What is it?

Have you seen a Citroen DS3 on the road yet? Chances are that if you have you looked twice. We like for more than the way it looks, though. Everything else is pretty much spot on too, especially the way it drives. That’s something we haven’t been able to say about a small Citroen for years.

So far, though, our experience has been restricted to the petrol models. This is the 1.6-litre turbodiesel, which is set to swallow up a good chunk of DS sales and also has formidable competition in the shape of the Mini Cooper D.

There are actually two diesels to choose from, both 1.6s and both familiar from other models: an 88bhp version and this 108bhp one, which, as well as getting more poke, also has a six-speed ’box.

What’s it like?

Citroen's 1.6 diesel isn't the quietest on the market but it's competitive and it gives the DS3 the same relaxed urgency as the petrol turbo. It's pretty punchy all the way through the rev range too, even if there's the inevitable tail-off when you really extend it.

Still, with current fuel prices, it's tough to argue with the fact that even pushing it hard still means that 50mpg is possible. Not to mention the low company car and road taxes.

Although it's not quite as much fun to drive as the petrol models, the HDi is still darty, direct and responsive, while being a good deal more comfortable and practical than a Mini.

The rest is pure DS3. Which means a terrific-looking and stylish cabin, and more comfort and space than you get in a Mini, even if some of the plastics and switchgear don’t feel quite as solid as they do in the baby BMW.

Should I buy one?

No question that this isn’t quite as much fun as as the petrol turbo DS3. So if you go diesel you won't be buying the best DS3. But you won't be making a mistake, either.

Chas Hallett

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Comments
23

Re: Citroën DS3 1.6 HDi DSport

4 years 16 weeks ago

Nice review, very good looking car. Will be interesting to see how the DS3 fares in the long term, with residuals and reliability etc. Also, its exactly the same 1.6 110 diesel as the MINI Cooper D uses.

Re: Citroën DS3 1.6 HDi DSport

4 years 16 weeks ago

the petrol turbo aside the 120bhp petrol vti is quicker than this thing, a second to 60mph, and its nothing to do with weight as they weigh about the same, just goes to show diesels can not accelerate, even when the power to weight is similar, and even when they have over 50% extra torque...

oh and if your thinking it might be something to do with gearing and a sweet spot at 60mph, its not, over a timed distance of 1km the petrol vti is also quicker by over a second...

1.6 vti 120bhp/6000rpm 160nm/4200rpm £13,700

1.6 hdi sport 110bhp/4000rpm 270nm/2000rpm £15,900

save yourself £2,200

cheaper tax is balanced out by diesel being 3 groups higher in insurance cost.

petrol/diesel costs:

Extra cost to buy£2,175 Saving per 1000 miles£27.46 Miles to break even79,219 Time to break evenat 12,000 miles per year7 years

Re: Citroën DS3 1.6 HDi DSport

4 years 16 weeks ago

beachland2: You're ignoring the fact that the diesel will always be worth more when sold, admittedly not £2,200 more. But I'd agree that the petrol engine is the best option. What's the betting that the diesel engine's split mass flywheel (I assume that it has one) will have failed before 80,000 miles, wiping out any fuel cost saving in an instant!

Re: Citroën DS3 1.6 HDi DSport

4 years 16 weeks ago

I like this car as Citroen have not styled themselves into a retro cul de sac as is the case with the MINI . Cant wait to see the DS4 as this car is too small to meet my needs. Sorry but the new 4x4 MINI (cant remember its name ) is not on my list as it is just too ugly and expensive in my book.

Lets hope Citroens forthcoming DS4 will be as original and worth a try. My last Citroen was a BX DTR turbo and nothing has appealed to me from then till the DS3 came out.

Re: Citroën DS3 1.6 HDi DSport

4 years 16 weeks ago

while it might have cheap tax, the MINI with the same engine get 105g of co2/km. Will citroen bring out a stop/start model?

