What's the used DS DS 3 hatchback like?
It actually began life as the Citroën DS3, but a midlife change of heart by the French firm meant DS became a brand in its own right as Citroën hoped to add a bit more pizzazz to the range and distance it from the bargain-basement image of existing models from the parent company. The updated DS 3 looks sharp, distinctive and carries with it the air of a premium product.
A range of lively petrol and strong diesel engines are available, all of which provide the 3 with a good turn of pace. Even the smallest units – three-cylinder petrols with 81bhp, 109bhp or 128bhp – make the 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 99bhp or 118bhp form – are flexible and suit the 3’s dynamic character. There’s even a Performance model with 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.
The 3 has a number of well-equipped trim options, too, starting with the entry-level Chic, which gets a 7.0in touchscreen, a DAB radio, Bluetooth and air-con, with the luxurious Prestige and sporting Performance trims at the top.
On top of the liveliness offered by the engines, the 3 is agile through bends. 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, although it has to be noted the 3 is nowhere near as composed or engaging to drive as a Mini.
The 3 can also ride a little too firmly over broken surfaces, although it’s reasonably civilised inside, the only intrusions being a little wind or road noise and the occasional gruffness of the diesel engines.
An imaginatively styled dashboard with chrome-rimmed dials and colour-coded panels gives the DS 3's interior real panache, with some plush materials and appealing finishes. The driving position is good, although visibility is hampered slightly by the stylised thick pillars. Inevitably, some of the switchgear and more functional parts are shared with Citroën’s mainstream models and, as a result, the 3’s interior doesn’t have the bespoke feel that a Mini’s does.
On top of that, rear space is distinctly limited, with two a squeeze and three very much a crowd, although its boot is larger than both the Mini’s and Fiat 500’s.