Whether the roof is open or closed the all-new Citroen DS3 Cabrio looks great

Whether the roof is open or closed the all-new Citroen DS3 Cabrio looks great

Citroen runs two different ranges in its ‘3’ sized small cars. One consisting of practical vehicles, the other, the DS3 range, provided the stylish flair for which the French are famed.

The cabriolet version of the DS3 is the newest model and we have just come to the end of an enjoyable week of open-top motoring in our home base on the Gold Coast.

The styling feature of the Citroen DS3 that people want to talk about is the kick-up in the bodywork at the B-pillar, but the nose and tail treatments have plenty of shape as well. The overall effect is of a cheeky small car that just loves to cruise.

Citroen DS3 Cabrio D-Style runs on 16-inch alloy wheels, has cruise control, an audio with a full range of connections, interior mood lighting, and an aromatic air freshener.
The Citroen DS3 Sport has 17-inch black-alloy wheels, satellite navigation, a carbon-look dashboard, an upgraded sound system, chrome-tipped twin exhausts.

Citroen has established a special ‘D-Zone’ in showrooms where buyers can choose from a wide range of personalised accessories, colours and trims. This has a relaxed lounge-room like setting.

As personalised items are added on the computer the buyer is given an estimated delivery date for the car. Should they find the time is stretching too far into the future they can modify the choices to bring things under control. Even so, it’s unlikely delivery will stretch beyond four months.

A real advantage of a cabriolet when compared to a convertible is the lack of windrush in the interior. That’s because the sides of the car remain as in the standard body. My partner Julie (who already owns a stylish Fiat 500 by Gucci cabriolet, and loved the DS3 Cabrio) is delighted that she can blow dry her hair then jump into a cabrio with the roof fully open and remain as stylish as ever.

Should the weather turn bad the roof can be closed while the DS3 Cabrio is travelling at any speed below 120 km/h.

Headroom in the front of the Citroen DS3 is good, but that in the rear is marginal for adults. There’s reasonable legroom in the back, though it’s probably best left for children. Backseat width is limited and three adults would find it pretty cramped.

Boot space is quite good for a small cabriolet, however the poor design of the bootlid means it’s impossible to get bulky items through the narrow slot it leaves. My standard airline cabin bag could get in – but only just.

The DS3 Cabrio D-Sport we reviewed has a turbocharged 1.6-litre petrol engine producing 115 kW of power, and torque of 240 Nm from 1400 to 4000 revs. It drives through a six-speed manual gearbox.

Citroen DS3 Cabrio D-Style has a 1.6-litre 88 kW engine and four-speed automatic transmission.

Handling is very good for a front-drive car and remains pretty neutral until very hard cornering is tackled. Steering feedback is positive and we like the way the Citroen DS3 cabrio is happy to change direction in a nimble fashion.

While the seats have a sporty look the distance between the bolsters is rather wide, so they don’t offer as much support as we like.

With the roof opened all the way vision to the rear is completely blocked. Not a problem for driving if you’ve adjusted the door mirrors correctly, but a pain when reversing into tight spots.

When driving in a spirited manner, the turbocharged petrol engine in the little Citroen D-Sport sings along nicely and is reasonably responsive after the initial turbo lag has passed. It’s happy to rev, though it generally makes sense to hold higher gears to take advantage of the thick area of the torque band.

During steady acceleration in traffic situations the engine has a mind of its own at times and can give you more performance than your right foot has requested.

During the launch of the DS3 cabriolet we also tested the non-turbo engine with its four-speed automatic and felt it was on the sluggish side. Try before you buy if you enjoy driving, but those who cruise and love stylish cars will probably find it easily meets their needs.

A full suite of safety gear is installed in the Citroen DS3 range, including six airbags, resulting in a five-star rating in crash testing.

Citroen’s pretty little DS3 cabriolet is a fun machine that can be highly personalised to let you choose your share of French flair. The ability to run with the roof open without getting blown about is a big plus.


DS3 D-Style 1.6-litre three-door hatch: $30,990 (automatic)
DS3 D-Sport 1.6-litre three-door hatch: $32,990 (manual)
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your local Citroen dealer for driveaway prices.

ABS Brakes: Standard in both models
Automatic Transmission: Standard in DStyle, not offered in DSport
Cruise Control: Standard in both models
Dual Front Airbags: Standard in both models
Front Side Airbags: Standard in both models
Electronic Stability Program: Standard in both models
Rear Parking Sensors: Standard in both models
Reversing Camera: Not offered
USB/Auxiliary Audio Inputs: USB optional, Auxiliary standard in both models
Satellite Navigation: Standard in DSport, optional in DStyle
Bluetooth: Standard in both models

SPECIFICATIONS (Citroen DS3 D-Sport 1.6-litre three-door hatch)

Capacity: 1.598 litres
Configuration: Four cylinders in line
Head Design: DOHC, four valves per cylinder
Compression Ratio: 10.5:1
Bore/Stroke: 77.0 mm x 85.0 mm
Maximum Power: 115 kW @ 4600 rpm
Maximum Torque: 240 Nm @ 1400-4000 rpm

Driven Wheels: Front
Manual Transmission: Six-speed (DSport)
Automatic Transmission: Four-speed (DStyle)
Final Drive Ratio: NA

Length: 3948 mm
Wheelbase: 2464 mm
Width (with mirrors): 1994 mm
Height: 1483 mm
Turning Circle: 10.4 metres
Kerb Mass: 1231 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 50 litres
Towing Ability: 570 kg (1150 kg with braked trailer)
Boot Capacity: 245 litres (980 litres with rear seatbacks lowered)

Front Suspension: Pseudo MacPherson struts
Rear Suspension: Flexible rear axle
Front Brakes: Ventilated disc
Rear Brakes: Disc

0-100 km/h Acceleration: Not available

Type: Petrol 95RON
Combined Cycle (ADR 81/02): 5.9 L/100km

Greenhouse Rating: 8/10
Air Pollution Rating: 8.5/10

Three years/100,000 km

About Ewan Kennedy

Ewan Kennedy, a long-time car enthusiast, was Technical Research Librarian with the NRMA from 1970 until 1985. He worked part-time as a freelance motoring journalist from 1977 until 1985, when he took a full-time position as Technical Editor with Modern Motor magazine. Late in 1987 he left to set up a full-time business as a freelance motoring journalist. Ewan is an associate member of the Society of Automotive Engineers - International. An economy driving expert, he set the Guinness World Record for the greatest distance travelled in a standard road vehicle on a single fuel fill. He lists his hobbies as stage acting, travelling, boating and reading.
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