DS 3 Review & Prices

The DS 3 is a small SUV that has a stand-out design and compact dimensions for easy use around town, but rear space is tight and it’s not the most refined to drive

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RRP £26,200 - £33,535 Avg. Carwow saving £1,579 off RRP
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Reviewed by Carwow after extensive testing of the vehicle.

What's good

  • Stand-out styling
  • Great around town
  • Up front cabin space is good

What's not so good

  • Boot and rear space is poor
  • Automatic gearbox is sluggish
  • Not as refined at higher speeds

Find out more about the DS 3

Is the DS 3 a good car?

In this day and age of ever-increasing SUV popularity, the DS 3 is on-trend as a former-hatchback-now-SUV that is on the smaller side. But as with other DS models, the design is very different to anything else, making you feel like you’re driving up the Champs Elysee rather than your local high street.

Alternatives such as the Volkswagen T-Roc, Mini Countryman, Audi Q2 and Skoda Kamiq are from more established brands, but the DS has a more designer-focused look to it than those.

There’s a certain Parisian feel to the DS 3, with chrome detailing on the large grille and sharp lights alongside gloss black trim pieces that give it a chic appearance. It’s quite a square-looking thing with a strange rear window shape, though the rest of the rear of the 3 is smart. If you go for the Performance Line versions, you get more black detailing.

While the chic look is well balanced on the outside, the interior design feels a bit overdone. There are a lot of diamond and triangular shapes, while air vents are strangely mounted in the doors. The touch sensitive buttons in the centre console can also be unresponsive.

You get a 7.0-inch driver’s display and a 10.3-inch infotainment touchscreen, but the graphics aren’t the best and the system is a little slow.

Space upfront is good for most with decent head and legroom, but that doesn’t continue into the back seats. The strange window shape doesn’t help with allowing light in, while head and legroom for adults is rather poor.

The 350-litre boot is quite a way down on alternatives like the Volkswagen T-Roc and Ford Puma, while you’ll need to lower things in over a fairly deep boot lip and the button to open it is quite low. Folding the seats down leaves a lump in the floor, making it difficult to slide things through.

If standing out from the crowd is important to you, the DS 3 is a funky-looking compact SUV, but it’s not as practical as alternatives

You can only get a 1.2-litre petrol engine with the DS 3, with two power options – 101hp paired to a six-speed manual and 131hp with a seven-speed automatic. If you’re ready to make the plunge to electric power, you can choose the DS 3 E-Tense.

The DS 3 has the right dimensions for driving around town, with light steering helping you manoeuvre and scoot around streets. It’s comfy in town too, while the higher-powered engine thrums away getting you up to speed. The automatic gearbox can be sluggish though.

On the motorway, the DS 3 feels a little less comfortable and refined, with a fair amount of exterior noise getting into the cabin. The 131hp engine does have enough puff for overtaking, though.

Take on a twisty road and it doesn’t perform that well either. The DS 3 leans a fair amount through the corners, the automatic gearbox doesn’t keep up when you want to accelerate briskly and the manual mode isn’t the most responsive either – something the Mini Countryman does rather well.

If you’re after a stylish small SUV that performs well in town, the DS 3 could be the car for you. But alternatives do better for practicality, driving out of town and interior features.

To get the best deals on a new DS 3, go to carwow, where you can also get deals on used DS 3s too. Used DS cars are also available, and if you want to change your car completely, you can sell your car through carwow where our trusted dealers can get you the best price.

How much is the DS 3?

The DS 3 has a RRP range of £26,200 to £33,535. However, with Carwow you can save on average £1,579. Prices start at £24,824 if paying cash. Monthly payments start at £337.

Our most popular versions of the DS 3 are:

Model version Carwow price from
1.2 PureTech Performance Line 5dr £24,824 Compare offers

Compared to its alternatives, the DS 3 is on the cheaper end of the scale. The VW T-Roc is a bit more costly but that comes with more practicality, while the Audi Q2 is a more premium product while having more space for not much more.

