DS 3 (2009-2019) review - Reliability and Safety

Good general reliability but the odd electrical niggle can still arise. Safety score was good in 2009

Overall Auto Express Rating

3.0 out of 5

Reliability and Safety Rating

3.2 out of 5

Representative Example - Personal Contract Purchase: Cash Price £10,000.00, Deposit £1500.00, borrowing £8,500.00 over 4 years at 7.4% Representative APR (fixed). 47 monthly payments of £132.04 followed by a final payment of £4127.50. Total cost of credit £1833.38. Total amount payable £11,833.38. Based on 8,000 miles per annum. Excess mileage charges apply if exceeded. Finance subject to status 18+ only.

The DS 3 is a stylish premium supermini that’s based on well-proven mechanicals used across the Peugeot and Citroen range. It’s Driver Power 2016 rating was a reasonable 72nd place, which is by far the best in DS’s range.

Despite this, the survey results paint a below-par picture for overall reliability and build quality, particularly the latter. It seems owners find the cheaper bits of the interior disappointing – the premium bits on top can’t mask this in day-to-day use.

The DS 3 earned a full five-star Euro NCAP safety score in 2009, with 87% for adult protection and 71% for child protection. However, the 2009 test wasn't as strict as it is now. It is unlikely the DS 3 would score the same today – and even then, its meagre 35% rating for pedestrian safety wasn’t great.

At least Active City Brake autonomous braking technology is fitted as standard across the range. This is a worthwhile modern safety feature that will help bring the car to a halt from up to 18mph.


A conventional three-year, 60,000-mile warranty is offered on the DS 3, in line with its rivals. You can extend this through a DS dealer for an extra one or two years at low cost (prices start from just over £300); DS also offers a full 12-year anti-corrosion warranty, for long-term peace of mind. 

Impressively, three years’ DS Automobiles roadside assistance is included as standard on all DS 3 models. 


DS used to offer long service intervals on the DS 3, but it seems these have been cut back a bit in recent years as the engines have become more powerful and efficient. Now, the guidance is routine servicing every 16,000 miles or one year, instead of 20,000 miles and two years.

The firm will have been careful to ensure costs aren’t significantly higher though – and the safety benefits of more regular checkovers will be worthwhile, too.

Most Popular

DS 4 vs Audi A3: 2022 twin test review
DS 4 and Audi A3: Both cars front tracking
Car group tests

DS 4 vs Audi A3: 2022 twin test review

Audi’s A3 may be the benchmark in the premium hatchback class, but DS wants to challenge that status with its new 4
13 Aug 2022
New 2022 MG7 could be a cut-price Audi A5
MG 7 - side

New 2022 MG7 could be a cut-price Audi A5

The new MG7 saloon has been teased ahead of its August reveal
8 Aug 2022
New Nissan Ariya 2022 review
Nissan Ariya - front
Road tests

New Nissan Ariya 2022 review

The entry-level version of the award-winning Nissan Ariya has a 250-mile range
15 Aug 2022