From £15,2157
The new soft-top Citroën DS3 delivers a surprisingly charming and enjoyable alternative to the likes of the Mini convertible
Autocar
3 April 2013

What is it?

The Citroen DS3 Cabrio, with its full-length folding fabric roof, harks back to the days of the 2CV. Fortunately, for us, that’s about all that it has in common with the iconic but agricultural French fancy.

Externally, the DS3 features lots of neat styling touches, such as the eminently recognisable front LED lights, and the end result is a distinctive-looking car.

Push a button and the roof folds to one of three positions quickly and quietly; unlike other convertibles, the majority of the car’s structure remains, so it’s more refined and rigid.

What's it like?

Under the bonnet sits a 1.6-litre four-pot turbocharged petrol engine that whistles and pops its way to 154bhp and 177lb ft. It’s no slouch and suffers minimal lag, allowing the DS3 to surge along merrily without being unwieldy or overly aggressive.

With a kerb weight of 1250kg, the DS3 feels suitably light on its feet, aided by relatively precise steering and smooth controls. The ride is firm but not uncomfortable and the handling is composed and assured.

The DS3's comfortable interior is relatively unchanged from the hatchback, with myriad gloss trims and snug seats. Rear visibility and space isn’t great, but the stylish Citroen is moderately practical for a small cabriolet. 

Out on the road, with the roof closed, the cabin is quiet. Retract the top and the DS3's interior remains comfortable, although at motorway speeds both the noise level and buffeting increase considerably - but not to an unpleasant extent. 

Equipment levels on the DSport Plus model are good, with standard kit including climate control, cruise control, a speed limiter, Bluetooth and USB connectivity, electronic stability control, a trip computer, electric windows and a steering wheel that adjusts for both height and reach.

One particularly refreshing detail is the lack of any wheel-mounted controls, which are instead attached to the column on a separate stalk, leaving the steering wheel clean and uncluttered.

Should I buy one?

The DS3 Cabrio is a genuinely enjoyable overall package. That alone makes it worth considering alongside more established rivals like the Mini Convertible and Fiat 500C.

While it might lack the full-on convertible experience, due to its enclosed cabin, the Citroen's good refinement, practicality and ease of use easily compensate for that shortfall.

It shouldn't prove costly to run either. The 1.6-litre engine is efficient, the service intervals are 20,000 miles apart and a standard three year, 60,000-mile warranty should keep unexpected bills to a minimum.

Those seeking the most engaging drive, however, might want to consider the Mazda MX-5.

Lewis Kingston

Citroën DS3 Cabrio DSport Plus THP 155 

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Price £21,145; 0-62mph 8.2sec; Top speed 132mph; Economy 47.9mpg; CO2 137g/km; Kerb weight 1250kg; Engine 4cyls, 1598cc, turbo, petrol; Power 154bhp at 6000rpm; Torque 177lb ft at 1400rpm; Gearbox 6-spd manual

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MikeSpencer 6 April 2013

Each to their own

I agree with the previous comments, glad to see an alternative to the default VAG take on four-seat cabrios. The DS3 cabrio is certainly not styled to my tastes, but I'm glad both it and Citroen still exist all the same. At the risk of sounding dreadfully pretentious, a famous French philosopher once said, 'I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it.'.

catnip 4 April 2013

Yet again we see a test of

Yet again we see a test of the top DSport model of the DS3. Citroen themselves say the big seller will be the DStyle, but they seem to hardly ever offer that version to  be reviewed. From what I've read in the press, and owners reviews, there is a big difference between the way the DSport and DStyle models drive, with regard to engine, gearbox, and handling, with everyone saying the Sport is far superior. The classifieds are full of new and nearly new DStyle plus models, so Citroen are certainly supplying that model to the market, but even though the DS3 has neen on sale for a few years now its hard to find a review of this popular trim level.

BenC30 3 April 2013

@Ant. Indeed!

@Ant. Indeed! £38k for the top of the range Golf is rather tacky!

Ant 3 April 2013

Yeah the R Cabriolet is a bit

Yeah the R Cabriolet is a bit of a white elephant