DS 3 (2010 – 2019) Review

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DS 3 (2010 – 2019) At A Glance

4/5
Honest John Overall Rating
The DS 3 started life as a Citroen model but it's always been a great small car. Stylish and good to drive, it's also full of character with plenty of scope for personalisation.

+High quality interior, great 1.6 THP 165 petrol engine with six-speed gearbox, wide engine range, drives and handles well.

-By 2014 older direct injected 1.6 THP 150 were starting to suffer problems with turbo water pump and coking up of valves.

Insurance Groups are between 10–36
On average it achieves 76% of the official MPG figure

Regardless of which badge is on the bonnet, the DS 3 was a hit from the moment it was launched and carried on in the same vein throughout its production life. It helped the MINI, Fiat 500 and other funky small cars had paved the way for buyers to expect a mass of personalisation options, which is where the DS 3 really caught buyers’ imaginations.

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Few cars can claim to have kickstarted an entire brand, but that’s exactly what the DS 3 did. It began life as the Citroen DS 3, but then badge-shifted to become the standalone DS company as the Citroen logo was replaced in 2015.

There was an almost bewildering array of ways in which you could make a DS 3 your own and distinct from any other on the road. Some of this led to a few garish examples, but the majority followed a similar route to the MINI with bright colours, contrasting roof paint and cabins with more luxurious appointments that you’d find in mainstream superminis.

All of this put the DS 3 firmly towards the premium end of the supermini scale and parent firm Citroen backed it up with build quality that was a step up from the C3 it was based on. There was also a range of engines that offered everything from frugal to feistily fast.

Three petrol engines were available from the launch in 2010, comprising an entry-point 95PS 1.4-litre, a 1.6 VTi with 120PS and a turbocharged 1.6 with 156PS. This latter motor was shared with the contemporary MINI Cooper, which tells you everything you need to know about where the DS 3 was positioned.

Two turbodiesels were also an option from the start. They came in 90- or 110PS 1.6-litre forms and were great if you needed something very easy on fuel, though the petrols were more in keeping with the DS 3’s focus on driving fun.

It delivered on enjoyment from behind the wheel in a way other DS models have missed. As well as the perky engines, the handling was nimble without inducing a ride that was too firm. Throw in steering with sporty feel and manual gearboxes that were light to use and the DS 3’s appeal was broad.

The engine line-up evolved with the arrival of the Racing’s 204PS turbo petrol 1.6-litre, though this was a limited edition version. An update of the range in 2014 saw the introduction of 82-, 110- and 130PS 1.2-litre Puretech petrol engines, while hot hatch fans were catered for with the 210PS Performance model. The 1.6-litre BlueHDi turbodiesels with 100- and 120PS complied with Euro 6 emissions standards.

DS introduced the Cabrio in 2013 and claimed it was the only five-seat convertible on the UK market. This was a bold statement as the roof was more of a full-length folding canvas top than a proper cabriolet. Still, it retained the decent rear seat space and practicality of the DS 3, though it did nothing to help the small boot that already limited the hatch.

None of this seems to bother DS 3 owners who rate the car for its looks, driving ability and cabin comforts.

Ask Honest John

When should the timing belt be changed on my Citroen?
"When should the timing belt be changed on a 2015 Citroen DS3 1.2 petrol? I have searched and found figures of 50,000, 60,000 and 110,000 miles."
There appears to be some confusion around the timing belt change intervals for the 1.2 PureTech engine. This engine uses a 'wetbelt' system that runs the cam belt in oil. In most cases, these types of wetbelt systems are designed to last the life of the engine and never be changed. But that isn't the case with the 1.2 PureTech engine. Newer versions of the PureTech engine have a change interval of around 60,000 miles or six years (whichever comes first). Your local garage will need to check the car's VIN to confirm the exact belt change interval.
Answered by Dan Powell
My car seems too worn for the logged mileage. Has it been clocked?
"I bought a 2016 DS3 a year ago with only 12,000 miles on the clock. As a fella who has been around cars all his life, a couple of things about the mileage bothered me, but my wife had fallen in love with it so I bought it. Simple things like a hole worn in the driver's carpet and heavy wear on the bottom corner of the brake pedal. We have since done 13,000 miles more and the wear hasn't got any worse. The carpet was changed immediately, but it was far too obvious to pass a pre-delivery inspection. We live in London and the car was first registered in Leeds - owned by DS. Any ideas how I can find out about it?"
Car clocking is very common these days because of the popularity of lease and finance deals with mileage limits. You'll struggle to know for sure if the clocking was done before its first MoT test. A dealer might be able to check the ECU to see if the mileage has been tampered with.
Answered by Andrew Brady
The cam belt failed on our car. Where do we legally stand with this issue?
"I bought a 2016 DS3 on 3 July from a non-main dealer garage. Two and a half weeks ago (3 months and 2 weeks after buying), I was driving on a dual carriageway, roughly 68mph when the car cut out. I rolled it onto a side road and called the AA. The instant diagnosis was a snapped cambelt. The car was towed to local Citroen dealership, where we were told they would charge £136 to look at it but given that the car is only 4 years old, has a full service history and only has 42,000 miles, we were told it was likely that Citroen would cover the costs (or at least contribute). We contacted Citroen to make them aware we had this problem and they said they would communicate with the garage. We had little or no contact with the garage for the first 10 days and then when we enquired what was happening they said they're investigating any further potential damage and so far the bill was £530 (for the investigations). We didn't approve any further investigations other than the original £136 to look at it, though. This afternoon, Citroen has decided they're not going to contribute towards the cost to fix and we're yet to find out the quote to fix. Do you have any ideas where we stand with all this? Many thanks."
I'm sorry to read about the problems you've experienced with your DS3. In short, the line of liability ends with the dealer that sold you the car. This has nothing to do with Citroen UK (you didn't buy the car from them). The dealer that sold you the car can be held liable for any faults that develop within the first six months. I would argue that the cam belt was heavily worn or faulty at the time of sale and would expect them to fix the car free of charge or provide you with a refund (minus a deduction for the usage you've already had from the car). If they refuse, seek legal advice. For your rights, see: https://www.honestjohn.co.uk/how-to-reject-a-car-your-consumer-rights
Answered by Dan Powell
I have £6000 for something reliable and stylish. Recommendations?
"I have up to £6000 (could push for a little more) to spend on a car. I want a reasonably economical to run/repair model, but with a bit of punch and flair. I'm an older driver so the insurance bracket isn't so expensive for me. Head says Ford Fiesta, heart says DS3 or Scirocco! I drive around 8000 miles per year, mixed motorway/town. Very rarely more than two people in the car."
I'd recommend a Suzuki Swift Sport. It's fun to drive and has a very strong reputation for reliability: https://www.honestjohn.co.uk/carbycar/suzuki/swift-2010
Answered by Dan Powell

What does a DS 3 (2010 – 2019) cost?