Citroen DS3 Airdream

We drive the stylish new Citroen DS3 Airdream, which gets design tweaks and increased power

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

The upgraded DS3 diesel is just about the best all-rounder in Citroen’s plush supermini range. It’s good to drive, as well as comfortable, well equipped and economical. But while it has plenty of appeal, it’s a shame the brand didn’t give the car a price that’s more competitive with rival models such as the Fiesta or MINI Cooper D.

Citroen has made some changes to the DS3 range for 2013, with the 1.6-litre e-HDi diesel getting a power boost from 108bhp to 113bhp. In the eco-tuned DS3 Airdream driven here, that ensures 0-62mph in under 10 seconds, as well as claimed economy of 74mpg-plus and sub-100g/km CO2 emissions.

The hatch didn’t need many visual tweaks, but the brand has freshened it up with ‘infinity’ LED brake lights and the choice of our test car’s Ruby Red paint, along with some new interior options.

Citroen is a dab hand at small diesels, and this one is quiet and smooth. A fast-acting stop-start system stirs the engine back to life quickly, and the slick six-speed gearbox makes it easy to surf the engine’s 270Nm and exploit the nippy 9.7-second 0-62mph time.

While this DS3 is fitted with relatively large 17-inch alloys, the ride is good, managing to deal with rough surfaces around town. The steering is light and direct, too, making the car easy to thread through traffic and rewarding on a twisty B-road.

The cabin feels well built, while the seats almost seem too big for the car and offer excellent comfort. Yet there’s a price to pay for the DS3’s all-round abilities – £17,610 to be exact.

A 123bhp Ford Fiesta 1.0-litre EcoBoost is sharper, more powerful, just as clean and – in range-topping Titanium X trim – £1,165 cheaper.

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