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Used DS 3 review

The DS 3 exists to put some extra class into your life. It’s a small hatchback with all the grace and sophistication of Simone de Beauvoir sipping coffee outside a Parisian café. Outgrowing its Citroën origins, the DS 3 successfully blends the dimensions of a supermini with the feel, quality and style of a luxury car.

Looks?

Even from a distance, you can tell the DS 3 is no ordinary supermini – its 2-tone colour scheme splits it in half. At the bottom - painted in the car’s colour - is the shape of a coupé or roadster. Above that is a more conventional black hatchback roof. On paper that sounds like a mismatch that would never work. In reality, the DS 3 looks distinctive and achingly stylish. 

The car’s luxurious traits become clear when you look closer. Highly polished chrome, twinkling LED lights and intricately detailed headlights.  

The DS 3 started out as a Citroën – the top of the grille on this early model was formed from the company’s two chevron logo. From 2016 onwards, DS became its own brand and the DS 3 acquired a more ornate front end. Very little else changed. 

Even from a distance, you can tell the DS 3 is no ordinary supermini

What’s it like to drive?

Like an urban fox, the DS 3 has been designed to live in the city – its rapid steering, nippy engines and small footprint make it ideal for weaving through urban streets. The same can be said for many little cars, though. The DS 3, thanks to its added luxury and finesse, is also accomplished on long journeys – it’s quiet, comfortable and relaxing. 

Its soft, plushy persona means that, on more spirited drives, it’s not as up-for-it as you might want. Not even the DS 3 Racing, the hot hatch version, proves to be truly exciting. Still, the DS 3 always has luxury on its side. 

Its rapid steering, nippy engines and small footprint make it ideal for weaving through urban streets.

Inside?

The essence of the DS 3 can be found in its interior. There are buttons like glistening jewels, sumptuous soft leather seats, satin metals and highly polished black trim. It has all the hallmarks of a big expensive opulent car - in the compact shape of a city-friendly supermini.  

Admittedly, it’s not equipped with limousine-levels of gadgetry. Bluetooth, touchscreen sat nav and air con are standard on all models, and that’s impressive for a small car.  

So, too, is just how comfortable and pleasant it is to spend time in. The driver’s seat and steering column have ample adjustment, so you can select the perfect seating position and all the controls are located in a logical straightforward manner. Amazingly, despite such functionality, there’s a flair and attraction to the way the DS 3’s interior looks. 

The major difference between the DS 3 and a prestige car is size. Although it’s roomy and comfortable in the front, the back seats are cramped and hard to access.  . 

Practicality

The DS 3 is perfectly suited for carrying your shopping - even if you get a bit carried away and buy a little more than you should. It’s also the ideal car for two people taking a trip with medium-sized bags.  

 Let’s be clear - it’s not massive. You won’t want to use it to move house. It’s practical enough for its type and the boot is a reasonable size, with the rear hatch creating a large aperture to make loading easy.  

 Unless we’re talking about the DS 3 Cabrio, that is. The drop-top version has a small panel that slides vertically upwards. This leaves an inconveniently small rectangle for which to post items into the boot – the price you pay for a removable roof. 

Running costs and reliability

Early DS 3s - those registered before April 2017 - are cheap to tax and the diesel versions are tax free. Later models are a little more expensive. They are comparable with other small cars and a fraction of the cost of the luxury cars it emulates. 

As all its oily, greasy parts are Citroën bits, the DS 3 is a simple, reliable car that shouldn’t generate any large bills. Even fuel expenses won’t be massive, as all models, even the DS 3 Racing hot hatch, can achieve over 40mpg. 

What cinch loves

If you treat the city pavements like your own personal catwalk, you need a car that does the same with the road. Few cars are as cosmopolitan and chic as the DS 3 – it’s as if it was designed to appear in fashion magazines rather than motoring publications. What’s more, no other cars of its size are quite so plush. 

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Verdict

Good

The DS 3 feels like a treat – something to indulge in, something a little bit special. Its cultured looks and sumptuous interior really spoil you. Yet, unlike sickly sweet treats or prohibitively expensive gifts, there are very few drawbacks to the DS 3. It’s affordable and cost-effective to run, it’s relatively practical and it’s wonderful to drive in the city.  

This review was

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