on our feet with our 1.2 PureTech 130 Elegance model.

Mileage: 684

Fuel economy: 48.7mpg

*Prices are correct at time of publication. Prices and options can change through a vehicle's lifetime.



First report: Welcome to Parkers

OK, I’ll confess: after seeing the Citroen C4 Cactus that Keith ran prior to our new long-termer, I was secretly hoping for our DS to be purple again. A purple French hatch does have an element of quirkiness about it and I did think the odds would be against me. It’s safe to say I was pretty chuffed when this arrived at the office.

I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for the DS 3’s looks – from that shark fin shaped B-pillar to the wraparound-effect glasswork.

The new front grille from the recent facelift now lends the DS 3 a far more aggressive look than before too – and so this car has since adopted the name Bane, after a certain villain in Batman.

We’ve gone for the higher-powered 1.2-litre petrol with 130hp and a six-speed manual gearbox (the lower-powered 1.2 PureTech 110 comes with five speeds), in mid-range Elegance trim and Whisper Purple paint.

Standard equipment includes:

We’ve left the black fabric electric folding roof untouched but we couldn’t resist a slight hint of customisation with what DS calls the Irresistible Paris Kit – subtly dressing the dashboard and rear side windows with the Parisian skyline.

The Alcantara and cloth seats have proven comfortable so far, despite the lack of adjustment in lumbar support. With the absence of heated seats on our model, we reckon they’ll be more welcoming in the pending winter months than those dressed in ice-cold leather.

Lots of car companies have small, turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engines these days, but the general consensus in the Parkers office is that this 1.2-litre PureTech is among the best.

It certainly feels impressive so far.  We get to hear more of that thrummy engine note compared to my previous long-term Fiesta EcoBoost and we’re pleased to say the gearbox feels a lot tighter with this engine than the 1.6-litre petrol and diesel versions we’ve tested previously.

So it’s off to a good start, then. We’ll have to see how we fare with this stylish soft-top supermini over the coming winter months.

Mileage: 286

Fuel economy: 50.9mpg

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