How does the innovative DS 3 compare to rivals? Hannah Gordon finds out
What is it? A new trim level for DS’s most successful little car already adding to its cheeky charm.
Who is it aimed at? Due to its size and funky looks the DS 3 lends itself very well to the younger market, the extended name of DS 3 Connected Chic may put some of the younger lads off though.
What about the styling? The DS 3 is a distinctive looking supermini thanks to its large grille which houses the badge and numberplate, plus the new LED front fog lights which are available as standard on the Connected Chic range. Another styling que available on this line is the Bi-Tone body colour that mixes a painted body with black wing mirror cases and a black roofline. Smart 17” diamond cut alloys also come as standard over the Chic range.
Under the bonnet? There are four petrol options and two diesel engines available. The test car had the 1.2-litre turbocharged 3-cylinder petrol engine which has many awards and can be paired up with either a five speed manual or six speed automatic gearbox. The engine pulls well and reaches 62mph in 9.6 seconds and can go onto a top speed of 118mph. Around town the clutch is rather jumpy and the ride lacks smoothness, but the engine is refined and can barely be heard inside when idling.
What about inside? Plenty of room for passengers at the front but the rear is considerably tighter, but this is a supermini so expect to have to cram your mates in. In the Connected Chic DS 3 you will benefit from gloss black trimmings over the dash and inner doors, there are dark tinted rear windows and a front armrest for added comfort. The dash is rather fiddly though as the menu and volume buttons are located down the bottom and are hard to use on the move, but the infotainment system now benefits from Satellite Navigation as standard and incorporated Apple CarPlay and Mirror Link.
On the road? With the added size of the 17” wheels it does make the ride hard and the DS3 does feel agitated when going over a fast bumpy road, it never really feels like it sits well on the tarmac. The engine pulls well and is unobtrusive but is let down by a gearbox and clutch, personally if you do a lot of town driving then I would opt for the six speed automatic gearbox. The handling on corners feels better than some other cars in its class and it grips the road well.
How safe is it? The DS3 gets full marks in its Euro NCAP test and as standard comes with hill start assist, electronic stability control, Isofix points and DS connect box emergency and assistance button located on the dash. Rear parking sensors come as standard on cars built after September 2017 and front parking sensors are an optional extra.
What are my options? The usual optional extra of metallic paint is £495 and the DS LED Vision Xenon headlights will cost £600. Leather seats are an option at £1250, a space saver wheel is £75 and an audio upgrade which includes a subwoofer is £200. One option that would help is the installation of front parking sensors which cost £350 or £550 if you opt in a reversing camera to.
Will it break the bank? The most economical engines are the diesels but not far behind is the 1.2-litre Puretech 110 which also has impressive figures and is a more refined petrol engine. The engine when paired with the manual gearbox has a combined economy of 65.7mpg and a CO2 output of 100g/km. The automatic gearbox option is slightly lower on mpg with 61.4 and CO2 emissions of 105g/km. This means a first year tax rate of £120 for the manual and £140 for the automatic.
So the verdict? To keep up with the competition the DS 3 has had to add Apple CarPlay and a sportier exterior design, the base design hasn’t changed for a while now and it is starting to feel dated. The interior quality isn’t quite up to scratch, especially as DS see themselves as a premium car make. But it still has a cheeky look about it and with its many colour combinations it will appeal to people who want to look different. The DS3 Connected Chic also benefits from a rather niche idea, the car key doubles up as a contactless payment system just like a bank card. This unique idea really sets its apart from the competition and could help sway younger buyers.
Why you’ll buy one? Interesting alternative, fuel economy, safety
Why you won’t? Interior quality, beginning to feel a little dated
DS 3 Connected Chic PureTech
Max speed: 118 mph
0-62 mph: 9.6 seconds
Emissions: 100 g/km
Model price range: from £17,545
No of Doors: 3
Euro NCAP : 5
Fuel type: Petrol
Fuel Economy (combined cycle): 65.7 mpg
Boot Capacity Seats up: 285 litres
8th April, 2018