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by Brett Davis

It’s been a few years in the making but Citroen has finally released the exciting new Citroen DS3, and it’s now available down under.

Miles Williams, general manager for Citroen Australia, recently spoke about the introduction of the model, saying,

“The DS3 is a bold, definitive statement of intent for Citroen and a confident step in the opposite direction to its main competitors; it brings a real alternative to a market sector dominated by retro designs. DS3 is about modernity, creativity, individual style and a driving experience packed with personality.”

Even though some of Williams’ spiel is typical marketing claptrap, most elements of the car’s supposed philosophy are true. Citroen says that the DS3 is ‘anti-retro’, in that it takes an all-new, modern approach to design and function which could easily turn it into a future classic.

Rival cars in the market sector – the Mini Cooper, the Renault Clio and the Fiat 500 – are all trying to be something they used to be. The Mini, for example, is an excellent car, don’t get us wrong, but it’s like the original in some respects; twitchy and bumpy, plucky and even humorous on certain levels.

The new DS3, as referenced by evo magazine in the UK – who have driven and compared all four – say the DS3 uses ‘lighter steering and serene suspension,’ and ‘feels nonchalant and grown-up’ compared to the Mini. They also say the DS3 feels more connected to the road than it’s rivals during turns, especially on bumpy roads.

The Mini, the Fiat 500 and the Renault Clio are all great tools for seeking attention. But the DS3 steps into the market with a slightly more, typically Citroen (French), arty presence. Take the reversed ‘shark fin’ B-pillar, the ‘floating’ roof (prominent black pillars which make the roof look detached when colour-coded), the ever-so-popular LEDs slotted down each corner of the front bumper for instance – all these features are every modern element in car design, packaged together into one car.

Citroen says the car has been awarded a five-star NCAP rating, too, so it’s not just an ice-brittle art exhibit. It offers all the usual safety acronyms such as stability control (ESP) and emergency brake assist and electronic brake distribution (EBA and EBD). The car also features six airbags and a reinforced body structure.

We’re very excited about this car. It has it’s own identity and it’s not trying to compete with the rivals, by being a rival. Civilised comfort is merged together with modern technology and a zippy yet frugal performance underpinning. Speaking of which, the DS3 comes with a 1.6-litre turbocharged engine (similar to the Mini Cooper S), outputting 115kW. There’s also an 88kW non-turbocharged engine on offer.

The 88kW engine comes in automatic transmission form while the 115kW is offered with a six-speed manual. Both engines are differentiated by trim levels; DStyle and DSport, respectively.

Inside there’s seating for five adults, USB and iPod compatibility and an eight-speaker in-car entertainment system. There’s also 285-litres of boot space which compares well to the Fiat 500’s 185-litres, the Mini Cooper’s 160-litres and only beaten by the Renault Clio’s 288-litres.

Pricing for the Citroen DS3 DStyle starts at $32,990 and $35,990 for the DSport. It really is a bargain and a very worthy option that anyone in the market should seriously consider.

Overall, it’s a great-looking modern hatch, backed by a good price tag and a well-equipped cabin and engine compartment. Phat, as they say in Europe.




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