Review: DS 3 (2010 – 2019)

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High quality interior. Great 1.6 THP 165 petrol engine with six-speed gearbox. Wide engine range. Drives, rides 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.

DS 3 (2010 – 2019): At A Glance

The DS3 was a hotly anticipated car. So much so that before it was even launched 100 people placed an order without so much as opening a door. It's just as well, as Citroen had a lot riding on it. The DS3 was more than just a new small car back in 2010, it was the first in a new line of DS models - DS4 and DS5 followed in 2011.

Sadly those other DS models weren't as good as the DS3. It's quirky, stylish, good to drive, well equipped and yet still affordable to run - there's even a 99g/km road tax-free version on offer. It embodies all that is good about Citroen.

The firm has been carefully watching how the likes of Alfa Romeo, Fiat and MINI have gone about developing must-have small hatches and pinched the best bits. They've made it stylish without going down the retro route (if you ignore the fact that the DS name dates back to 1955) and added a few touches - like the LED lights embedded into the front bumper - that you would expect to find on more expensive cars.

There's also an upmarket interior. Although much of it is shared with the five-door C3, the materials used are better quality and there's a feeling that you're behind the wheel of something more special than a workaday hatchback. You can specify the dash in black, white, blue, red or carbon fibre with a matching gearknob. Outside, Citroen has taken a leaf out of MINI's book by making it customisable.

Buyers can make it look as stunning - or stunningly bad - as they like. As well as a wide choice of colours (you can have it in yellow or white if you're feeling brave), you can have the roof painted in a contrasting colour and even add decals - leopard print and polkadots are just two - to the roof.

Citroen DS3 Road Test

Citroen DS3 1.6 THP 150 2010 Road Test

DS3 1.2 PureTech 110 2016 Road Test

DS3 Performance Black 2016 Road Test

Looking for a DS 3 (2010 - 2019)?
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What does a DS 3 (2010 – 2019) cost?

List Price from £22,515
Buy new from £18,403
Contract hire from £182.64 per month

DS 3 (2010 – 2019): What's It Like Inside?

Length 3948 mm
Width 1715 mm
Height 1483 mm
Wheelbase 2452 mm

Full specifications

From the moment you open the door, the DS3 starts to impress. On the top DSport model there's a generous level of equipment and a wide range of options. The dashboard looks good with plenty of colour, splashes of chrome and tactile plastics. The built-in sat nav and sporty leather sports seats add a touch of luxury. Turn the key (which is colour-coded to the car) and the needles on the dials spin round before returning to zero and all the buttons and switches have a solid and reassuring feel to them.

There's also a built-in air freshener, which is becoming a Citroen trademark. That said we've only tried versions with the DSport specification, so it remains to be seen whether DSign and DStyle models manage to capture that same special feel inside.

All cars have clever soundproofing that means that you hear the engine when you're pressing hard and - in 1.6 THP form at least - it sounds good. But on the motorway it's impressively quiet and although there is a little wind rustle, road and engine noise is well suppressed.

In the back, there's a decent amount of room and certainly more than some of DS3's three-door rivals. Unlike the MINI, the DS3 will seat three. It also trounces the MINI on bootspace with 285 litres on offer compared to 160 litres.

For 2015, interior trim options include full stitched leather in the £22,780 Ultra Prestige that gives a very classy ambiance and actually takes 15 hours work per car. 

Child seats that fit a DS 3 (2010 – 2019)

Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.

Which car seat will suit you?

What's the DS 3 (2010 – 2019) like to drive?

Buyers get the choice of a 1.6-litre HDI diesel with 90 or 110bhp, while petrols are a 1.4-litre VTi with 95bhp, a 1.6 VTi with 120bhp and a cracking turbocharged 1.6-litre THP with 150bhp. This engine - which it shares with its main rival the MINI Cooper - places the DS3 firmly into warm hatch territory. This hasn't always been a recipe for success with Citroen. Too many models have offered much on paper only to be left wanting once on the road. It simply isn't the case with the DS3 - it's great to drive.

The 1.6 THP has an excellent six-speed gearbox that's slick, precise and feels good to use at speed. The engine is at its best at the top end, but will pull throughout the range and make a pleasing sound whilst doing it. The steering is also good, well weighted and accurate. The ride manages to strike a balance between being sportily firm and comfortably supple. It's far more controlled than the softer C3 and as a result offers a better - and arguably more comfortable - drive.

Hotter versions will follow, bringing with it the possibility of more than 200bhp and MINI Cooper S JCW levels of performance. That shouldn't be a surprise - they'll use the same engine.

For 2015 the Citroen DS3 was improved with distinctive new headlights and a wider range of improved engines.

The 1.2 Puretech 130 is brilliant. So far the best 1.2 litre petrol engine available anywhere. But the more powerful 1.6 THP 165 warms things up quite a lot, with the driver friendly advantage of maximum torque of 240Nm from just 1,400rpm to 4,000 rpm. So it romps up hills, often with no need to change down below 5th. 

Engine MPG 0-62 CO2
1.2 Puretech 110 63–66 mpg 9.6–9.8 s 100–104 g/km
1.2 Puretech 110 EAT6 39–66 mpg 9.6–9.9 s 100–119 g/km
1.2 Puretech 130 52–63 mpg 8.9 s 105 g/km
1.2 Puretech 82 61–63 mpg 12.3 s 104–107 g/km
1.6 BlueHDi 100 83 mpg 10.8 s 87 g/km
1.6 BlueHDi 120 79 mpg 9.3 s 94 g/km
1.6 THP 165 50 mpg 7.5 s 129 g/km
1.6 THP 210 52 mpg 6.5 s 125 g/km

Real MPG average for a DS 3 (2010 – 2019)

Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance


Real MPG

38–75 mpg

MPGs submitted


Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

What have we been asked about the DS 3 (2010 – 2019)?

Every day we're asked hundreds of questions from car buyers and owners through Ask Honest John. Our team of experts, including the nation's favourite motoring agony uncle - Honest John himself - answer queries and conudrums ranging from what car to buy to how to care for it as an owner. If you could do with a spot of friendly advice before buying you're next car, get in touch and we'll do what we can to help.

Ask HJ

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:
Answered by Dan Powell
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