£18,935 - £25,785 Price range
50 - 80 MPG
The DS 3 Cabriolet is a drop-top version of the funky french hatchback that competes with the Mini Convertible, Fiat 500C and Vauxhall Adam Rocks. For a full break down of trim levels and engines head to our review of the DS 3 hatchback.
Like the hatchback it’s based on, the Cabriolet has just been restyled so it fits seamlessly into the DS range below the DS 4 and DS 5. As a result, it gets the wannabe premium brand’s new look grille and a more distinctive pair of headlights.
Its party piece is a rollback fabric roof that covers the length of the car’s passenger compartment and can be raised and lowered in 18 seconds at speeds of up to 70mph. It’s a huge selling point for anyone looking for wind-in-the-hair thrills packaged in a practical body.
Changes on the inside are also carried over from the hatchback, the biggest being the new infotainment system that’s allowed DS to drastically reduce the number of buttons on the dashboard. One of the downsides of the clever roof is that the car’s boot is smaller, but it’s still bigger than most of its rivals.
The loss of rigidity caused by losing the steel roof means that the Cabriolet can’t match the hatchback’s finesse in corners. As a result, the more powerful engines make more sense in the hardtop – we recommend the new PureTech 130 petrol that proves to be both spritely and frugal, and can be fitted with the firm’s latest automatic gearbox.
Equipment levels are what you’d expect for a car that sits above mainstream models such as the Ford Fiesta. You get 16-inch alloy wheels, air-conditioning and cruise control plus standard rear-parking sensors that are a useful addition helping get round the Cabriolet’s poor rear visibility.
The Cabriolet’s rollback roof design means buyers have to make less of a compromise than they do with a proper open-top such as the Mini Convertible. That means there’s space in the back for two adults at push. However the small rear window makes it feel dark in the back and quite claustrophobic.
Boot space is also down slightly – it’s 40 litres short of the standard car’s capacity and you access it through a small hatch rather than the regular model’s huge opening.
In terms of design, the Cabriolet’s interior is exactly the same as the hatchback’s. Thus, it doesn’t have the Mini’s feeling of quality, but is on a par with cars such as the Peugeot 208 and Fiat 500C, and coloured pieces of trim smarten things up.
Like the hatchback, the new infotainment system means there are less buttons to navigate than there were in the old model, but it’s not the simplest system to use. Volume and menu navigation buttons hidden low on the dashboard being one example of a layout that could be more intuitive.
Out on the road, the Cabriolet seems less precise than the regular hatchback – the steering feels less direct and the suspension less able to deal with bumps. DS has made an attempt to stiffen the chassis up by adding 25kgs worth of strengthening, but that also serves to make the car feel less agile in corners.
Stray away from country roads and into a town centre and you’ll soon realise your view out the back is severely restricted – giving the impression you’re peering through a letterbox. To a certain extent, DS has solved the problem by fitting rear parking sensors as standard, but that doesn’t help when you simply want to check the way is clear with a quick glance over your shoulder.
The motorway also exposes shortfalls, where wind noise sneaks through the edges of the fabric roof – making the DS 3 a relatively noisy cruiser.
The convertible DS 3 is available with exactly the same engines as the hatchback model, but is better matched with one of the mid-range units.
DS 3 Cabriolet petrol engines
Our pick would be the 130 PureTech petrol engine. It’s new and features a three-cylinder design that sounds great and helps the Cabriolet return fuel economy of more than 60mpg and low CO2 emissions for annual road tax of just £20. Performance is boosted by a turbocharger that helps the car scamper from 0-62mph in nine seconds – quick enough for something the DS 3’s size. The 165 THP and range-topping 210 Performance offer a good deal more thrust, but only serve to highlight the Cabriolet’s less-than-stellar chassis.
DS 3 Cabriolet diesel engines
While the PureTech petrol is our outright pick of the range, it can’t match the fuel economy of the diesels. It’s the BlueHDi model that offers the most eye-catching figures – it can return more than 80mpg, but the PureTech’s enthusiastic performance is absent and it also costs more to buy.
If you want to make the most of the UK’s limited sunshine, the DS 3 Cabriolet fits the bill – its roof drops quickly and easily even up to motorway speeds and it doesn’t ask you to make the big practicality comprises that other convertibles do. The only problem is the lack of precision offered by the driving experience, which means keen drivers are better catered for by the regular hatchback or the Mini Convertible.
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