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DS3 car review

If you’re looking for a small car with style but want to steer away from the retro-inspired Fiat 500 or MINI hatchback; then the Citroen DS3 might be the ideal car for you.

The DS3 is positioned at the premium end of the small car market. Its design and features make it a great alternative to a MINI or Audi A1, but with finance costs starting at around £200 per month, it’s more affordable whilst still offering luxury. The car is based on the Citroen C3, but the quirkier design and sportier suspension and handling set it miles apart from the family-focused, more practical Citroen small car model.

Here we have put together a full review of the Citroen DS3 to help you decide if it’s the right car for you:

Car summary


  • Stylish and classy interior and exterior
  • Affordable monthly finance (through Red Potato)
  • Reasonable running costs


  • Only available as 3 door
  • Cramped rear seats
  • Not as comfortable to drive as some rivals, particularly compared to the MINI

Running costs

Although the DS3 is slightly more expensive to buy than other high-end city cars such as the Fiat 500 or the Vauxhall Adam, the running costs are equally reasonable and won’t be an expensive car for you to run. A finance option with Red Potato can be as little as £200 per month in comparison to £160+ for the 500 and £195+ for the Adam.

In terms of fuel economy, all petrol options for the DS3 average at roughly 50mpg (miles per gallon), with the lower CO2 diesel options offering up to 74mpg.


The DS3 has focused a lot on its appearance both inside and out. The exterior is unique, from its LED lights either side of the front bumper to its distinctive ‘floating roof’. The inside is equally high quality (a complete contrast to many Citroen’s standard grey plastic panels) with well-built glossy interiors and soft materials.


The DS3 has a much better boot shape and size than many other small cars, allowing for 285 litres, expanding to 980 litres with the rear seats folded down. However, while there’s extra space for belongings and shopping, the car isn’t really ideal for more than one passenger. As a backseat passenger the car can feel very small, dark and cramped and as the car is only available as a 3 door it’s not practical as a family car (the DS4 and DS5 options are more suited to this).

The DS3 works best for a single person who regularly drives around town, maybe to work and back and doesn’t frequently have more than one passenger.


Although the DS3 doesn’t quite live up to rivals such as the Ford Fiesta and MINI when it comes to drive and performance, it’s not far behind. The car includes a 6-speed manual gearbox and cruise control as standard. In addition, the weighty but also responsive steering and high-quality engine make the car an easy and enjoyable drive.

However despite being fun to drive, in comparison to competitors, the DS3 is not the comfiest of small cars, especially if you prefer a softer suspension.

Safety and reliability

The DS3 has received a 5-star safety rating from Euro NCAP, with an adult occupant protection score of 87%. Each version of the car is fitted with stability technology to help avoid skids, front and side airbags as well as Citroen’s Active City Brake system which automatically applies the brakes if it detects a potential head-on collision over 20 mph.

In terms of reliability, Citroen currently appears in the top half of Warranty Direct’s manufacturer ratings (Reliability Index). DS3 customers also benefit from the mechanics being tried and tested through the Citroen C3.

Look at DS3’s through Red Potato

Representative APR 29.9%

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