DS is the recently launched “luxury” brand from the PSA Group who produce Citroen
and Peugeot cars.
The DS models are all based on current Citroen models but are finished and specified to a much higher level than their siblings. Think of it as Lexus is to Toyota DS is to Citroen, now you will get the picture.
The PSA Group hope to tap into the market where buyers want small compact cars but do not want to sacrifice anything in terms of luxury and equipment.
Many of these buyers are downsizing as their families grow up and may have owned a premium brand car but now want to keep the premium feel but in a smaller car.
This week then I am road testing the new DS3 Prestige.
My test car was the higher grade Prestige model which has some nice design touches that make it even more distinctive than its stablemates.
With stylish 17 inch black diamond-cut alloy wheels, metallic paint and some very tasteful chrome detailing it does look very well.
Behind The Wheel
The cabin of the new DS3 is very nicely finished, with great design touches such as the Piano black trim and a dashboard that has plenty of interesting features such as the little tablet that can be inserted into the cabin airflow to create different aromas.
Standard equipment on the Prestige includes, electric windows, remote locking, LED day running lights, colour reversing camera, electrochromatic rear view mirror, Auto lights and wipers, climate control USB, and Aux ports, a decent stereo system and of course a host of safety features including Active City Brake, multiple airbags,
ISOFIX, ABS, etc.
The cabin offers good headroom both front and rear thanks to that tall roofline.
Rear legroom is at a premium though and access in this 3 door model is tight via the forward folding front seat.
The boot is good for a car in this class with decent boot space and I am delighted to report a space saver spare wheel, not a useless tin of tyre sealant and a compressor!
Powered in this case by a 1.6 litre HDi 120 diesel turbo which is mated to a very nice 6-speed manual gearbox performance is verty good.
With bags of torque from that punchy diesel it has plenty of mid range urge for overtaking while yet proving quite refined too.
Road tax is just €180.00 per year and over some 600km or so of mixed driving it proved very frugal burning just 5.7 litres of diesel per 100k which is very good.
Overall then a nice engine, the same one in fact that powers the Mini 1.6 diesel.
Like all PSA Group cars the new DS3 handles and rides very well.
The set up is or comfort and it works giving a smooth compliant ride over all but the most bumpy road surfaces.
On less good roads the short wheelbase has its shortcomings resulting in a slightly choppy ride but this really is on the worst roads.
I also found it to be pleasantly quiet and refined with minimal road and wind noise.
The new DS3 then is an interesting alternative to the mainstream rivals.
It certainly feels premium with a fit and finish that is more akin to a much more expensive car.
It is distinctive, well specified and does offer a very nice all round package. However I am not so sure it is different enough from the Citroen C3 upon which it is based.
The DS3 Prestige 1.6 HDi costs €27,795!
Thats quite a bit for a car that parked side by side to a Citroen C3 looks almost identical.
The DS3 range starts from €21,345 while the Citroen C3 range kicks off at €15,395. Its quite a premium to pay for a more bespoke finish but essentially a car that mechanically and body shape wise is exactly the same.