In case you’d not noticed, Citroen have taken great steps to make their DS brand something of a separate entity to themselves. They still share showrooms everywhere except in China, and there’s still a set of Citroen chevrons on this DS 3’s nose, but in time they’d like their relationship to be in the same mould as Toyota’s relationship with Lexus, Nissan’s with Infiniti, you get the idea.
The DS 3 was the model that set the sub-brand on its, ahem, anti-retro way in 2010 and is undoubtedly its biggest success, but everything needs to be kept fresh, so they’ve given it a bit of a mid-life tickle.
Spot the difference?
There are face-lifts and face-lifts, though, and even the keenest eye would do well to see where our DStyle test car’s gone under the knife. Admittedly that’s because, on the face of it – it is no different to the original; a new set of fancy, swooshing headlights come as standard on DSport models, but they’re an unselected option on this one. Oh.
Fear not, though, the big changes come in the shape of some extra ways to personalise your DS 3 such as new colours, wheel choices etc, and most pertinently, a new set of engines to choose from in the shape of one 1.2 petrol and two 1.6 diesels.
And it’s the most economical engine on offer that we’ve got here today. At 83.1 mpg and 87g/km Co2 this DS 3’s been future-proofed somewhat as its super-green emissions fall comfortably under the magical ‘free tax’ barrier of 100g/km. That’s probably for the best as this figure is sure to be revised as more and more new cars’ drivers contribute nothing in the shape of VED towards the tarmac they’re driving on.
The sacrifice for this increase in thrift is inevitably a reduction in shift, and 0-62 mph in 10.8s isn’t going to get anyone’s hair slightly smouldering, never mind setting it on fire. You can still opt for the 1.6l petrol unit that takes the DS 3 firmly into hot-hatch territory, but this super-frugal diesel is a different offering altogether and you’ll find yourself changing gears pretty often to keep those all important turbo revs up, without getting near the limits of the engine’s rev-range.
That said, whichever DS 3 you go for it still comes with a distinctly un-Gallic, firm set-up that has minimal roll without being harsh and even grips wet surfaces like a particularly resolute limpet. Throw this diesel DS 3 around a bit and, with a bit of effort, it’s not just the money you’re saving that’ll put a smile on your face – it’s a real hoot.
The new DS 3 is on sale now, go to www.citroen.co.uk
By Ben Harrington
Specifications; DS 3 DStyle BlueHDi 100, Engine – 1.6l diesel four cylinder turbocharged, Transmission – 6 speed manual, Layout – Front engine, FWD, Power – 100bhp, Torque – 254Nm, Emissions – 87g/km CO2, Economy – 83.1mpg combined, Maximum Speed – 117 mph, Acceleration – 10.8s 0-62mph, Price – £17,595 OTR, £18,090 as tested.