French fashion brand Givenchy has come together with DS for a special edition DS 3. Is it now any closer to the class leaders?

What is it?

Givenchy is a French firm that is world-renowned for exclusive fashion and beauty products. Its fame stretches back to an association with Audrey Hepburn in 1957, when founder Hubert de Givenchy created a perfume especially for her.

Givenchy later expanded in to cosmetics in 1989, and it’s the cosmetics department that takes centre stage here in the DS 3 Givenchy Le Makeup limited edition, of which just 500 will be made for the UK. This is not only in name, but also with products: the central armrest doubles as a make-up case, containing lipstick, mascara, face powder and nail polish.

To make sure you apply it smudge free, the courtesy mirrors in the sun visors have been beefed up with powerful LED lights. Additionally, there's rose-pink dashboard panel, black leather seats and branded floor mats.

On the outside, the DS 3 Givenchy has a unique paint finish, called Opaline white, which is matte-look with a sandy texture. There are special badges on the B-pillars, 17in Aphrodite diamond-cut alloy wheels, and the roof and wing mirrors are finished in contrasting purple paint.

It’s available as either a three-door hatchback or a fashionable Cabrio, which has a black fabric folding roof. Both versions have a 1.2-litre three-cylinder petrol engine fitted to a five-speed manual gearbox, although you can pay extra for a six-speed automatic.

Here we are testing the hatchback version with a manual gearbox.

What's it like?

Mechanically, it’s identical to the standard DS 3. The 1.2-litre engine develops 109bhp, which gets the little French car from stationary to 62mph in 9.6 seconds. The car never feels rapid, but it certainly has enough to be swift and keep you entertained. It’s rev-happy, too; maximum torque arrives at 1500rpm and the engine pulls freely all the way through to 6000rpm. 

There is a slight mismatch between the eager engine response and the notchy gear change. It feels loose and sloppy, and often leaves you searching for the gear you’re after, or checking to see whether you’ve engaged the intended one. Shifting into second gear enthusiastically can cause the gearstick to knock on surrounding trim, which is rather unpleasant. The clutch has too much resistance, so feels heavy as well.

The DS 3 handles decently, but it won't set your pulse racing. There’s plenty of grip to exploit and the steering is accurate and well-weighted, yet the wheel lacks much in the way of feel. Body-lean is also pronounced if you press on with any degree of enthusiasm. Most of the time the ride is firm but acceptable, although it fidgets around too much over broken surfaces.

Inside, the dash is dominated by a high-level 7.0in touchscreen that controls the car's infotainment system. The pink dashboard panel looks swish, while the other prominent surfaces are a mix of textured plastic and gloss-black finishers. There’s also a rather neat leather-look canopy over the instrument panel. On the whole, it's well designed and feels up to date. 

The driver’s seat is set a little too high, even in its lowest setting, yet most people could find a comfortable driving position because there’s plenty of other seat adjustment and the steering wheel adjusts for reach and rake. There’s also plenty of head room, but the seats are a little on the small side.

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Rather surprisingly, there's the absence of cupholders. Not a single one has been smuggled into the front of the cabin, although a bottle can be stored in the door bins. The 3’s dash is well recessed in front of the passenger seat, providing useful extra knee room, but that does mean that the glovebox barely passes as a storage location.

Getting into the back is simple enough. The front seats tilt and slide forward by pulling a lever on the top shoulder of the front seat. The opening is large enough to be able to get in comfortably, although once seated, head room is limited and most adults will find their knees pressed up against the back of the front seats.

If you are loading heavier items into the boot there’s a rather large lip to get over. It’s not the biggest space, either - but then again, this is a fairly petite car. The rear seats fold forward and split 60:40, although they don’t lie flat, and therefore leave a stepped boot floor.

Should I buy one?

Limited edition cars can be hit and miss, and it’s a delicate balance to achieve. Generally, they demand extra cash for something that’s more exclusive or fitted with extra kit.

DS has openly targeted this car at female buyers, who it says account for just over 50% of DS 3 customers. Some might argue that chasing female buyers with a makeup kit and some pink trim is a tad patronising, while others will no doubt love it. All we'll say is that spending £3000 on top of the DS 3 Elegance model, upon which it is based, is a lot, no matter how great the makeup inside may make you look. 

Matthew Griffiths

DS 3 1.2 Puretech 110 Givenchy Le Makeup

Location Hampshire; On sale Now; Price £19,395; Engine 1199cc, petrol; Power 109bhp; Torque 151lb ft; Gearbox 5-spd manual Kerb weight 1070kg; 0-62mph 9.6sec; Top speed 118mph; Economy 65.7mpg (combined); CO2/tax band 100g/km, 17%

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concinnity 27 July 2016

DS means what?

NJot exactly in the upmarket, or even with Audi.
What is the point of the DS 'brand'?
superstevie 26 July 2016

Not exactly good value for

Not exactly good value for money. 3k more for some new paint, leather seats and make up holder? For that money, I would be getting a Fiesta ST
david RS 26 July 2016

DS3 more fun to drive.

DS3 more fun to drive.