DS3 DSport Cabrio BlueHDi 120
Despite the UK’s somewhat temperamental weather, the popularity of convertibles has never been greater. In my late teenage years, my sixth form colleagues drove a plethora of cabrios, including Midgets, Spitfires, Heralds & even an E Type, which in 1982 were relatively cheap to buy
Thirty three years later & I was testing a more modern take on the cabrio, the DS3 which competes head on with the likes of the MINI convertible & 500C, both of which have small but loyal followings. Like these, the Cabrio costs quite a bit more than the equivalent DS3 hatch so you really have to want one because the DS3 hatch is a brilliant car & at present the best DS derivative in the DS range.
At first view, the Cabrio doesn’t look too dissimilar to the hatch which has to be a good thing. Inside there’s a funkily styled dashboard with chrome-rimmed dials, colour-coded panels, plush trim & smart switchgear all make the DS3 feel more upmarket than it’s Citroen cousins, add to the premium feel. Front-seat space is good & unlike the MINI & Fiat there are 3 seats in the back, although with the roof up, rear headroom is tight. The DS3 Cabrio also has a bigger boot than most of its rivals. The boot is spacious but unfortunately, it has a tiny opening & you can’t get anything of any size into it & if you do you can’t see what you’ve put in it ! The roof has three open positions & when fully lowered, the fabric hood concertinas down behind the rear seats, which is the cause of these problems. It is therefore not a true convertible in the sense that the side windows remain in place when the roof goes back.
I was able to try the car with the roof down & the DS3 protects the front & rear passengers, thanks largely to a wind deflector on top of the windscreen, but this does mean that it generates quite a bit of wind noise at speed. Because the Cabrio weighs only a few kg more than the the hatch, it drives & handles brilliantly. The diesel engine actually works really well in this model with a 0-62 mph of 9.3 seconds & a top speed of 118 mph on offer. And it’s a good motorway cruiser to boot, quiet & comfortable.
Even entry-level DSign cars come with central locking, cruise control & electric front windows. DStyle trim adds air-conditioning and tinted rear windows. My test model the DSport comes with amongst others, electrically adjustable heated door mirrors, DS LED daytime running lights, climate control, Bluetooth connectivity, 17-inch alloys, a rear spoiler & chrome side rubbing strips. Compared to the MINI convertible it’s very well equipped.
Company car drivers who want a convertible may be few & far between but if you are looking at one, the DS with the diesel engine offers CO2 emissions of just 94g/km & returns 78.5 mpg on the combined cycle, pretty impressive for what is a very fun car to drive.
As a middle-aged man, married with two teenagers & a dog, the DS3 Cabrio is not really aimed at me, especially with the small boot. My late teenage self though would have loved it & with modern safety all over this car; ABS with EBD & EBA, ESC, driver & front passenger air-bags & front & lateral curtain air bags, the parents of younger drivers will be reassured as well.
Overall, the DS3 Cabrio scores highly for equipment, price – £21,295 for the top of the range I drove- cabin space & fun & beats to my mind both the MINI & 500C in all of the areas. For a fun drive around town & a grown up car on the motorway you can’t go wrong. 3.5/5.