The DS 3 isn’t cheap to buy but, like for like, it undercuts key rivals such as the Audi A1 and Mini 3dr. Decent dealer discounts make it even more affordable and, unlike many of Citroen’s mainstream models, it holds its value well, if not quite as well as a Mini Hatch or Audi A1.
With the exception of the automatic model, all of the DS 3’s engines are impressively efficient and two of the diesel versions emit less than 100g/km of CO2. The DS 3 range doesn’t contain any sub-100g/km petrol models, however, unlike some rivals.
DS 3 equipment
Most DS 3 models have a decent standard of kit, but although entry-level DSign models come with LED daytime running lights, remote central locking, cruise control and electric front windows they miss out on key kit such as air conditioning and alloy wheels, which are standard on many cheaper superminis and which most buyers will want. It’s worth upgrading to DStyle, which adds those items, plus Bluetooth.
DSire gets climate control, rear parking sensors, and automatic lights and wipers, while our favourite is the generously equipped DSport trim, which also has xenon and LED headlights, electrically folding door mirrors and leather interior detailing.
Ultra Prestige models get a remarkable array of luxury kit, but they’re pricey.
DS 3 reliability
The DS 3 achieved first place in the small car category in the 2014 JD Power satisfaction survey, and 21st overall out of 109 cars. It also scored highly for engine and transmission reliability, so it’s an appealing ownership prospect.
Its parent company Citroen as a brand achieved a mid-table finish in our most recent (2015) reliability survey.
DS 3 safety & security
Stability control and six airbags are standard, and the DS 3 was awarded the maximum five stars when tested by Euro NCAP in 2009. The top two trims also include a city braking system that applies the brakes at low speeds if it thinks you’re about to hit the vehicle in front.
Security experts Thatcham awarded the DS 3 four out of five for its resistance to being stolen and three out of five for its resistance to being broken into. All models have deadlocks: an alarm is standard for the top three trims only.
Entry-level trim keeps the DS 3’s price low, and standard kit includes LED daytime running lights, an auxiliary input socket, remote central locking, cruise control and electric front windows. You miss out on items such as air conditioning and alloy wheels and a USB connection, however, which are standard on many cheaper superminis and which most buyers will want. We think it’s worth paying a bit more for a DStyle-spec car.
This trim level provides most of the kit that buyers expect, including air conditioning, alloy wheels, Bluetooth and a USB socket. It’s a much better bet than entry-level DSign and decent value for money, although the DS 3 is a style-led car and many buyers are likely to spend more on bespoke trim and other extras that boost the DS 3’s price.
DSire trim endows the DS 3 with lots of desirable kit, including everything that you get with DStyle plus climate control, automatic headlights and wipers and a front armrest. You miss out on a couple of the useful extras you get with DSport, however.
It isn’t cheap, but this is our favourite trim level for the DS 3. It gives buyers everything they’re likely to want, including Bluetooth, automatic headlights and wipers, climate control and electrically folding door mirrors. Citroen’s Active City Brake is a useful safety upgrade over DSire models.
This plush trim gives the little DS 3 a standard equipment list to shame that of many much larger cars, with everything that you get with DSport, plus leather front seat and dashboard trim, sat-nav and a reversing camera. Unfortunately it gives it a price tag to match - we think a DSport is plush enough and is a more sensible way to spend your money.