Motoring review: Citroën DS3 Cabrio DSport THP 155

Don't look back because you won't see much with the top down in Citroën's DS3

Price: £19,600 (range from £15,000)
Engine: 1,598cc, four cylinders, 16 valves, turbo, 156bhp
Transmission: Six-speed gearbox, front-wheel drive
Performance: 132mph, 0-62 in 8.2sec, 47.9mpg, CO2 137g/km

As sardine tins go, it's a very smart one. That is not to be rude about the Citroën DS3 Cabrio, merely to describe the way the soft top opens; moving rearwards along two rails above the doors, it ends up furled in a dense stack where the rear window would normally be. It really does look as though it has been peeled open.

You'll spot the immediate snag: with the roof fully opened, you can see in your rear-view mirror nothing lower than the top of a lorry's windscreen.

With the roof closed, the DS3 looks so similar to the regular hatchback version that you might almost feel cheated. Is it, then, a real cabrio? Or just a half-hearted one? That's a subjective matter – but Fiat has sold a lot of open-top 500Cs with an almost identical roof arrangement.

Besides, Citroën has a history of doing it this way, albeit not with such total rear-view blockage. The 2CV had a roll-back fabric roof, the Visa Cabriolet had a system much like the DS3's, albeit without electric power and glass for the rear window, and the C3 Pluriel went one better and let you remove the rails once the roof was open. The problem was that with the rails unclipped, the Pluriel went floppy – and if you parked on an uneven surface, you couldn't get the rails back in.

There's no such problem with the DS3, whose structure is virtually as stiff as the hatchback's and only 25kg heavier, 10kg of which is made up of weights under the boot floor designed to kill any potential vibrations. Of course the large boot of the regular hatchback is lost, but it's still much bigger than those of its 500C and Mini Convertible rivals. There is more rear-seat space, too, with room for three, provided they're good friends.

Back to the roof, which can be opened or closed with the DS3 travelling at up to 75mph. From fully closed to fully open takes 16 seconds with optional stops en route: open just above the front seats, open over the rear-side windows and folded in that view-blocking stack.

With the front windows open as well, you do get a fair sense of true-convertible atmospheric freedom, enough to convince yourself that the raciest DS3 Cabrio, with the 156bhp, 1.6-litre turbo engine, is a credible substitute for a sports car. Other engines include a non-turbo 1.6, a diesel and a little 1.2-litre, three-cylinder unit, but the 1.6 turbo is the one for maximum entertainment with its crisp exhaust note, muscular power delivery and easy, punchy pace. The suspension feels racily firm. It's good, agile fun and, with the roof closed, it's as snug and quiet as a hatchback.

New for the Cabrio, but soon to spread to the rest of the DS3 range, are "3D" tail lights in which the illuminating rectangle of red LEDs appears to be repeated almost to infinity in a tunnel seemingly extending far into the car. It's the sort of style flourish which appeals to buyers of DS-badged Citroëns, and the sub-brand is selling well as a piece of "premium" indulgence: DS models account for nearly a third of Citroën's UK sales, and 60 per cent of them are to people who haven't had a Citroën before.

The pleasing part here is that it shows how a relatively affordable car doesn't have to be German to be regarded as desirable and upmarket. It's interesting that the covetable cars which form the basis of the DS3 Cabrio's obvious rivals, the Fiat 500 and the Mini, aren't German either. Well, perhaps the Mini is… but there is no ambiguity with the other two. The new DS3 Cabrio is thoroughly French – and thoroughly likeable.

Suggested Topics
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

    £28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

    Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

    £16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

    Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

    £16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

    Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

    £17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

    Day In a Page

    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

    Everyone is talking about The Trews

    Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living
    Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

    Homeless people keep mobile phones

    A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
    'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

    'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

    British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
    Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

    Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

    Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
    14 best kids' hoodies

    14 best kids' hoodies

    Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

    The acceptable face of the Emirates

    Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk