2013 CITROEN DS3 CABRIO REVIEW
What’s Hot: Zesty manual DSport, versatile folding top and quiet on-road
What’s Not: Outdated four-speed auto in DStyle, suspension perhaps overly firm
X-Factor: A statement in top-down individuality - with more than a dollop of French flair - plus a fun steer.
Vehicle Style: Two-door Cabriolet
Price: from $30,990 (plus on-roads)
Engine/trans: 88kW/160Nm 4cyl petrol | 4spd auto
Engine/trans: 115kW/240Nm 4cyl turbo petrol | 6spd manual
Fuel Economy claimed: 6.7 l/100km (auto) | 5.9 l/100km (manual)
It offers two distinctly different driving experiences wrapped into the one body-shell.
The DStyle is a sedate 1.6 litre four-cylinder petrol, four-speed automatic priced from $30,990 (plus on-roads).
The DSport, on the other hand, has a much fiestier turbocharged 1.6 litre four-cylinder with six-speed manual for $32,990 (plus on-roads) under the bonnet.
And the choices don’t end there: there are three colour options for the fabric roof - black, blue or monogram. Choose the black roof and you have the choice of seven paint finishes; the blue and monogram roof options each offer four paint colour choices.
There are three interior trims and three wheel-styles to choose from as well, making 45 available colour and trim combinations in total. (Have you digested all that?)
So what do we make of the choice between DStyle and DSport? And Citroen’s DS3 Cabrio rivals?
The indicator and wiper stalks are on the ‘wrong’ sides, and being a French car, the ‘odd’ numbers (90, 110 etc) are prominent on the speedometer rather than the ‘even’ numbers that Australian drivers are more accustomed to.
Some may find the sports seats were a bit too 'sporty' for their liking, but we like their deep bolsters. A little more airflow from the small vents though would be nice.
Citroen claims that the DS3 Cabrio is the only true five-seater in its class, but we think the back seat is best-suited to children, or shorter trips if you've got adults there.
Head-room is surprisingly good with the fabric roof up, and obviously limitless with it down.
The roof – complete with glass rear window - has three open positions; past the front occupants (intermediate), past the rear occupants or fully open. It opens or closes fully in 16 seconds, and this can be done at speeds up to 120km/h.
The aerodynamics for the Cabrio are the same as the hatch, and there is no increase in road noise (fabric roofs, and the extra body bracing required, often improve road noise).
The Sat Nav and Hi Fi package is standard on the DSport but a $2,000 option on the DStyle (eliminating the price difference).
An in-dash air-freshener dial (featuring a floral picture) is standard in both but despite our best efforts, we didn’t notice any difference.
Final word on interior goes to the impressive boot. It reminds us a little of the old Mazda 121 (little Hippo), with a well-designed pop-up boot lid that presents a usable 245 litres of boot space.
This is more than any other cabriolet in its class, with room for two small suitcases and the picnic basket as well.
ON THE ROAD
DStyle: Perhaps the name says it all; this is a car for drivers who prefer style over, well, almost everything.
With an 88kW 1.6 litre engine it isn’t too slow, but it also isn’t going to set any performance records. Particularly while it is held back by a four-speed automatic (five-speeds is increasingly the norm).
The transmission in our test car also sometimes seemed to in two minds about which gear to choose, but switching to “Sport” mode does improve things. It also sharpens up downshifts, particularly on downhill sections on hilly roads.
Handling however is superb, and is unlikely to be challenged by the engine’s power output.
The DStyle is an easy drive and an entertaining one with the roof down, but the DSport is a performance bargain in comparison.
DSport: The DSport’s much perkier 115kW and 240Nm from its 1.6 litre turbocharged engine means that the nicely-balanced handling has a willing engine to match.
The six-speed manual and good brakes compliment the package nicely.
The gearbox is a great little unit. It's quick, shifts sweetly between all of the quite usable ratios, and can have you rowing the little Citroen along very rapidly.
And with very little turbo lag.
Ride is compromised by the stiff sporty suspension in both models, with the rear occasionally unsettled over big bumps (not so much of a problem in France…).
Wind noise with the roof down is better than you would expect, with a small pop-up flap at the front doing its job to keep wind and noise from intruding into the cabin. But it does make a good fly-screen to trap bugs!
WARRANTY AND SERVICING
Warranty: Three years / 100,000km
Service costs: All DS models come with capped price servicing, set at $360 per year or 20,000 kms (whichever comes first) for the first three years or 60,000km of the vehicle’s life.
FIRST DRIVE VERDICT
Unless the idea of using a clutch pedal makes you cry, the Citroen DS3 Cabrio DSport is the pick by a country mile. If you enjoy driving, do whatever it takes to find the extra $2,000 that the DSport commands over the DStyle.
We’re not saying the DStyle is a bad car, but the DSport is so much better that it makes the DStyle look like the poorer cousin.
And if you choose the Sat Nav and Wi Fi option with your DStyle (standard in the DSport), the prices are identical.
The DSport is also much cheaper than its MINI Cooper Cabrio rival and offers better performance. However, it is much more expensive than the Fiat 500C Pop, thanks to the light Fiat’s recent price cut.
Overall, the 2013 Citroen DS3 Cabrio is a fun car.
PRICING (excludes on-road costs)
- 2013 DS3 Cabrio DStyle - Automatic - $30,990
- 2013 DS3 Cabrio DSport - Manual - $32,990
- Sat Nav and Hi-Fi System (DStyle only, standard on DSport) - $2000
- Metallic Paint – $800
- Blue or Monogram Roof - $800
- Leather trim - $2000