-----

10 years of Smart ownership over, sensible car mode activated

Re: Citroën DS3 1.6 HDi DSport

4 years 16 weeks ago

LP, there's very little chance that the flywheel will need replacing anywhere near 80,000 miles, unless of course the car is driven by a total idiot. Dual mass flywheels are ruined by labouring the engine. The only one I've ever known fail was on a chipped 160,000 mile Mondeo that had spent a lot of time towing a large caravan across the country.

The disadvantage a TDI had over a petrol was the risk of turbo failure wiping out fuel savings. Now though, little petol engines also have a turbo. Wish I'd bought shares in Garrett.

Re: Citroën DS3 1.6 HDi DSport

4 years 16 weeks ago

I am really surprised about how much Autocar seems to love this car. First of all, it is NOT a Mini rival. Citroen claims that it is, but at least here on the continent there is no way that the type of people who buy a Mini will be pulled towards this car in significant numbers. The styling of the DS 3 is too unsophisticated and "in your face" on the outside and on the inside it looks and feels too cheap (even the French car magazines have commented on this - the materials Citroen has used are not up to the premium character it claims for this car). No matter what the sticker price is, Citroen will not be able to shift those in the numbers that Mini does, without providing serious reductions on the price (which they are already doing here in Switzerland) which then in turn undermines any premium claims Citroen may make for this car. Even in France, the sales figures of the DS3 at least for March were behind those of the Mini (which could have to do with delivery problems, remains to be seen how this will evolve). I do not understand where Citroen wants to go as a brand, and this car does not really clarify the matter. There is no inovation here, just trying to copy what others do, exactly as they did also with the C5.

Faustcar

Re: Citroën DS3 1.6 HDi DSport

4 years 16 weeks ago

Faustcar wrote:

I am really surprised about how much Autocar seems to love this car. First of all, it is NOT a Mini rival. Citroen claims that it is, but at least here on the continent there is no way that the type of people who buy a Mini will be pulled towards this car in significant numbers. The styling of the DS 3 is too unsophisticated and "in your face" on the outside and on the inside it looks and feels too cheap (even the French car magazines have commented on this - the materials Citroen has used are not up to the premium character it claims for this car). No matter what the sticker price is, Citroen will not be able to shift those in the numbers that Mini does, without providing serious reductions on the price (which they are already doing here in Switzerland) which then in turn undermines any premium claims Citroen may make for this car. Even in France, the sales figures of the DS3 at least for March were behind those of the Mini (which could have to do with delivery problems, remains to be seen how this will evolve). I do not understand where Citroen wants to go as a brand, and this car does not really clarify the matter. There is no inovation here, just trying to copy what others do, exactly as they did also with the C5.

Bravo Sir! Couldn't be bothered to comment on this superficial show pony but is always good to see someone write well and drag things back to the realm of reality.

Whatever happened to the C5? Rare as hens' teeth. Great launch advert, sales bomb, last seen being handed out to BBC reporters to do dire election-related 'motorway man' pieces.

Re: Citroën DS3 1.6 HDi DSport

4 years 16 weeks ago

beachland2 wrote:
oh and if your thinking it might be something to do with gearing and a sweet spot at 60mph, its not, over a timed distance of 1km the petrol vti is also quicker by over a second...

Wow, a whole second. That's amazing.

To say diesels don't accelerate is a bit silly though isn't it. It's just a second slower over a kilometre. I'm sure i'd be really fed up with being a second slower on the roads when i'm in normal traffic.

You really don't need to go to such levels to convince us how much you dislike diesel cars everytime a diesel car is tested here. We know you don't like them. We get it.

I'm with you to some degree, I prefer petrol, but I can also appreciate a decent diesel. I enjoy the engine characteristics of both types of engine.

Modern diesels are so good. As this test confirms, it's slower than the petrol, and not as revvy, but still a thoroughly decent engine to use.

Re: Citroën DS3 1.6 HDi DSport

4 years 16 weeks ago

Best Citroen design I have seen in years, the integrity of the concept (amazingly a reskin of the ubiquitous C2 VTS HDI) reminds me of when the CX was launched, I am now speechless.

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Our Verdict

Citroën DS3 DSport

The Citroen DS3 DSport is a positive starting point for the DS range, and a tempting one too

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