What is it?
It’s the newly relaunched DS 3, which, like the DS 4 and DS 5 before it, has shed its Citroën branding and completes the standalone DS brand’s line-up. It’s the same three-door, C3-based hatch and Cabrio as before, but the nose has been sharpened and embellished to toe the DS corporate line, trim levels have been totally revised and include better basic kit, and two new engines have been introduced.
We’ll have to wait a few weeks to drive the new 207bhp 1.6 THP engine in the upcoming Performance model (think DS 3 Racing-lite), but this is our first chance for a steer of the Puretech 130 - a perkier tune of the DS 3’s existing 1.2-litre turbo three-pot - that has the Mini Cooper firmly in its sights.
Our car was the tin-top in Prestige spec - third of the six new trim levels - although the Puretech 130 is also available in cheaper Elegance trim.
What's it like?
The car’s nose is certainly bolder than before, but whether or not it’s better is your call. Inside, meanwhile, there's a new and responsive central 7.0in touchscreen, and the resultant de-cluttering of the centre console (it has 20 fewer buttons on it) make it look much cleaner. There have also been improvements to materials, but most are hidden away.
There’s plenty of style in the cabin, but only the dash top is made of soft-touch plastic, and there are quite a few moulding seams on show. Other bugbears remain with the control stalks being hidden away behind the steering wheel and the shortage of cup holders, but the driving position and control ergonomics are otherwise sound.
A six-footer sitting behind another will find kneeroom and headroom compromised, but space is reasonable for the class; there’s room for a very small fifth occupant, and the boot holds a decent 285 litres, extending to 980 with the 60/40-split rear seats folded.
While the new engine matches the Mini Cooper’s 134bhp 1.5 turbo three-poty for emissions (105g/km) and combined economy (62.8mpg), the Puretech 130’s official figures have it a second slower to 62mph, at 8.9sec.