I'm running a Citroën DS3 Cabrio DSport THP155 manual for a week. Here are my initial impressions.
The last Citroën I drove was my own battleship grey BX back in the mid-90s. It was rather lovely in a strange way, and its hydropneumatic suspension ended up costing me a fortune. Ever since then my impression of Citroëns has been one of less zany and more boring and rattly, the mollusc shell shaped Xsara Picasso being a particular low point.
But when I was organising a run of convertible press cars for the spring I decided to ask Citroën if they would lend me one, pretty please. They said yes. Hurrah!
Said car arrived last Wednesday. It's silver with black touches and a purple roof. Misconception number one was immediately dispelled, it looks great. The overall shape is easier on the eye than a Fiesta, Corsa, 208 or pretty much any supermini. The exterior touches are nice, the little DS logos embedded in the rear lights are super-funkylicious, the horizontal DRLs in the edge of the front bumper look groovy.
Despite the Austin Powers-esque adjectives the DS3 is definitely not a dad dancing car (as many Vauxhalls are) but is as cool as cucumber. If you disagree then you probably do dad dance.
The interior is a riot of stylised design and touches with bang up to date flair that absolutely works.
My son has sat in dozens of press cars and rates it higher than anything he's been in before. He likes the glovebox (I don't, it's tiny), the seats (so do I - purple bits, Alcantara bits, funny string-back bits), dash trim (I do too, it's shiny!), arm rest (I don't, it's annoyingly in the way of the handbrake), steering wheel (I do too), dials (I do, although the engine temperature dial is in a silly place), door handles (agree with him on that one) and gear knob (yep, same here).
He doesn't drive (he's only 11) so he doesn't know that the pedals are too close to the driver, no matter how well the steering wheel and seat adjust. Otherwise the driving position is comfortable. The car has cruise control to save ankle-ache on a long run.
The DS3 Cabrio is a cabriolet in a rather loose sense. The fabric roof whirrs back and leaves the car open to the elements but it isn't really a full convertible. It does, however engender a sense of space and openness so psychologically it succeeds as a cabriolet.
The only downside is that the boot is rather ridiculous. As you can see in the photo the boot lid lifts up and sort of away. This renders it difficult to actually get anything in it. A bottom hinged boot, à la the original Mini, would have been a better solution.
The 155bhp engine is surprisingly zingy and up-for-it. It's quite a fast car, and the light 6-speed gearbox is pretty slick so enthusiastic driving is but a stomp on the throttle away. It does torque steer quite a lot and swift acceleration finds the steering wheel bucking this way and that.
The steering is light and the chassis pretty good. The DS3 is a good hustler on the back roads.
On the road and you'll need some entertainment. The car has FM, bluetooth and auxiliary and CD and the sound from the speakers is good. Spot the missing words, that's right it has no digital radio. This is a huge void in a car designed for moneyed youngsters.
It might have a purple roof and not be exactly the most masculine of cars but I'm enjoying the Citroën DS3 Cabrio. I'll report back with a full road test soon.
Price - £19,845 (£21,490 as tested)
Engine - 1.6 litre, inline-4, petrol
Transmission - 6-speed manual
0-60mph - 8.2 seconds
Top Speed - 132 mph
Power - 155 bhp
Torque - 177 lb ft
Economy - 47.9 mpg
CO2 - 137 g/km
Kerb Weight - 1,250kg
By Matt Hubbard