DS 3 review - Engines, performance and drive
The DS 3 is nimble around town, but far from exciting when you hit the open road
Just like a number of its Citroen siblings, the DS 3 has been developed with comfort in mind, rather than sportiness. It’s relatively light on its feet, with soft, compliant suspension and reasonable refinement. It isn’t the most engaging small SUV, however; the Ford Puma sets the benchmark for this class in that respect, but even the Peugeot 2008, with which the DS shares its basic platform, feels sharper to drive.
The DS 3 is better suited to smaller city streets, we feel, because faster driving really is not its forte. There aren’t many thrills to be had, either, given that the light steering is devoid of feeling, although it does make this small SUV easy to manoeuvre around town.
The DS 3 comes with the option of a frugal 1.2-litre 3-cylinder petrol or fully-electric power. If you’re going to go with petrol power, the PureTech 130 is the pick of the bunch. It’s the more powerful version of the turbocharged 1.2-litre three-pot that revs cleanly and even sounds a little sporty. We did find the 8-speed automatic gearbox that’s paired with the PureTech 130 engine can feel a bit sluggish at higher speeds but it’s fine when in town.
Car group tests
Meanwhile the electric DS 3 E-Tense doesn’t leap forward or pin you back in your seat like the fastest EVs we’ve tested. Instead it feels more natural when accelerating, with similar off-the-line progression to a petrol DS 3 with an automatic transmission.
0-62mph acceleration and top speed
There is the choice of either a 1.2-litre three cylinder petrol engine or an all-electric powertrain available in the DS 3. The petrol engine range kicks off with the PureTech 100 that produces 99bhp, is paired with a six-speed manual gearbox and is only available in the base Performance Line spec. 0-62mph in this DS 3 takes 10.9 seconds, while the top speed stands at 112mph.
Upgrading to the PureTech 130 bumps the DS 3’s power output up to 128bhp and 230Nm of torque, and adds the eight-speed auto ‘box we mentioned earlier. The 0-62mph time also drops to 9.2 seconds, and top speed goes up to 124mph.
Unlike some EVs, the DS 3 E-Tense isn’t that much faster than its petrol-powered counterparts. The single electric motor that drives the front wheels (just as in the PureTech 100 and 130 editions) produces 154bhp and 260Nm, but due to the extra weight of the 54kWh battery pack, this version takes nine seconds to hit 62mph. It then maxes out at a limited top speed of 93mph.
In this review
- 1DS 3 reviewThe DS 3 is a left-field choice in the small premium SUV segment, and one that’s been developed with comfort in mind
- 2Engines, performance and drive - currently readingThe DS 3 is nimble around town, but far from exciting when you hit the open road
- 3MPG, CO2 and Running CostsRunning costs for the DS 3 should be good whether you go for petrol or electric power
- 4Interior, design and technologyIt’s boldly designed but the DS 3 doesn’t quite have the substance to back up its style
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceThe DS 3’s focus on style means practicality is compromised versus rivals
- 6Reliability and SafetyThe DS 3 redeems itself with great safety credentials but reliability is still largely untested