For the test drive, lucky as I am, I drove the hot 1.6 THP 155 version to find out. It’s flagship of a range that starts with the 80bhp 1.2-litre model.
The DS3 Cabrio is not a roaster, even not a real cabriolet: the DS3 Cabrio roof peels back leaving the side roof structure around the doors and can be set in one of three positions, intermediate, horizontal and total with the roof tucked up onto the rear window like a spoiler.
The roof itself takes 16 seconds to retract fully and there are some rather funky colors and the design of the test card includes with the DS monogram imprinted. Really cool!
In Belgium, when sunlit moments arrive, the DS3 Cabrio is more than open enough to enter into the spirit of things. And when the rain returns, the electric roof mechanism is operable up to 120km/h, so, if a downpour hits on the motorway, you don’t have to get drenched all the way to the next junction.
Like the Fiat 500C, the fully-retracted hood concertinas like a busker’s accordion over the bootlid, blocking all rear visibility. To compensate for the blindspot, rear parking sensors are standard, while the big door mirrors offer a decent view rearwards.
The interior is technical and funky with easy to operate switches and a look like no other car including a flat bottom wheel and broad sweep of mock carbon fibre fascia.
The fancy cabin is carried over wholesale from the hardtop DS3, and makes a refreshing change from the familiar retro-pastiche choices. It’s colorful and well-trimmed (leather seats and steering wheel are standard on the DSport), though the driving position is straight from the long-arm/short-leg catalogue. Tricky styling features include 3D tail lights that disappear into infinity…
I also like the stereo. The quality and depth of sound emitted from the hi-fi is brilliant, even if the radio reception is a bit poor.
The DS3 can seat five people. Front space is impressive and there are three seats in the back (the 500C and Mini have only two). However, with the hood up, rear headroom is tight for tall people, particularly towards the outer edges of the car.
This car has a large boot but, to accommodate the concertinaed roof, the aperture has been designed like a large letterbox… Over the week I was testing the car I found myself loading the back seat with shopping through the open roof rather than trying to post the bags into the boot! The DS3 Cabrio practicality is let down by the boot dropping 40 liters to 245.
The DS3 Cabriolet is just 25kg heavier than its hatchback equivalent, with a strut brace and some ballast at the rear the only additional changes beyond the roof itself.
A full suite of safety gear is installed in the Citroen DS3 range, including six airbags, resulting in a five-star rating in crash testing.
The DS3 Carbrio comes with a choice of three petrol engines (an 80bhp three-cylinder 1.2, a 118bhp 1.6 and a 154bhp 1.6 turbo) and one diesel engine (1.6 diesel)
Unsurprisingly, just like the regular Citroen DS3. It’s a softer and relaxing car to drive. The ride is firm but well-damped.
As I say earlier I was driving the sweet 1.6 turbo petrol engine. This engine is very able to provide convincing motivation. It’s reactive enough, and the DS3 can be driven keenly with relative ease. It suits a cabrio’s character quite well: its characterless but linear power delivery and rich torque reserves mean it’s happy to lope along on the boost in taller gears, making relaxed progress.
Overall, the DS3 is really nice to drive but it’s not a real warm hatch. If you want a truly hot version, you’ll have to beg Citroen to slot the DS3 Racing’s 203bhp hardware into the Cabrio bodystyle…
By eschewing a fully convertible roof, the DS3 avoids any notable shake or shimmy. Wind noise is minor with the roof up, and with it down, buffeting isn’t too bad up to 120km/h, a standard pop-up wind deflector at the top of the windscreen ensuring conversation volumes can remain constant.
The DS3 Cabrio offers a satisfying experience. Cute styling, stylish interior and generous features plus the price make the DS3 Cabriolet a tempting proposition.
Even the rear visibility with the roof stowed is almost nonexistent all models come with parking sensors. And it was more than nice to get the roof down. A sunny day, I had a gentle cruise down the county lanes of Belgian and I really enjoy it. The perfect way to test this car and adopt it!