DS3 DSport Red THP 155
just three years ago,
answer to the MINI changed
perception of the French
this year sees the MINI-
baiting DS3 range of stylish three-
door supermini hatchbacks going
seriously into the Red zone ...
FUNKY AND SPORTY DS3, with its wide range of colours and options, was an instant
sales hit and quickly scooped up a number of media awards. This was followed
by the DS4 family hatchback with coupe styling overtones and the larger DS5,
a stylish alternative to a conventional executive saloon.
It's a move that must be working as Citroen's UK new car sales for the year
so far are up by 15.3% in an overall new car market where sales, mainly from
private buyers, has increased by 8.8%. In fact, the DS3 is now Citroen's best-selling
model range in the UK with around 15,000 a year sold here and the recently
launched DS3 Cabrio will no doubt boost sales even further.
DS3 is Citroen's answer to the MINI and Fiat 500 both fashionable, fun-to-own,
high profile models with loads of profitable extra-cost personalisation options.
But fashions date quickly and more new versions and special editions are needed
to keep these 'must-haves' fresh and desirable.
The DS3 is Citroens
answer to the MINI
and the Fiat 500
both fashionable, fun-to-
own, high profile
models with loads of
MINI range, for instance, has sprouted more new models than we can keep up with;
the Fiat 500 is not far behind, with more to come. And the DS3 now has a Cabrio
version in addition to the original three-door hatch and during its short life
has seen a number of special editions introduced to keep the appeal strong.
At the beginning of the year Citroen introduced DS3 Red special edition models
to the range, priced from £15,655. Other DS3 versions cost from £12,850 (for
the 81bhp 1.2 VTi) petrol up to £24,300 for the 197bhp 1.6-litre turboed petrol
Racing variant. There are, of course, other 1.6 petrol and diesel engines to
choose from. And (depending on the engine chosen) there are also DSign, DStyle,
DSport and Ultra Prestige levels of specification in addition to the Racing
and Red special versions.
There are two levels of spec for the DS3 Red special edition variants. The DS3
DStyle Red is available with either a 1.6-litre VTi 120 petrol engine or a 1.6
e-HDI 90 Airdream diesel, both with five-speed gearboxes and priced, respectively,
at £15,655 and £15,855.
The second level is DS3 DSport Red with the choice of a 1.6-litre THP 155 turbocharged
petrol engine or a 1.6 e-HDI 115 Airdream turbodiesel unit, both with six-speed
manual 'boxes. These cost £17,780 and £18,060 respectively.
The core selling features for the DS3 Red variants are added specification along
with distinctive body colour options (Polar White or Perla Nera Black) with
Red Touch interior and exterior paint highlights. The Red Touch finish includes
a Sport Red coloured roof, door mirrors and front grille and, in the cabin,
matching red dashboard and door handle surrounds. Matching the exterior white
or black main body colour are 16-inch alloys for the DStyle version and 17-inch
ones for the DSport. A space-saver spare is also included.
variants have the DS3's high equipment levels such as stability control, ABS,
electric front windows, cruise control, front fog lights, sculptured front seats
On the face of it the
price looks costly, but in
fact its very attractive
compared with its
competition best of
all, its a bit more
exclusive on UK roads
than the commonplace MINIs and
retro Fiat 500s...
DStyle Red variants gain Citroen's Connect Signature pack which includes Bluetooth
and USB connectivity plus an enhanced Hi-Fi system with additional speakers.
The DSport's added equipment includes automatic headlights and wipers, rear
parking sensors, electric heated and folding door mirrors, interior mood lighting
and front central armrest plus Bluetooth and upgraded Hi-Fi.
not driven the DS3 three-door hatchback since its launch three year ago
apart from the new Cabrio I've just had a reunion with the new DSport
Red THP 155 six-speed (to give it its full title) carrying a premium price sticker
On the face of it that looks costly, but in fact it's very attractive compared
with its competition and, best of all, it's a bit more exclusive on UK roads
than the commonplace MINIs and 'retro' Fiat 500s.
The DS3 DSport Red is certainly an eye-catcher and my test car generated lots
of interest with its bright red roof contrasting against the smart black body.
The black alloys set it off a treat but did cause me to take extra care avoiding
the many potentially damaging potholes littering our neglected roads.
The classy interior with its mainly black trim and upholstery was certainly
brightened up by the full-width red fascia and the door handle surrounds. The
sporty front seats were supporting and comfortable, although the rear legroom
really is minimal even children will struggle to fit in. However the
split rear seats do fold down, extending the boot from 285 to 980 litres so
the DS3 DSport Red does make a versatile image booster.
The 1.6-litre THP 155 turbocharged engine comes from the family of petrol units
produced jointly by PSA Peugeot-Citroen and BMW/MINI and is well known in various
models. In the DS3 this THP unit with 154bhp and, more importantly, 136lb ft
of torque from just 1,400rpm, is very linear and strong and serves up progressive
and not at all 'peaky' acceleration response throughout the rev-range.
this well-liked engine can remain docile and flexible at low speeds, even in
high gears when conditions dictate. The close-ratio six-speed transmission comes
with a slick gearchange.
The handling is agile
and the steering sharp,
with plenty of grip
from the front wheels
The ride is firm but not
Officially this unit will return 47.1mpg in the Combined Cycle and my test drive
(during a very cold and snowy spell) logged 42.7mpg covering all types of roads
and driving speeds.
speed is 133mph and the zero to 62mph dash takes 7.3 seconds. With CO2 emissions
of 135g/km, the road tax is £125 a year. Company car drivers will pay 18% BIK
tax for the pleasure of driving a Red.
The handling is agile and the steering sharp, with plenty of grip from the front
wheels during cornering. The ride is firm but not too uncomfortable however,
our pitted and potholed roads do it no favours when driven at speed, and there
is too much road noise intrusion. As much as I tried to miss potholes to save
damaging the smart alloys, hit one and the shock unsettles the path of the car.
So, 'against' we have an at times crashy ride and road noise intrusion, and
very limited rear legroom. But in the 'for' column there's a lot of good stuff
including the impressive extra Red specification with eye-catching Red finish
inside and out, a classy interior, and a strong engine. Plus it's roomier than
a Fiat 500 and boasts much more style and exclusivity than a MINI.
Citroen DS3 DSport Red THP 155
Maximum speed: 133mph | 0-62mph: 7.3 seconds | Average test MPG: 42.7mpg
Power: 154bhp | Torque: 136lb ft | CO2 135g/km