New car report: Citroen's hot new D'Sign
Surely, one of the most stylish little cars to hit the road this year, the new Citroen DS3 is a refreshing take on the fashion end of the small car market.
It might slot into the market space currently dominated by BMW’s MINI, but being more niche than the MINI, the DS3 is more likely to appeal to those with their own individuality, style and attitude, looking for something fashionable but not wanting to follow the trendy masses.
It has a style all of its own which conveys Parisian chic, with the DS3’s major trump card being its French flair.
Way more than just wanting something to get from A to B, the DS3 buyer is likely to have a different set of automotive priorities than your average car buyer. Unlike the masses, atop their automotive priority list will be feel-good factors rather than practical justifications. Instead of quoting facts, figures and capacities, they’re more likely to justify their preference by extolling the virtues of the quirky styling and driving something that’s a little more interesting than the run of the mill.
More DS models to follow
A brand within a brand, the DS3 is the first of the stylish DS range to grace our shores, with DS4 and DS5 models on the horizon.
As a fashion accessory, the DS3 has to be one of the hottest automotive items in 2010, but as a transportation conveyance how well does it do?
While practicality, safety, fuel economy and performance may not be specifically spelled out in the DS3 buyer’s wish list, that’s not to say that those features don’t exist; far from it, they’re thrown in with the deal. The DS3 has a 5 star Euro NCAP rating, has more boot space than the average small hatch, decent fuel consumption and performs as well as most.
The 1,598cc, 4 cylinder 16 valve engine produces 88kW at 6,000 rpm, with a maximum torque of 160Nm at 4,250rpm. It’s no powerhouse, but it provides enough get-up-and-go around town, and adequate cruising power on the open road.
The 4 speed automatic transmission could do with another ratio or two, and it’s a little frustrating that the PSA Group persists with this transmission when all but the most pedestrian of competitors have at least five forward ratios today. But maybe we’re missing the point, as it’s likely that DS3 buyers will not be petrol heads, so a 4 speed ‘box may do just fine.
Standard equipment includes driver, passenger, side and full length curtain airbags, ESC, and Emergency Brake Assist (EBA), rear parking aid, multi function steering wheel with speed limiter and cruise control, 16 inch alloy wheels, a 60:40 split folding rear seat and dark tint rear side windows.
Fuel consumption is quoted at a more than reasonable 6.9L/100km, but we can’t help wondering if that might be improved further with a five or six speed auto.
At $37,990, the DS3 comes in at around $4,000 under the price of an automatic MINI Cooper, and like the MINI, the buyer is offered a list of numerous add-ons to individualise their car.
"Stylish, pleasing on the eye and oozing charm..."
Our test car was fitted with a few worthwhile options. The upgraded Hi-fi system with USB and Bluetooth retails for $1,000, the Chrome Pack at $500 lifts the car visually, adding some additional bling in the form of side flashes, chrome handles and exhaust tip, plus Metallic paint which ups the price by $750.
In addition to the DStyle version, Citroen is also offering a DSport for those wanting to mix their French style with more urgency. The DSport version comes in six speed Manual only, produces 115kW from the turbo charged powerplant and retails for $41,990.
Stylish, pleasing on the eye and oozing charm, the DS3 is a refreshing departure from the mundane and ordinary.
It’s not for the boffins who comb through specification sheets, scouring technical data, comparing torque curves and gear ratios.
But it’s a pleasing reminder that a car doesn’t have to achieve clinical, technical perfection to be fun, enjoyable, provide pride of ownership and happy motoring. The DS3 has soul and personality and for that, we like it.