DS 3 (2010 – 2019) Review

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 £13,295
Insurance Groups are between 10–36
On average it achieves 75% 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.

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

Do I need working front fog lamps and running lights to pass an MoT?

"I have a Citroen DS, first registered 01-01-18. It went in for a service and MOT today and the front fog lights and running lights had no power. The garage said it could not pass the MOT until these were rectified. I have found that this is only a requirement on cars registered on and after 01-03-18. I rang back to tell him that but the chap had already spent half an hours labour to find the switch had become unplugged. He is charging me £60 for this as the car has to have these working for it to be "legal". If they are not required to be working for the MOT in the case of this vehicle then surely the car can be legally driven without them working?"
It is correct that front fog lights and daytime running lights are only an MoT fail on vehicles first registered on or after 1st March 2018, so this work need not have been carried out in order to pass. Given the work has been carried out it is unlikely that the garage would be willing to refund you, but you do have the option to appeal the MoT test result if it was failed on this basis. You can read more about this process on the DVLA website here: https://www.gov.uk/getting-an-mot/problems-with-your-test-result
Answered by David Ross

Is it worth fitting a new water pump while having the cambelt changed?

"I have a DS3 1.2 PureTech 110. It's a 2016 and has done 52000 miles so I am booking it in for cambelt change. Should I have water pump changed as well?"
Changing the water pump is not necessary but some garages recommend it because the work involved in changing the belt gives them easy access to the water pump. Therefore changing the water pump should cost no extra labour ( just the cost of the pump) and is really a belt and braces approach. Water pumps rarely fail but for the little extra cost, it's worth doing if you intend to keep the car for several years more.
Answered by Alan Ross

Can you recommend a cheap car for under £5,000?

"I'm in the market for a used car and have a budget of around £5000. Ideally, I'd like a petrol as I don't do many long journeys. I've had my eye on a Citroen DS3 1.6 VTI (2010-2015) but can't seem to find much info regarding reliability. What would you recommend?"
This version of the DS3 doesn't have the best reputation for reliability. It's based on the old Citroen C3, which wasn't a very good car to start with. All reported faults with the DS3 are listed here: https://www.honestjohn.co.uk/ds/3/good If reliability and comfort are key, I'd suggest a Suzuki Swift 1.2 petrol or Toyota Yaris 1.3 or 1.5 petrol.
Answered by Dan Powell

Garage trying to buy back faulty car at a reduced rate, what are my consumer rights?

"I recently purchased a 2015 DS3 from a garage and noticed it was drinking oil within a couple of weeks of driving it. I have returned it to the garage who have had it for a few weeks testing, and have said it needs a new engine. This is under the waranty I purchased at the time. Unfortunately they have now said they cannot get a delivery date for one and that it may take months. They have said they want to buy my car back, However, they are trying to deduct cost for the 1,300 miles I have covered. I have argued that as it was sold with a fault I should be due a full refund as I will be out of pocket and am struggling to find a similar car at that price. Can you advise what my rights are? Can I simply say to carry on with the engine replacement and I will just hold on to their courtesy car?"
You are entitled to reject the car and the dealer is within their rights to make a fair deduction for the usage that you've already had from the vehicle. I would urge you to work with the dealer to find an agreeable solution. It's possible they will let you keep the loan car until the new engine arrives, but they are unlikely to let you do this for free. If you press for a refund the dealer will probably claim as much as 45p per mile for the fair usage, as per the HMRC approved fair mileage rate. I would argue this is unfair and counter with 25p and see if you can reach an agreement halfway. For your consumer rights, see: https://www.honestjohn.co.uk/how-to-reject-a-car-your-consumer-rights/
Answered by Dan Powell
More Questions