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2015 Citroen DS 3 DSport review

Isaac Bober’s 2015 Citroen DS 3 DSport review with pricing, specs, ride and handling, safety, verdict and rating.

In a nutshell: Take the garden-variety Citroen C3 tweak the suspension and give it a racier body… there’s more to the Citroen DS3, but that’s the car in a nutshell…

2015 Citroen DS 3 DSport

Price $33,990 (+ORC) Warranty 6 years Safety five-star ANCAP Engine 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol Power/Torque 121kW/240Nm Transmission six-speed manual Body 3948mm (L); 1994mm (W); 1483mm (H) Weight 1140kg Thirst 5.6L/100km

Editor's Rating

Our first thoughts of the Citroen DS 3 DSport
Practical Motoring Says: The Citroen DS 3 DSport isn't an out-and-out hot hatch like the Abarth biposto, rather it's a competitor to the likes of the Mini Cooper. It's a roomy compact that's long on fun and short on negatives. So, if you're looking for something a little different that's well kitted out for the money, safe, and fun to drive then you need this car on your shopping list.

THERE’S NO DOUBT THE Citroen DS 3 DSport is an eye-catching little thing, and you certainly won’t mistake it for anything else. And with a staggering 29 colour combinations and 200 individual options to choose from, and a sporty look with two tone body and roof that’s the whole point. Think of it as Citroen’s answer to the Mini.

For my money, the thing’s a good looker in pictures but better in the metal where despite its slightly comical colour combinations, it’s a properly muscular looking little warm hatch. I’d love to hear what you think about it, though, leave a comment at the bottom of this review.

Based loosely on the Citroen C3, the DS 3 DSport is a sportier more premium proposition. And its recent refreshment (in April this year) saw the DS 3, in both hatch and cabriolet variants, available Down Under in just one specification, DSport. This hiked the price (by $3600 and $4250 depending on the variant), but the changes were extensive, and included an all-new 1.6-litre four-cylinder turbocharged e-THP petrol engine which saw power climb by 6kW to 121kW (at 6000rpm) and 240Nm of torque (at 1400rpm). Fuel consumption is a combined 5.6L/100km.

Beyond the new engine, the refreshed DS 3 DSport comes standard with LED and Xenon headlights, Active City Brake, reversing camera with parking sensors, tyre pressure monitors, new-look 17-inch alloys, auto headlights and windscreen wipers, heated and folding wing mirrors and more.

2015 Citroen DS 3 DSport car review

Our test car is the DS 3 DSport hatch which lists from $33,990+ORC (the cabrio lists from $36,590+ORC). The reason for the specification change and price adjustment, according to Citroen was simply because most buyers ticked every option available anyway and up-speccing the thing from the factory made it cheaper.

Literally a pocket rocket, the Citroen DS 3 DSport is one of the smaller compacts in the market measuring just 3948mm long, 1994mm wide, and 1483mm high. This might not sound like much, but climb inside and the DS 3 DSport is actually quite roomy.

The dashboard has been set high, which looks a little odd at first glance, but it allows for more front seat legroom and mean that all of the controls are easy to access. The front seats are comfortable but their lack of lateral support becomes apparent at the first corner you pour the DS 3 DSport into.

2015 Citroen DS 3 DSport car review

Because the backs of the front seats are quite slim rear seat legroom is also pretty good for both kids and adults alike. The rear seats are also quite deep, Citroen describes it as “wagon-style” but we’re not quite sure what they mean by that. The sloping roofline does rob some headroom, but six-footers will be fine.

Being a three-door means you’ve got to fold forward the front seats to climb into the back which is easy enough, but climbing back out requires a bit of effort thanks to the deep-set rear seats. Behind them in the boot is 285 litres of storage space which betters the Mini and the Fiat 500, which can be enlarged (up to 980 litres with the seats folded) via the 60:40 split-fold rear seats.

2015 Citroen DS 3 DSport car review

Back in the front and the DS 3 DSport doesn’t feel a whole lot different to the garden-variety C3 but then that model has one of the better dashboards in the class. Sure, you’ve got soft-touch plastics and the gloss dashboard strip is nice, there are extra goodies spread around the cabin, but some touches are a little frustrating, like the fold-down centre armrest which gets in the way when you’re using the manual gear shift.

Out on the road and the Citroen DS 3 DSport impresses, the 1.6-litre turbo four-pot offers decent pick-up and a solid spread of torque which makes climbing hills and overtaking a snack. And for those that like to get more involved in the drive, the six-speed manual gearbox is a stand out with a good positive action and short throw. The clutch pedal, it’s worth mentioning, is a little light in its action with a long travel; but as you would imagine, the more time you spend with it the less likely you’ll be to fumble the shift.

The DS 3 DSport isn’t a hot hatch, that’s the role filled by the limited-run DS 3 Racing (which isn’t available here), but it’s still a lot of fun with a good solid brake pedal with a nice progressive action, the DS 3 DSport runs disc brakes all round.

2015 Citroen DS 3 DSport car review

Fundamentally the DS 3 DSport is a re-working of the garden-variety C3 with a slightly stretched wheelbase and tweaked suspension. And it really is a hoot of a car to drive when the road gets twisting. The front-end tucks in tightly transmitting its doings back to the driver through the well weighted and sharp steering.

There’s little body roll through corners and even when pushed hard, the DS 3 DSport resists understeer. Get ham-fisted and too heavy-booted with it and the nose will push wide, but a light lift off the throttle is enough to bring the thing back into line. The ride is firm but not hard with all but those out-of-nowhere potholes dispatched with ease and then it’s mostly the rear end that tends to thump through the bump.

2015 Citroen DS 3 DSport car review

This is a properly perky little hatch back that’s not trying to be a hot hatch, and that makes it all the more convincing as a performance car. The DS 3 DSport will no doubt appeal to the style conscious buyer with the fact that it’s roomier than the Mini icing on the cake, it’s priced well and despite the odd annoyance, like the arm rest, our pick in the segment.

In terms of safety, the DS 3 DSport gets a five-star ANCAP rating as well as Active City Brake which is on-guard at speeds under 31km/h and runs a short-range laser (10m) to help mitigate low-speed collisions. It turns off above 31km/h. The DSport also gets a reversing camera and sensors, Xenon and LED headlights stability and traction controls, and six airbags.

2015 Citroen DS 3 DSport car review

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Isaac Bober

Isaac Bober