Citroen ds3 gets even funkier

Fascinating styling of the very French Citroen DS3 is enhanced by its fully opening roof.


Keen to enhance its image as a marque that produces passionate cars, Citroen has added a cabriolet to its DS3 range – which is exactly what we need in our wonderful country as spring gets closer by the day.

Priced from $30,990 (plus on roads) the Citroen cabriolet is more expensive than its only real competitor, the Fiat 500 cabriolet, which starts in the low twenties. However, the DS3 is larger, with more interior space and a good sized boot. John Startari, the new chief of Citroen in Australia sees the Mini convertible as another competitor. However, the British open-top car is closer to $40,000 and doesn’t offer the same versatility of roof operation as the French and Italian cabriolets.

All of which means the Citroen is operating in a wide niche when it comes to pricing. Well aware of this, Startari is about to embark on a major marketing campaign. One with plenty of French flair and cheekiness (Dare we say, it has a touch of sexiness?)

A real advantage of a cabriolet – as opposed to a convertible – is the lack of windrush in the interior because the sides of the car remain as in the standard body.

Ladies report that they can blow dry their hair then jump into the car with the roof fully open without undoing all the work they have just put into their coiffure.

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

Unlike the Fiat and Mini, the Citroen doesn’t use retro styling as a major selling feature. Indeed, the company says its ‘anti-retro’ and wants it cars to be futuristic.

The biggest styling feature of the Citroen DS3 is the kick-up in the bodywork at the B-pillar. Now the addition of a folding roof, combined with a big range of accessories let owners of the cabriolet challenge convention in their car’s appearance.

To enable buyers to let their imaginations soar, Citroen has established a special ‘D-Zone’ in showrooms where owners can ‘commission’ their new babies. This has a relaxed lounge-room like setting where a big range of options and accessories is displayed or viewable on screens.

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.

Two standard models are on offer; the DS3 Cabrio D-Style, which has a 1.6-litre 88 kW engine and four-speed automatic transmission, 16-inch alloy wheels, cruise control, audio with a full range of connections, interior mood lighting, and an aromatic air freshener as part of the climate-control system.

The DS3 Cabrio D-Sport has a turbocharged 1.6 petrol engine, producing 115 kW of power and a wide-spread of torque ,sitting at 240 Nm from 1400 to 4000 revs, driving through a six-speed manual gearbox. There are 17-inch black-alloy wheels, satellite navigation, a carbon-look dashboard, an upgraded sound system, chrome-tipped twin exhausts.


Where else would you launch a cheeky cabriolet like the Citroen DS3 but on the Gold Coast? After an extensive French dinner and a night in a French hotel, the Sofitel, Citroen took us on a drive program through the streets of the busy Gold Coast then up into the hilly hinterland behind the glittering beach strip.

Headroom in the front 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. Similarly, though it’s set up as five-seater, seat width is limited and three adults would find it pretty cramped.

Our brightly coloured Citroen convoy certainly attracted the attention of bystanders and other motorists, showing the stylists have got the shape right. With the roof open all the way we experienced no wind buffeting worth worrying about – see the previous remarks about hairdos not being damaged. With the roof closed the DS3 cabriolet was almost as quiet as the hatchback variant.

Handling is very good for a front-drive car and remained pretty neutral until high cornering forces were generated. Then it scrubbed off speed in understeer to bring it back on line. Electronic stability is there should someone make a big mistake in cornering far too fast. Steering feedback is good and the DS cab is happy to change direction in a nimble fashion.

While the seats have a sporty look the distance between the bolsters is pretty wild so they don’t offer a lot of support for people of average width.


Engine performance from the non-turbo engine in the D-Style is nothing to get excited about, but the four-speed automatic transmission does a good job of changing down when required for added urge. The turbo engine in the D-Sport is much better and sings along nicely, being responsive and happy to rev.

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.

Well priced and highly specified, the new Citroen DS3 cabriolet adds another option for buyers looking for a fun machine that can be highly personalised. We can see this bright and airy model having a bright future downunder.

Prices of the Citroen DS3 Cabrio are:
D-Style 1.6-litre petrol three-door cabriolet: $30,990 (automatic)
D-Sport: 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol three-door cabriolet $32,990 (automatic)
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your local Citroen dealer for drive-away prices.


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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