DS 3 Prestige

BlueDHi 120

DS3, side
DS3, front
DS3, front
DS3, rear
DS3, rear
DS3, interior
DS3, Paris motif
DS3, rear
DS3, interior

WHEN Citroen launched its snazzy DS3 complete with shark fin and floating roof back in 2010 we Brits snapped up the opportunity to own the charismatic and stylish Parisian supermini.

In fact, the UK is the leading market for the hip and funky car with 390,000 customers succumbing to its charm.

So, when the DS Automobiles brand became independent from Citroen two years ago, we waited with bated breath to see just how the car could be improved upon further.

And they have not let us down.

Gone are any indication or reference to Citroen - there is not a chevron to be seen. In their place are distinctive DS design cues that we have seen on recent DS 4 and DS 5 models.

There is what the company describes as DS Wings that are sculpted around a vertically-oriented grille that proudly wears the DS emblem.

The grille has a chrome surround and extends to the LED headlights and fog lamps via two chrome finished wings.

Even so, the DS 3 design DNA is still there with the striking 'floating' roof, two-tone paint jobs and 'shark fin' style cues on the sides.

The likes of 3D effect rear lights, twin tailpipes, tinted rear windows, a rear spoiler and 17-inch black diamond alloys complete the look of the three-door DS 3.

Move inside and there is a perfect mix of elegance, technology and creature comforts to be explored.

Features include black leather seats with neat contest stitching, interior mood lighting, a soft touch dashboard, seven-inch touchscreen, a six-speaker sound system with DAB radio, sat nav, a flat-bottomed multi-function steering wheel, Bluetooth connectivity and Mirror Screen to connect your smartphone be it Apple or android.

This particular car also featured some stand-out artwork known as the Irresistible Paris Kit costing £150 which adds smart Parisian landscapes to the vehicle's rear windows and the dashboard.

It was powered by a 1.6-litre 120bhp diesel powertrain mated to a six-speed manual transmission and can sprint from 0-62mph in 9.3 seconds (it feels faster) onto a top speed of 118mph.

According to official figures the DS 3 can return combined fuel economy of 78.5mpg with carbon emissions of 94g/km.

It's these last two figures that really make you stand up and listen because despite being incredibly dynamic in its looks and handling, this particular DS 3 is exceptionally economical to run and own. The asking price is £19,495 (£21,590 with options).

In and around congested town centres the car was a delight to drive with good all-round visibility and parking is made all the simpler thanks to the numerous sensors.

Out on country lanes, the DS 3 bursts into life. The acceleration through the gears is smooth and responsive with ample power on tap when short bursts of speed are necessary.

Road-holding is very assured and the steering beautifully precise.

There was a little engine noise when pushed hard, but apart from that the cabin remained well insulated against any other sounds.

Comfort levels are high with the front seat passenger benefitting from a vast amount of legroom. It is a little tight in the back but no more restricting than other supermini models.

Storage options are good with a nicely sized boot which can be increased in capacity by dropping the split-folding rear seats flat.

There is a good sized glovebox and decent door pockets. But my one real gripe was the lack of any cup holder facility.

Apparently customers can choose between cup holders or a central armrest. This car was fitted with the armrest which, to be truthful, got in the way of the handbrake.

But that minor gripe aside, the new DS 3 is the complete package.

FAST FACTS

DS 3 Prestige BlueDHi 120

Price:£19,495

Mechanical:120bhp, 1,560cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed:118mph

0-62mph:9.3 seconds

Combined MPG:78.5

Insurance Group: 26

C02 emissions:94g/km

Bik rating:15%

Warranty:3yrs/60,000 miles

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