Citroen DS3 Cabrio Convertible (2012 - ) review
Read the Citroen DS3 Cabrio (2013 - ) car review by Auto Trader's motoring experts, covering price, specification, running costs, practicality, safety and how it drivesThe Auto Trader expert verdict: 3.2 The Citroen DS3 Cabrio is stylish to look at, decent to drive and classy to sit in. It has its flaws, but so do its main rivals. If you’re looking for a small convertible, give it a look.
- Very stylish
- Strong on interior quality
- Good turbocharged engine
- The other 1.6 engine is frustratingly flat
- Firm ride and wobbly body
- Tiny, hard-to-access boot
At a glance
Entry-level DSign models come with a few nice features such as cruise control, rear parking sensors and stereo controls mounted on the steering column, but it misses other items you might expect such as air-conditioning and alloy wheels. DStyle trim ticks those boxes and also provides various chrome trims, but you need to upgrade to range-topping DSport trim to get something as basic as a Bluetooth phone connection. You also get climate control.
With a brief glance, you’ll struggle to tell the Cabrio apart from the regular DS3. The fixed roof pillars mean it has exactly the same shape as the hatchback – the only giveaway is that the bit between the pillars is made from fabric rather than metal. This is no bad thing where the looks are concerned, because the DS3 is one very smart little car, with slinky lines and bold detailing. It might not be such great news if you’re after a ‘proper’ cabriolet, though, because essentially, the folding top is no more than a large sunroof.
This is another area where the DS3 impresses. The materials feel dense, classy and solidly assembled, and the interior design looks sharp and fresh. The driving position has lots of adjustment to help you get comfortable, too, but the cabin isn’t without its foibles. The stereo system is rather fiddly, and rear visibility is poor with the roof up and virtually non-existent with it down.
The DS3 Cabrio’s engine range consists of three petrols, a three-cylinder 1.2 with 80bhp, a four-cylinder 1.6 with 118bhp and a turbocharged 1.6 with 154bhp. We haven’t driven the 1.2 yet, but the 1.6 turbo delivers warm-hatch pace when you work it hard and half-decent flexibility when you don’t. The naturally-aspirated 1.6 feels rather more sedate, and needs working too hard to keep you going at a decent rate.
With the DS3 Cabrio’s roof line being pretty much the same as the hatchback’s, passengers lose very little in the way of interior space. The thing is, the hatchback is a little on the tight side to start with, because the rear seats are short on both headroom and kneeroom. Tall passengers won’t want to stay there for long. Boot space is severely affected by the roof, though. The loadspace is small, and it’s accessed through a very shallow and narrow aperture. This isn’t a car for carrying loads.
Citroen doesn’t have the best reputation in this area, but Warranty Direct’s manufacturer standings currently place the brand mid-table for reliability. The solid build quality of the car should also give you some confidence, but you only get a three-year warranty while many rival manufacturers provide longer ones.
Ride and handling
Removing a car’s roof inevitably affects its stiffness, but the fact that the DS3 Cabrio still has its solid roof pillars means it’s a little more rigid than it would otherwise be. You can still feel a fair amount of shake and wobble through the bodywork over bumps, though, and this is exacerbated by the firm ride. However, the DS3 Cabrio does handle pretty sharply, with tight body control and strong grip. It’s just a shame that the steering is rather remote.
The DS3 Cabrio costs roughly the same as a Fiat 500C, but is considerably cheaper than a Mini Convertible. However, both these rivals have massively impressive residual values, and we can’t see the Citroen matching them. This will push up your whole-life costs. That said, you should be able to get more of a discount from Citroen dealers to help offset the difference. Fuel economy and CO2 emissions are better than the Mini’s and on a par with the Fiat’s.
All DS3 Cabrios comes with an electronic stability control system to help keep you out of trouble, and six airbags in case that trouble becomes unavoidable. The DS3 Cabrio hasn’t yet been crash tested by the experts at Euro NCAP, but the regular hatchback scored a maximum five-star rating.
The DS3 Cabrio is a likeable car thanks to its style, but although it’s decent to drive, the firm ride, wobbly body and hit-and-miss engine range mean the car isn’t without its flaws. Then again, you can say the same about the Fiat and Mini with which it competes. If you’re looking for a small, affordable convertible, it’s definitely worthy of your consideration.