The Skoda Kamiq is cheaper and more spacious, while not having the best looks. The Mini Countryman may be a little larger, but we’d argue its styling doesn’t work as well as the DS 3’s.

When you take into account the higher trim levels of the DS 3 though, it can become very expensive for what it is.

Performance and Drive Comfort

The DS 3 is best suited to town driving with its light steering and comfy suspension, but it’s less composed on twisty roads

In town

Being quite compact, the DS 3 is great at nipping around town. Also, as you sit a little higher than you would in a hatchback of a similar size, you get a good view around you. The view out of the back is a little small but you have enough visibility out of the front and sides. The optional blind spot monitoring – unless you have the Opera version – gives you good assistance in this regard.

To make manoeuvring and getting around simple, the DS 3 has light steering. With its small dimensions, it feels like a go-kart at times, while the suspension works well in town to soak up most bumps.

If you go for the automatic version, you’ll notice the gearbox can be laggy when changing gears. The 131hp engine is more than quick enough to help with pulling away from junctions though, while for those not needing that much, the entry-level 101hp with the manual gearbox will be more than adequate. The DS 3 E-Tense is the better car around town altogether though.

On the motorway

The DS 3 is not quite as assured and refined at higher speeds. While it manages to be comfortable enough over bumps, there are some sharper bumps that unsettle it.

You will also notice a lot of wind and road noise, even if you’ve got the volume on your music turned up to try and cover it. That can get quite tiring on longer drives.

The gearbox, like in town, is a little sluggish when you’re accelerating or kicking down to overtake. The engine is also a little grumbly and can vibrate through the pedals.

On a twisty road

While the lighter steering is good for driving in town, it doesn’t help the DS 3 much if you’re trying to hustle down a back road. It doesn’t provide much confidence, even if you switch it into its sportiest mode, as you don’t get the best sense of grip from your front tyres.

The suspension also flounders on the usually rougher surfaces of a British B-road. With the softer setup, some holes in the surface send a shock through the cabin and it can unsettle the car. You will also feel a fair amount of leaning from the body.

Even with the engine and gearbox in their most dynamic setting, the DS 3 doesn’t feel particularly sporty. You’ll be better off taking it easy.

Space and practicality

While there’s a good amount of space up front, the rear seats and boot lag behind other options

Being on the more compact end of the market, you wouldn’t expect the DS 3 to be huge inside. But you actually get a comfortable amount of room to play with in the front, even if you’re quite tall. You have a lot of adjustment in the seats and steering column to get in position, while maintaining a good view out ahead of you.

Storage options are okay, with the doorbins able to fit a medium-sized water bottle and you get two cupholders in the middle for a coffee. The bin under the central armrest is adequate, while the other section in the middle has a wireless charger for your smartphone on the higher-spec versions and a USB-C port.

Space in the back seats

If you’ve got tall people up front, you wouldn’t want to be an adult sitting in the back of a DS3. It’s quite cramped to say the least, while the high sill and strange shape of the window can make the back seats feel quite dingy and unwelcoming.

The seats – if you have enough space – are quite comfy, but you’ll need some help from people up front for the kneeroom to be more bearable. Headroom is also a bit tight for taller people.

Getting a child seat in can be tricky too, especially if it’s on the bulky side. The door opening is narrow and it can take some stabbing around to get to the anchor points. You do get some decent seat pockets, but the door bins are small.

Boot space

With 350 litres on offer, the DS 3’s boot isn’t terrible and is more than capable of holding a weekly shop without much trouble. But with alternatives like the Skoda Kamiq (400 litres), Ford Puma (456 litres), Volkswagen T-Roc (445 litres) and Audi Q2 (405 litres) all offering more space, those are better if you use the full capacity of your boot regularly.

