Driving

DS 3 review

Manufacturer price from:£16,270
What Car? Target Price:£13,807
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DS 3
Review continues below...
11 Nov 2015 00:00 | Last updated: 31 Aug 2018 14:19

In this review

Driving

What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is

DS DS 3 hatchback performance

A range of free-revving petrol engines and strong diesels are available, all of which provide the DS 3 with a good turn of pace. Even the smallest units – three-cylinder petrols with 81bhp, 109bhp or 128bhp – make the DS 3 usefully nippy around town, although the least powerful version runs out of oomph at higher speed.

The two 1.6 HDi diesel engines – in either 99bhp or 118bhp form – are flexible and suit the DS 3’s dynamic character well.

Finally, the Performance models get a turbocharged 207bhp petrol engine that will whiz you to 62mph in a smoking 6.5sec, which is slightly quicker than a Mini Cooper S.

DS DS 3 hatchback ride

The DS 3 is based on the C3 supermini, but its suspension is tuned to give a more sporty character. Better body control means that it’s not as flummoxed by big bumps or heavy braking, but the ride quality isn’t that great. It’s firm, whatever the road, and fidgets over poor surfaces. Versions with larger alloy wheels are even less forgiving.

DS 3

DS DS 3 hatchback handling

DS has given the 3 a lively character to match its looks. The steering responds quickly, so the car turns in to corners sharply and feels impressively nimble around town. At higher speeds the tyres grip well and body movement is reasonably well controlled, but the DS 3 is nowhere near as composed or engaging as a Mini, and the steering doesn’t tell you a lot about what’s going on beneath the wheels.

DS DS 3 hatchback refinement

The DS 3 is civilised for a small car, but refinement is very dependent on which version you go for. The turbocharged 1.6 THP engine is smooth and quiet, whereas the lower-powered three-cylinder units are lower-geared, so aren’t as hushed on the motorway.

The diesel engines are among the smoothest around, but all versions with a manual gearbox have a vague clutch action and a rather woolly gearshift that are less welcome.

Road noise is an issue if you have a car with 17in wheels, although every DS 3 keeps wind noise to an acceptable level.

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There are 6 trims available for the DS 3 hatchback. Click to see details.See all versions
OUR PICK
Connected Chic
This is our favourite trim because it keeps the price down but gives you access to better engines in the range. Standard equipment is good, adding to the Chic trim 17in alloys, climate control, rea...View trim
Fuel Diesel, Petrol
What Car? Target Price from
£13,807
Average Saving £2,463
View Trim
Parthenon Cream
This model has an exclusive Parthenon Cream exterior colour and topaz roof, as well as front and rear parking sensors and a reversing camera. Otherwise the spec is the same as Connected Chic...View trim
Fuel Petrol
What Car? Target Price from
£14,437
Average Saving £2,583
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Performance Line
This sporty trim level isn’t cheap and is difficult to recommend because the only upgrades it gets over Connected Chic are style-focused, including different 17in alloys, a spoiler and some light D...View trim
Fuel Diesel, Petrol
What Car? Target Price from
£16,038
Average Saving £2,892
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Black Lezard
As well as everything Connected Chic trim comes with, you get special styling upgrades, leather seats, power-folding door mirrors, xenon headlights, automatic lights and wipers and – wait for it –...View trim
Fuel Petrol
What Car? Target Price from
£16,559
Average Saving £2,991
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Ines de la Fressange
Comes with everything the Connected Chic trim has, plus power-folding door mirrors, xenon headlights, climate control, rear parking sensors and automatic lights and wipers. The main difference is a...View trim
Fuel Diesel, Petrol
What Car? Target Price from
£17,201
Average Saving £3,114
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Cafe Racer
We are yet to try out this variant...View trim
Fuel Petrol
What Car? Target Price from
£20,876
Average Saving £409
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