DS 3 (2010 – 2019) Review

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DS 3 (2010 – 2019) At A Glance

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.

New prices start from £15,370
Contract hire deals from £192.32 per month
Insurance Groups are between 10–36
On average it achieves 77% 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.

Looking for a DS 3 (2010 - 2019)?
Register your interest for later or request to be contacted by a dealer to talk through your options now.

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

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's the most reliable used car I can get for £3500?
"I'm looking to buy a reliable, economic car with the best spec and extras I can possibly get for around £3500. At the moment, I've landed on 2010 Citreon DS3 at that price. I was wondering if you would recommend anything other than this that may be better value for money?"
If you want a reliable used car then I would advise against buying a 10-year-old DS3. It has an awful MoT pass rate, with suspension, exhaust and emissions being three areas of concern: https://good-garage-guide.honestjohn.co.uk/mot/ds/ds3/2010 Given your budget, I'd recommend a petrol hatch, like the Suzuki Swift 1.2 or the Ford Fiesta 1.25.
Answered by Dan Powell
Are there any small automatic cars available in yellow?
"What companies sell small automatic yellow cars? I currently have a Skoda Fabia but these are no longer sold in yellow."
The Audi A1, which is available with an S tronic gearbox and Python yellow paint. It's expensive, though. There's also the DS 3 Puretech 110 automatic available in Sport Yellow
Answered by Andrew Brady
Is flushing the aircon system to 'kill bacteria' just a sales ploy?
"I was advised that the aircon in my wife's DS3 would need to be flushed to kill the bacteria in the system. Is this a sales ploy? The car had a pollen filter."
The best way to kill bacteria that grows in the condensation in the car's ventilation trunking is to turn the heater to max, open all the windows, leave the engine idling, and get out and stand beside the car for 15 minutes. Maximum heat will kill off the bacteria. Standing beside the car helps ensure it doesn't get stolen.
Answered by Honest John

What does a DS 3 (2010 – 2019) cost?

Contract hire from £192.32 per month