SINCE the French motor manufacturer PSA Peugeot Citroen created DS Automobiles as their standalone luxury vehicle brand in 2015 they have launched several cars based on the former Citroen DS range which have been well received but I have just been testing the best model so far to emerge from the new brand writes Bryan Longworth.
It is the DS 3 which with its avant-garde design that includes the large vertically oriented grille is the French firm's Mini rival and the reaction to the model is so positive that DS Automobiles seems set to have a big sales booster in their range.
That grille and the dramatic side and rear styling provide DS 3 with big street appeal as was evident by the number of people who admired the test car which looked great with its Arctic Steel and Emerald paintwork and asked me for information about it with females especially showing a close interest.
The DS 3 range starts at £13,995 and my test car the DS 3 Prestige BlueHDi 120 Hatchback was priced at £19,495 - it was powered by a 1.5-litre four cylinder 120bhp turbo diesel engine with a top speed of 118mph a zero to 62mph time of 9.3 seconds a combined fuel consumption of 78.5mpg and CO2 emissions of 94g/km that give it an 18 per cent Benefit in kind rate and a Band A road fund licence. DS 3 is a three door hatchback with quite a large rear load area and a very comfortable and roomy interior although as with a lot of three door cars it would be a bit of a scramble for large rear seat passengers getting in and out of the car.
The test car was very well equipped with touchscreen satellite navigation, xenon headlights, city brake system that helps prevent minor collisions at low speeds, the SOS and assistance facility for automatic emergency and assistance calls plus a very good reversing camera that was very useful for safely guiding me out of a very crowded Peak District car park.
I really enjoyed my time with the DS 3 which delivered a sporty drive with its lively engine, slick six speed manual transmission and the precise steering and firm suspension which combined to provide excellent handling qualities.
There was also very good user friendly instrumentation with the speedometer bang in front of the driver where it was so easy to see and not offset to one side as in so many cars where they are not easy to see in all light conditions. However, I found the various controls for the radio were not so user friendly. These were to be found on the touchscreen on a stalk to the right of the steering wheel and tucked away under the centre of the fascia.
When driving I found it was distracting trying to operate the radio and it would have been much better if the controls had been on the steering wheel where they would have been easier to locate and use but unusually there were no controls for any function on the steering wheel. As mentioned earlier the latest DS 3 is a very impressive premium car and while a five door option would have been appreciated DS Automobiles is now making a considerable impact in this sector. The UK is the leading world market for DS 3 sales with more being sold in Britain even than in France and this latest model should help to maintain this trend.
Model: DS 3 Prestige BlueHDi 120 Hatchback.
Engine: 1.5 litre four cylinder turbo diesel.
Output: 120bhp @ 3500rpm. Transmission: Six speed manual.
Top speed: 118mph.
Acceleration: Zero to 62mph 9.3 seconds.
Fuel consumption: 78.5mpg combined.
CO2 emissions: 94g/km.