Used Citroen Ds3
When the original Citroen DS appeared back in 1955 it represented a revolution in car design. Although the DS3 didn't offer quite such a leap at its launch in 2010 it did mark something of a return to the French company's quirky roots.
Stylish and fun to drive but still affordable to run the DS3 comes as a 1.6 HDi diesel in 110 and 90bhp versions, a 1.4 VTi 95 and 1.6 VTi 120 plus a 1.6 THP turbo petrol with a 150bhp. 2011 saw the addition of the DS3 Racing model with even more extrovert exterior trim and a turbocharged petrol engine delivering 207bhp. All cars are three-door hatchbacks with a contrasting colour roof giving the car its unique style.
Bang for your buck
There are three standard levels of trim, DSign, DStyle and Dsport, plus the Racing. But that only tells part of the story, the DS3 like the BMW Mini is highly customisable to the point where it's hard to find two that are exactly the same. The roof comes in a choice of four contrasting colours and the mirrors and rubbing strips can be personalised in colours or chrome. The customisation options continue inside with six different dash finishes and a wide choice of fabric and leather upholstery, there are even five gear knob finishes.
The DS3 is around the same size as a Ford Fiesta but has good levels of interior space and a relatively generous 285-litre boot.
What you'll pay
A 10 plate 1.4 DSign will be around £9,000 depending on mileage and spec. An HDi DStyle diesel on a 61 plate should be about £12,000 and a THP DSport of the same age around £13,000. Don't expect to get a bargain on a Racing there are few used ones around as yet and they're mostly ex-demonstrators.
What to check
The petrol engines were developed with BMW and the THP is used in the Mini Cooper S and Peugeot 207 GTi so the technology is tried and tested. There have been reports of sticking tailgate hinges and of paint problems and corroded alloys. There have been a few recalls for suspension fixings, parking brake and battery earth cables so check that these have been carried out – you can enter the VIN on Citroen's website to see if any recalls apply to the car you're looking at. These cars have a sporty image so check for worn tyres, damaged alloys and other signs of hard use.
Citroen parts prices shouldn't prove too painful. Replacement front brake pads will be about £48 - £32 for the rears – and £85 for front discs. An air filter will be about £12 and an oil filter £14.
How it drives
The used Citroen DS3 has firm suspension – perhaps a little too firm for some – and sharp steering giving it a sporty feel. The gearbox (6-speeds in the THP) is slick if slightly notchy and there's a wide range of seat and steering adjustment so you should be able to find a decent driving position.
Whilst the diesel and VTi models offer good everyday performance the THP will take you to 60 in 7.3 seconds and on to 133mph. The Racing will do the sprint even quicker in 6.3 and has uprated suspension and brakes to cope with the extra power.
Inside there are generous levels of kit and some smart design touches with a quality feel to the trim. Turn the key on a DSport model and the instrument pointers spin round the dial before returning to zero – something you don't normally see outside expensive sportscars. You get a good amount of room inside too and the car will seat three in the back for short journeys.
The styling may be a bit love it or hate it but there's a lot to like about the DS3. It brought a touch of individuality back to Citroens and is a car that stands out from the crowd. If you're the sort of person that likes to blend into the background then it won't be for you but if you want a hot hatch that's different and fun then make sure a used Citroen DS3 is on your short list.