Matt Hubbard reviews the Citroën DS3 Cabrio DSport THP155
The Citroën DS3 is a fine looking car. The Cabrio version looks almost identical so is also a fine looking motor. You see, it's not strictly a cabriolet, instead the fabric roof slides back along the roof rails, hence the similarity in appearance.
To understand how much of a cabriolet it is think Citroën 2CV, which had a fabric roof that rolled back. The DS3's is similar but the roof whirrs back at the touch of a button. It doesn't just stop at the back though, press the button again and the rear window folds out of the way and the roof continues down. Because no part of the roof folds upwards you can open or close it at any speed. This does compromise the function of the boot though which is spacious but the opening is hard to get at.
With the roof fully retracted and the windows down it does feel pretty open and gives you almost everything you'd want from a convertible. The downside is that it is quite noisy at high speed as the roof never fully seals when closed - instead it is stretched tight and held in place. It doesn't flap about or let water in but noise does filter through.
The cabrio aspect of the Cabrio is a success. How about the rest of the car?
The DS3 has been around since 2009 and was face lifted in 2011. It looks fantastic and much more modern and funky than any of its competition. Design touches, such as the tiny DS3 logos in the rear light cluster, the A shaped area of bodywork extending up the B-pillar and the DS logo itself, help bring together a sense of unflustered and unfussy chic.
The DS3 doesn't try to be cool, it just is.
Although if you're a 40-odd year old bloke you might not choose quite so much purple in the interior and the roof.
The interior is modern and, again, rather chic. It's design led so that form doesn't always follow function. The glovebox for example curves around the passenger's knees, forming a flowing line that's rather pleasing to the eye. But open it and only half of it is actually glovebox, whilst the other half is just blank panel. A less curvaceous, and more frumpy, lid would have given more space inside. C'est la vie.
Leave the roof open and a passing magpie would have a field day with all the shiny bits and pieces of chrome and aluminium with parts of the steering wheel, handbrake, gear lever, gear lever surround, dials and various parts of the dash glinting in the sun.
I loved the look of the dash top, the dials and, to be honest, all of the interior. It's not subtle but it is all rather good looking.
Feels good too. The bright purple seats are super comfy and supportive all at the same time. The driving position is spot on and all the tactile surfaces feel as good, as they should be for nearly £20k.
The infotainment system has a couple of flaws. It does Bluetooth but not digital radio. Given that target buyers of the DS3 Cabrio are on the younger side this is a silly omission. Similarly the satnav doesn't do postcodes. Might as well not include a satnav if you're not going to include postcodes.
The engine is a turbocharged 1.6 litre petrol with 155bhp and 177lb ft of torque. The gearbox is a 6-speed manual.
Could the DS3 Cabrio for all its glitziness be a proper driver's car?
It's not too far off. The engine is plenty good enough. It sounds OK and has plenty of pull once the turbo spools up. Use the gearbox and keep it on the boil and it's quite fast - 0-60 takes 8.2 seconds, and it certainly feels fast with lots of oomph when you want it.
The turbo can feel as though it's lost some pressure when you suddenly floor the throttle after cruising - it takes a moment for the engine to respond. This doesn't intrude on the experience and probably returns a few extra mpg.
The gearbox is better than average but you can get a bit lost when changing down through the gears. Sometimes it doesn't like going into gear when changing down in anger.
The steering and chassis are great. I recorded a video whilst taking the DS3 Cabrio round my favourite roads and said the word 'fun' far too many times.
This could be because it really is fun. The suspension is set on the softer side of boy racer. The steering feels sharp and fluid and the car can be accurately controlled when flying around quiet country lanes, but it does roll a tad and never cocks a wheel in the air.
The controls all feel light and, with it's easy going yet refined chassis, make the DS3 Cabrio a great driver's car for anyone.
The Citroën DS3 Cabrio DSport is a great little car. I liked it a lot.
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