Review: DS 3 Cabrio (2013)

Rating:

As enjoyable and as good to drive as the DS3 hatchback. Roof can be folded and unfolded at speeds up to 70mph.

Small and inaccessible boot. Not quite a true cabriolet. Poor rear visibility with roof down.

Recently Added To This Review

26 August 2019

Report of convertible roof of 2014 Citroen DS3 1.6THP D Sport Cabriolet sticking open at 37,000 miles making it impossible to open the boot. Car diagnostically checked by Citroen and owner given an estimate... Read more

1 September 2016 DS3 Cabrio Performance Line launched

Each body style is available in two-tone black combined with a specific palette of body colours of Shark Grey, Polar White, Arctic Steel, Perla Nera Black, Pearl White, Sport Yellow or Ruby Red. All have... Read more

10 December 2014 1.6 THP 165 engine launched

Other new engines include the 1.2 3-cylinder Puretech with outputs of 82PS, 110PS and 130PS, and diesels with 70, 90, 100 and 120PS. DS Cabrio 3 165 Prices: Dsire Cabrio £20,025 DSport... Read more

DS 3 Cabrio (2013): At A Glance

It was only a matter of time until Citroen followed Fiat and MINI by bringing out a cabriolet version of its popular hatchback. The DS3 Cabrio is, for the most part, a success. It retains the fun-to-drive personality of the DS3 and has the benefit of a folding fabric roof. However the top doesn’t fully retract like that of a MINI, instead it's more like canvas roof that retracts.

Nonetheless, there is a lot to like. The roof, reminiscent of the ‘sardine-can’ affair on the old Citroen 2CV, can be folded up or down when on the go and works up to 70mph, plus there’s reasonable room in the back for children. In fact, even the boot is a good size, although it’s compromised by a tiny opening that’s also awkwardly shaped.

The engine range is much like that of the hatchback, kicking off with a sprightly 82PS 1.2-litre three-cylinder petrol and topped by a characterful 156PS turbocharged 1.6-litre petrol. There is also an e-HDi diesel which is cheap to run helped by CO2 of below 100g/km, which means zero tax.

Regardless of which engine you pick, you’ll get a fun car. The conversion from hard top to cabriolet hasn’t affected the nimble and agile handling of the DS3. The steering has good feel and the suspension is well set-up so that the DS3 Cabriolet is enjoyable over a twisting road. Plus of course you get the added element of the open top making it feel that bit more special than a standard DS3.

Citroen DS3 Cabriolet Road Test

Citroen DS3 1.6THP 155 Cabriolet Long Term Test

What does a DS 3 Cabrio (2013) cost?

List Price from £17,290
Buy new from £14,462
Contract hire from £179.71 per month

DS 3 Cabrio (2013): What's It Like Inside?

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

Full specifications

The cabin of the DS3 Cabrio is more or less identical to that of the DS3 hatchback which means comfortable and supportive seats, a steering wheel which adjusts for reach and height along with a neat and stylish dashboard. There are some good quality soft touch plastics too.

In the back there’s room for children, but it does feel a little on the tight side with taller people up front – though that’s no different from the standard DS3. Retracting the roof is simple - just press the overhead button and it slides back in 11 seconds.

It can be retracted to whatever point you want so you can have it partly open almost like a large sunroof. Unfortunately, when the roof is fully retracted it occupies the space where the rear window lives, which means there's no rear visibility.

On the plus side the roof can be operated on the move at speeds of up to 70mph. Even with the roof fully retracted there is little wind noise regardless of speed, so the DS3 is a great summer runabout – you can enjoy the sunshine for as long as it lasts and then put the roof back in place when the inevitable rain starts, all without needing to find a layby.

The biggest problem the folded roof causes is with boot space. The load area itself isn’t too small – indeed it’s about the same size as the hatchback – but the opening is an awkward size and shape, which makes loading anything other than a carrier bag a pain. Getting things out is even worse, you more or less have to clamber in to retrieve anything that has slid forward.  

There’s plenty of equipment on offer, but there are a few caveats. The USB connection for the iPod is straightforward enough, but the system struggles if you have a big music library. Also, the sat nav doesn’t accept full postcodes, which means you need to know the street name and number of your location.

