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25 May 2022

DS3 - a compact SUV with appeal

The new DS range will have to prove itself and it will take quite a bit of time to really get established.

The new DS range will have to prove itself and it will take quite a bit of time to really get established.

The best example for comparison is to think that DS is to Citroen what Lexus is to Toyota.

DS Automobiles is a premium brand within the PSA (Peugeot Citroen) Group and is offering a range of premium cars based on the Citroen range.


While enjoying considerable success across Europe it all went quiet here in Ireland since it was launched back in 2015 but they are back!


The best example for comparison is to think that DS is to Citroen what Lexus is to Toyota.


So can they crack the premium market? Well it is going to be mighty difficult as buyers of premium brand cars such as Mercedes, BMW and Audi are a loyal lot and value the image their cars portray.


Lexus with all its backing from Toyota has never managed to equal the Germans in the sales charts though they make cars that are equally good and in some respects maybe better.


So can DS Automobiles crack it?
Travelling in Europe it soon becomes obvious, particularly in France, that the DS brand is pretty popular but it may take time to gain the same traction here.


So has it any street cred?
The DS3 is overall an attractive looking car but not in a standout from the crowd sort of way.


The chrome door handles which sit flush to the bodywork do pop out electrically when you blip the remote to open it and that’s unique in this class.


The overall design is good though I’m not so sure about the high door panel line at the leading edge of the rear doors.
The two-tone alloy wheels and slim rear tail lights are a nice touch.


What is it like inside?
The interior is clad in an abundance of ‘Bastille’ leather, combined with beautiful diamond shaped aluminium switchgear the look and feel is certainly top class.


The elevated driving position is perfect and the digital instrumentation again mirrors the styling theme of the interior.
I didn’t particularly like the digital dash layout, but that’s a personal choice

.
Standard kit is pretty comprehensive too though the Prestige model on test lacked sat nav.


The graphics on the centrally-mounted screen seem pretty basic by rivals standards and it’s a bit fiddly to use.
Accommodation is good up front, but the rear could best be described as cosy for two adults with legroom particularly compromised. The boot will hold about 350 litres of luggage or up to 1,050 litres with the seats folded down, about average for a car in this class.


What’s under the bonnet?
Power comes from a rather good 1.2 litre 3 cylinder petrol which produces 130 bhp and in my test car was mated to an auto gearbox.


The driver can use steering column mounted paddle shifts to change gear or simply leave it in auto.
Performance is good and it’s a nice refined power unit. Fuel economy was good during just 5.8 litres per 100km. Road tax is €210.00.


What’s it like to drive?
The DS3 is quiet and refined and rides and handles pretty well. Overall it’s a nice place to be for both driver and passengers.


Verdict
Prices start at €30,165 for the Elegance model. The Prestige on test cost €38,665.


The new DS range will have to prove itself and it will take quite a bit of time to really get established. It’s not easy to break into the luxury segment where badge appeal counts for a lot.


Nevertheless, the DS product feels top quality. If, as they plan, they have an exclusive dealer network and can win over those who favour a premium German brand then maybe it will succeed.

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