Citroën could be on a sticky wicket here with the DS3. It has long been known for giving its cars a soothing ride, with dynamic ability much further down the list of priorities. Against Mini’s ultra-sharp Cooper S and even the Alfa Romeo Mito, that approach would be swiftly punished.
Sure enough, more restrained DS3s that we’ve experienced have majored on comfort rather than agility. But the DSport has a more highly tuned version of the same suspension set-up.
The results are impressive; it is hard to believe this car is related to the comfy but clumsy C3. The front end is quick to settle upon turn-in, and the DS3 remains stoically composed thereafter. Body control is excellent in the DSport, and not too bad in other models, either.
Occasionally – but only when really pushing on – you might encounter a little understeer, but a brief lift of the throttle is usually enough to bring the rear end around and nudge the nose back towards the inside of the corner. And anything approaching a slide is dealt with in a friendly, progressive fashion by the subtle stability control system.
Citroën regulars will probably find the ride a little firm on DSport models, especially so in the Racing, but on mainstream DS3s it remains well judged. Occasionally the torsion beam rear end gives itself away with a unified jolt over a pothole, and road noise is more pronounced than in the C3, but on the whole the DS3 is more compliant than a Mk2 Mini.
The steering could probably use a little more feel, but it still manages to be smooth, precise and consistent, without ever transmitting the sort of tugging kickback so common in a Mini Cooper S.