Standard equipment

DSign models get Cruise control with speed limiter, electrically adjustable door mirrors, 3D LED rear lights, front fog lights, black fabric roof steering mounted audio controls and six speakers, coloured key to match roof colour, dark tinted rear windows, 16-inch steel wheels, front electric windows and rear parking sensors.

DStyle versions add air conditioning, interior mood lighting, gloss black painted centre console, leather handbrake with chrome insert, leather effect gear knob and gear lever, scented air freshener, 16-inch alloy wheels, LED running lights, Bluetooth and USB connectivity.

DSport is the top trim and adds double chrome exhaust pipe, leather steering wheel with chrome inserts, front and rear carpet mats, automatic digital air conditioning, 17-inch alloy wheels, carbon fibre effect dashboard plus a higher-specification audio system. 

Child seats that fit a DS 3 Cabrio (2013)

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 Cabrio (2013) like to drive?

Removing the roof of a hatch to create a convertible means adding weight for the folding mechanism which combined with a loss of rigidity can often mean poor ride and handling. Thankfully there are no such concerns with the DS3 Cabrio because it uses a far simpler system.

The structure of the car remains mostly intact, with full-framed doors and solid window pillars, but with a light, fabric roof that slides back and folds in a concertina fashion above the boot. It’s a lightweight solution that means the DS3 Cabrio is just as good to drive as the standard DS3 hatchback.

It's nimble and agile, with nicely weighted steering and a good suspension set up that treads the line between ride comfort and cornering prowess very well. It can crash over potholes at low speeds but fortunately the keen handling of the DS3 has been retained with for the Cabrio.

The engine line-up includes a 1.2 VTi 82PS and a 1.6 120PS VTi petrol. The three-cylinder 1.2 VTi is a little lacklustre but the four-cylinder is a better choice and ideal for around town. The sporty model uses the same 1.6 VTi engine but with power boosted to 155PS and it suits the fun DS3 Cabrio perfectly with plenty of zest.

Performance is nippy with a 0-62mph time of 8.2 seconds and the engine sounds good along the way. Economy is good too, given the performance, with a claimed average of 47.9mpg. The six-speed manual gearbox is has decent shifts but can feel a little sloppy at times.

There's just one diesel in the line-up, a 1.6 e-HDi with 90PS which is called Airdream by Citroen as part of its fuel-saving eco-friendly range. It's capable of a mightily impressive 78.5mpg according to the official figures with CO2 of just 95g/km which means no car tax.

The diesel offers impressive performance despite having just 90PS, thanks to a healthy 229Nm of torque that isn’t far short of the figure for the top petrol engine. It doesn't have the character of the petrols but makes plenty of sense if you want a cheap to run open-top car and will cover big mileages in it.

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 60–61 mpg 10.2 s 105–112 g/km
1.2 Puretech 130 63 mpg 9.0 s 105 g/km
1.2 Puretech 82 58–63 mpg 12.3–12.5 s 112 g/km
1.6 BlueHDi 100 79–83 mpg 9.3–11.2 s 92–94 g/km
1.6 BlueHDi 120 79 mpg 9.3–9.4 s 94 g/km
1.6 THP 165 50 mpg 7.5–7.6 s 129 g/km
1.6 THP 210 52 mpg 6.5 s 125 g/km

Real MPG average for a DS 3 Cabrio (2013)

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

67%

Real MPG

36–48 mpg

MPGs submitted

2

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 Cabrio (2013)?

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

What small cars come with a sliding or panoramic sunroof?

I am looking at a Ford Fiesta, DS 3 and a Renault Twingo as I'm after a small to medium car with an economical engine that's about one year old. I would like a sunroof or panoramic view if possible and sat nav. Can you suggest a car with these features?
Citroen C1 Airscape, Peugeot 108 Airscape, Toyota Aygo equivalent, Renault Twingo with full length sunroof, Smart Forfour with full length sunroof, Fiat 500C, Fiat 500 with optional glass opening sunroof (Lounge pan roof doesn't open), DS 3 Cabrio.
Answered by Honest John
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