Citroen DS3: Final report

Not even heavy rain can put a dampener on our farewell to the stylish French hatch after a year of super service

  • The leather seats in our Citroen are some of the most comfortable I’ve experienced for a long time. Their heavily bolstered sides provide plenty of lateral support and hold you firmly in place on the twisty roads that the car loves so much. And the engine also enjoys being worked hard.
  • I feel like a broken record... but the sat-nav system is so outdated. Whether you’re trying to input a destination or follow its directions, the route-finding kit in the Citroen is below par. Other cabin bugbears include the lack of cup-holders and the fact the seats don’t come with a heating function.

It never rains but it pours! As if dealing with the miserable British weather hasn’t been bad enough this summer, my mood has been made even darker than the clouds overhead by a looming date in my diary.

The problem is with our long-term DS3. Or rather, the fact that the sporty hatchback’s time on the Auto Express fleet is at an end. By the time you read this, our Citroen will be back with its maker, and I’ll have nothing but fond memories of it.

So how did the past 12 months pan out for RV10 OSP? Well, from the moment our DSport model arrived it has proven a big hit.

The fun with any DS3 starts before you even get the keys, because ordering one allows you to select from a huge array of options. I had the privilege of choosing the colour combination and specification of our model, and I think that I deserve a pat on the back – the car’s two-tone colour scheme has always attracted positive comments.

Impressive road manners come as standard, too, and that’s still the case a year down the line. The suspension takes broken surfaces and potholed roads on the chin, and although the ride is firm, it’s not so bad that it rattles your teeth loose.

The DS3 really comes into its own on twisty roads, where the lively acceleration, responsive steering and agile handling make it hard to beat. And the gearshift still feels as precise as it did on the day the Citroen arrived – that’s a brilliant achievement considering the heavy use our example has had.

A year spent on the Auto Express fleet is no easy task for any car. During its time with us, RV10 OSP has been pitted against some of the biggest hitters in the industry, taking part in no fewer than three separate group tests. Yet it was placed first on every occasion. It has also been used in several features, including a head-to-head with its pricey DS3 Racing stablemate.

There have been a few blots in its copybook, but nothing to put off potential buyers. We had to fork out for a new windscreen (£845), while living with unheated leather seats and making do with no cup-holders has been irritating. 

The dealer experience hasn’t been brilliant (I struggled to even make a service booking), and the sat-nav isn’t as intuitive as others on the market. But the rest of the car is so good, it’s easy to overlook these shortcomings.

As an ownership proposition, the Citroen does face stiff competition from other mainstream brands, as well as Audi and MINI, but you can anticipate decent resale values. Our forecasts predict the DSport will retain 41 per cent of its value after three years and 30,000 miles. And our year-old example is currently worth £13,775 in part-exchange, which is pretty good. Fuel economy of 35.5mpg won’t break the bank, either.

So with the rain pouring down outside, it’s with a tear in my eye that I must wave goodbye to the DS for the last time. And when the man from Citroen comes to collect the keys, I will politely ask if I can take a rain-check...

Extra Info

“The DSport is the flagship of the DS3 line-up, and it’s also the most appealing choice. Lesser petrol models miss out on our car’s sweet six-speed gearbox. It looks good, too; just steer clear of garish colour choices.”

Ross Pinnock, Road Test Editor

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