Despite our turbulent weather in the UK, convertibles have always remained strong sellers, more so than countries which do get plenty of hot weather. With both the Fiat 500 and MINI available as convertibles, it was only a matter of time before Citroen joined the fray, and that’s exactly what they have done with the addition of a cabrio to the popular DS3 range.
Rather than extensively re-engineer the DS3 by removing the roof completely, Citroen has gone down a similar route to Fiat by keeping the car’s pillars in place. It means that the Cabrio shares the same attractive styling as the Hatchback, with its shark-fin b-pillars and prominent grill incorporating the brand’s chevrons.
The interior is also carried over, so you get the same smartly designed dashboard constructed of premium materials. The dials looks as retro-cool as ever, and there is a real sense of occasion from the driver’s seat as you grasp the thick rimmed steering wheel.
Because of the fixed roof pillars, space inside is exactly the same as the hatchback, so there is ample space for a pair of adults in the rear, and those up front also get generous amounts of space. The boot is marginally smaller at 245 litres but the biggest problem is getting to it. As the folding roof stretches all the way down to the top of the tailgate Citroen were left with no choice but to fit an awkward hinge leaving a letterbox shaped opening to get luggage in.
Lowering the roof is easy with just a press of a button on the overhead console giving drivers a choice of 3 different positions – intermediate, horizontal or total – impressively the entire roof can be opened or closed in just 16 seconds at speeds up to 75 mph. When the roof is fully down refinement has been maintained with very little buffeting around passengers’ heads.
The DS3s engine range broadly mirrors that of the hatchback, with my test car coming fitted with a 155 bhp 1.6-litre petrol unit that serves up 240 Nm of torque from just 1,400 rpm. It’s a superb unit that is free-revving with plenty of power always on tap when you need it. It also emits a satisfying grumble under acceleration and thanks to a slick shifting 6-speed gearbox, keeping it on the boil is a pleasure.
Just like its hatchback sibling the DS3 Cabrio is a hoot to drive. It turns in crisply with little body roll, a great deal of agility and bags of grip. It’s easy to accurately place the car too, thanks to steering that offers plenty of feedback, weighting up progressively when cornering. Whether you are in a hurry or not, the DS3 is a very rewarding drive.
For a shade under £20,000 the DSport you see here comes with a lot of toys. Digital climate control, tinted windows, electric door mirrors, electric windows, cruise control, a leather steering wheel, carbon fibre effect dashboard, aluminium pedals and a CD stereo with steering-wheel-mounted controls plus Bluetooth and USB connection all come as standard. On the outside, the DS3 comes with chrome door handles and door strips, front LED daytime running lights, fog lights, 17 inch alloy wheels, roof-coloured door mirrors, two-tone body and roof colours, tinted rear windows, an alarm, rear spoiler and double chrome exhausts.
Despite the ample power on offer, running costs are unlikely to break the bank, with average fuel economy of 47.9 mpg. With emissions of 137 g/km the THP155 falls into VED band E, setting owners back just £125 per year.
Tech Data for the Citroen DS3 Cabrio
Price as tested: £22,340 (£19,845 without options)
Leasing options from First Vehicle Leasing
Engine: 1.6 16v 155 bhp – 0-62 mph: 8.2 secs – Maximum Speed: 132 mph
Economy: 35.3 mpg (urban) 58.9 mpg (extra-urban), 47.9 mpg (combined) – Emissions: 137 g/km (Band E) – VED (12 months): £125
Dimensions: Length: 3,948 mm – Width: 1,715 mm – Height: 1,483 mm – Wheelbase: 2,464 mm – Kerb Weight: 1,250 kg
*data from Citroen UK