2013 Citroen DS3 Red DSport review

* Revised Citroen DS3 driven in the UK * Style and equipment upgrades for new Red editions * On sale now, priced from 12,700...

2013 Citroen DS3 Red DSport review

The Citroen DS3 has been a big success in the UK, so to keep the Mini rival fresh it's just been given a few tweaks, including new colour options (inside and out) and new 3D LED rear lights.

The other big news is the launch of a new Red edition, which is available with all engines apart from the entry-level 1.2. Buying a Red model adds 450 to the price, along with red highlights on their alloys and front grille, a red roof and a red interior finish. You also get some useful extra equipment.

The extras vary depending on what spec you choose. DStyle Red models add Bluetooth, USB and an enhanced sound system to the usual DStyle kit.

DSport Red adds automatic lights and wipers, rear parking sensors, and electrically heated and folding mirrors.

The DS3 Red is available in black or white body colours only, and here we're testing the range-topping 154bhp 1.6 turbo model.

What's the 2013 Citroen DS3 Red DSport 155 THP like to drive?
There are no changes to the engines or chassis, which means the DS3 is just as entertaining and just as flawed as ever.

The 1.6 THP we tried delivers strong, flexible performance, which is ideal for making the most of the DS3's eager, grippy handling.

The short-throw six-speed manual gearbox, standard with this version, is satisfying to use in all driving conditions.

However, the DS3 is let down by a ride that's crashy and poorly controlled over broken road surfaces. As a result, the car tends to hop sideways when faced with mid-corner bumps.

The steering is another source of disappointment; it has a rubbery feel and isn't as communicative or weighty as you'd hope for a car with hot hatches pretensions.

What's the 2013 Citroen DS3 Red DSport 155 THP like inside?
It's red. Probably a bit too red for some, but the DS3's extrovert cabin pulls off the new gloss-red fascia surprisingly well, without compromising on the general user-friendliness of the layout.

Otherwise, there are no changes to the interior. The pedals are a little offset, but the driver's seat is supportive and comfortable.

There's plenty of space in the front and enough in the back for a couple of adults even if rear legroom is a bit tight. However, Citroen's claim that the DS3 is a full five-seater is optimistic.

Should I buy one?
If you're taken by the DS3's looks then it's likely to satisfy your expectations. The range-topping 155 THP is full of character, and the new Red special editions add plenty of extra luxuries for not a lot of money.

Just don't hand over the cash until you've considered the competition. A Mini offers better handling and has an equally strong range of engines, while the Fiat 500 is quite a bit cheaper.

What Car? says...

Fiat 500

Read the full Citroen DS3 review>>

Engine size 1.6 turbo petrol
Price from 17,780
Power 154bhp
Torque 136lb ft
0-60mph 7.3 seconds
Top speed 133mph
Fuel economy 47.1mpg
CO2 135g/km

By Vicky Parrott