The DS3's delivery of power is one of its strengths, thanks to potent, free-revving petrol engines and strong, economical diesels. Petrol fans can choose from a 94bhp 1.4-litre, a 118bhp 1.6 (available with an automatic gearbox), and the turbocharged 154bhp THP model. Two 1.6-litre turbodiesels are also available in either 91- or 110bhp form.
The DS3 is based on the C3 supermini, but it turns into bends quicker and no longer bobs up and down like a nodding dog every time you touch the brakes. Go for the THP model, and there's also decent body control through corners. However, lesser models are slacker and can feel nervous on the motorway. Whichever version you choose, the ride is very jiggly and the steering short of feel.
The THP engine is smooth and quiet, whereas the lower-powered 1.6 emits a constant drone on the motorway because it has a short top gear. The clutch action is rather vague, too, and road noise is an issue if you have a car with 17-inch wheels. Every version of the DS3 keeps wind noise to an acceptable level.
The DS3 is not cheap to buy, but there are some good discounts available to sweeten the deal. Its desirability should be reflected in its used values, which will be stronger than those of Citroen superminis of old. All models are encouragingly economical, but go for the lower-powered diesel and you should be able to get an average of over 70mpg.
Arguably this is the area where Citroen has made the biggest improvements over the previous few years. An imaginatively styled dashboard with chrome-rimmed dials and colour-coded panels gives the DS3's cabin real panache, while plush trim and slick switchgear add to the premium feel. Citroen has also done well in recent reliability surveys.
Full electronic stability control, traction control and six airbags are standard, so it's perhaps no surprise that the DS3 scored five stars in Euro NCAP crash tests. Security equipment is also competitive with that of rivals, so opportunist thieves would do well to look elsewhere.
You sit a long way back from the windscreen, so it can feel like you're driving a small MPV. The pedals are offset, too, which makes the driving position feel slightly awkward. However, the dashboard layout is pretty user-friendly – only the steering column-mounted controls for the stereo and cruise control let the side down, because they're hidden behind the wheel.
The DS3 has a decent 285-litre boot and a reasonably roomy cabin. There's plenty of space upfront and enough in the back for a couple of adults, even if rear legroom is a bit tight. Citroen's claim that the DS3 is a full five-seater is very optimistic.
Even entry-level DSign cars come with central locking, cruise control and electric front windows. DStyle trim adds air-conditioning, front LED daytime running lights and tinted rear windows. DSport cars also get climate control, Bluetooth connectivity, 17-inch alloys, a rear spoiler, chrome side rubbing strips, and aluminium pedals.
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A stylish and well-equipped supermini that delivers hot hatch pace and decent handling. You'll have more fun in the rival Mini Cooper S, though.