There are some hooks and a 12V socket to help make the boot more practical, but you have a deep lip to load things into with the DS 3. Also when you fold the seats down, there’s a ridge between the boot floor and the seat backs, making sliding things forward or loading quite tricky.

Interior style, infotainment and accessories

You get a good amount of equipment in the cabin, but the quality is not up to scratch and the styling is divisive

Where DS majors is in style, but you might find the interior style of the DS 3 a bit much. There are a lot of diamond shapes throughout, like with the touch-sensitive panels and air vents, and with the chrome detailing around, it’s a bit much for us.

The upholstery for the seats varies depending on the model, with the Performance Line options getting Alcantara covering the chairs, while the Rivoli and Opera versions have leather. All four trims also get a leather steering wheel, while the Performance Line models get perforated leather. You get leather on the dashboard as well, which adds a premium feel.

That high-end feeling doesn’t last though, as there’s a fair amount of scratchy black plastic both in the middle and around the door bins. Although there’s leather for the armrests, most other touch points don’t feel very posh.

While the screens are fairly sharp, the system on them isn’t the best. It feels laggy and isn’t the most intuitive. The 7.0-inch driver’s display does offer a good amount of info, but there are not a lot of views to choose from.

Using the 10.3-inch infotainment screen is of a good size and it’s responsive enough, but the software is not that great. You’re better off using Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, both of which can connect wirelessly.

Going through optional extras isn’t the easiest, as there are a fair amount to choose from. You can get an upgraded sound system, additional safety systems, a head-up display and matrix LED headlights, as well as a few others.

MPG, emissions and tax

You can only choose from a 1.2-litre turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine with two power options – 101hp and 131hp. The 101hp engine gets a six-speed manual transmission, while the 131hp gets an eight-speed automatic.

The lesser-powered option has 204Nm of torque, and you can get from 0-60mph in 10.9 seconds. The top-speed is 112mph. You can get up to 49.6mpg for fuel economy, while the emissions are between 128 and 141g/km of CO2.

The 131hp engine develops 250Nm, allowing for 0-60mph in 9.2 seconds with a top speed of 124mph. Fuel efficiency is slightly lower than the 101hp option, with the top-end at 46.3mpg. On our tests, we achieved 44mpg across mixed conditions. Emissions are set at 148g/km CO2.

With similar emission levels, both versions of the DS 3 are in a mid-level vehicle excise duty band. You’ll have to pay a fair amount in company car tax though, especially when you consider how little you’d have to pay for the DS 3’s electric sibling, the E-Tense.

Safety and security

Tested back in 2019 by Euro NCAP as the DS 3 Crossback, the DS 3 got a four-star rating without the top safety equipment, and five stars with the top Advanced Safety pack included. Without the additional safety kit, it received an average score in pedestrian safety, lowering the overall rating.

As standard, all DS 3s get emergency braking (up to 52mph), lane keeping and departure warning, speed limit recognition and cruise control with speed limiter. You can option the Advanced Safety pack, which adds adaptive cruise control, blind spot detection and advanced emergency brake assist.

You can also add a pack that features a reversing camera and front sensors to make driving in town and parking much easier.

As well as the safety assists, you get all-round airbags, emergency assistance calling with a button in the cabin light panel, an anti-theft alarm and two rear ISOFIX points.

Reliability and problems

Since its reveal in 2018 when it was called the DS 3 Crossback, the DS 3 has been hit with one recall. It involved the AC compressor wiring failing, causing the powertrain to stop working, which affected a little over 2,000 cars. If you’re looking at used versions, you should check to see if that has been resolved.

For the DS 3 you get a three-year, 60,000-mile warranty, and that will only be transferred to a used car if it’s less than two years old.

Buy or lease the DS 3 at a price you’ll love
We take the hassle and haggle out of car buying by finding you great deals from local and national dealers
RRP £26,200 - £33,535 Avg. Carwow saving £1,579 off RRP
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