Since the C4 first featured the steering wheel with a solid middle Citroens have been getting funkier, whether it be to your taste or not. The Citroen DS3 is no exception and it is certainly a striking bit of design.
It is quite a good looking car. At the centre of super-minis now is the need for funky styling, useable interiors and lots of juicy tech to get your hands on. So instantly the new DS3 ticks all the boxes. The grill is nothing out of the ordinary and almost bares resemblance to that of the latest Mitsubishis. The attention is very much focused on the two LED sidelights which are on either side. They add a touch of glass which we first saw on the German executive saloons, even if it is at a bit of an extra cost. The feature that Citroen want us to make a fuss of is the new ‘shark fin’ B pillar. It is the unique bit of design which featured on the concept as well. It gives the illusion of a ‘floating roof’ and a more flowing design. Past this however, the design features that Citroen boasts about are hardly unique. Most notably the two tone roof and body paint job is a big deal for the new super mini. But it is not new; I think it was started by this cars biggest rival, the Mini, don’t you?
This car is all about customisation. The interior design reflects this clearly. To start with you can choose what colour you want the gloriously shiny dash. Then make you way to the upholstery, where there are far more choices for combinations than almost any other car in the market today. This does mean that your Citroen does feel like your car, not just one off the production line. The layout however is perhaps a bit disappointing. Sure enough the whole of the steering wheel moves, and the centre dash is a bit ordinary really. It is a shame to see that the funky design of the outside has not been continued on the interior. It is nowhere near as interesting as the Mini’s huge centre speedo and retro switches.
The power is where the DS3 redeems itself a little bit. The range starts with a 95bhp 1.4 litre and tops with a brilliant turbo 1.6 churning out 150bhp. This is a tuned version of the engine available in the Mini Cooper and is from BMW so you can expect it to be nice and smooth. Citroen has coupled this with a new, very slick 6 speed gear box, making the drive train one of the qualities which could see it up and above its rivals.
The Citroen DS3 is good effort from the French car maker. It is a nice design with quirky features such as the shark fin B pillar and the floating roof. A surprisingly average interior brings the car down a bit and in my opinion, whilst the power is good, it is not enough to bring it above its main rival, the Mini Cooper. It is a good alternative and it is nice to see a hatch to provide some decent competition to the Mini’s monopoly of the Market.