LAOIS MOTORING: DS 3, Premium Compact Crossover of superior quality for the Peugeot Citroën group

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DS Automobiles is a premium brand of the PSA group (Peugeot Citroën) and offers a range of premium cars based on the Citroën range. Despite having seen tremendous success across Europe, everything has calmed down here in Ireland since its launch in 2015, but they are back!

The best example of comparison is to think that DS is to Citroën what Lexus is to Toyota.

So can they break into the premium market? Well, it is going to be very difficult because buyers of premium brand cars like Mercedes, BMW and Audi are very loyal and appreciate the image that their cars convey. Lexus, with all the backing of Toyota, has never managed to match the Germans in the sales rankings, although they make cars that are just as good and maybe better in some ways. So can DS Automobiles decipher it?

Traveling around Europe it quickly becomes apparent that especially in France the DS brand is quite popular, but it can take a while to gain the same traction here.

So, does he have any street credit?

The DS3 is an attractive car overall, but not in a way that stands out from the crowd. The chrome door handles that are flush with the bodywork come out electrically when you flip the remote to open it and this is unique in this category. The overall design is good, although I’m not so sure about the high door panel line at the leading edge of the rear doors. Two-tone alloy rims and slim taillights are a nice touch.

How is it inside?

The interior is covered in an abundance of ‘Bastille’ leather, combined with a beautiful diamond-shaped aluminum switchgear, the look and feel is certainly first-class.

The elevated driving position is perfect and the digital instrumentation again reflects the styling theme of the interior. I didn’t particularly like the digital dashboard layout, but it’s a personal choice. The standard kit is also fairly comprehensive, although the Prestige model under test lacked satellite navigation. The graphics on the center-mounted screen look pretty basic by competing standards and it’s a bit tricky to use.

Accommodation is good up front, but the rear could be described as comfortable for two adults with particularly compromised legroom. The trunk can hold around 350 liters of luggage or up to 1,050 liters with the seats folded down. It is average for a car of this category.

What’s under the hood?

Power comes from a fairly good 1.2 liter 3 cylinder gasoline engine that produced 130 hp and in my test car was mated to an automatic gearbox. The driver can use the gearshift paddles mounted on the steering column to change gears or simply leave it in automatic mode. Performance is good and it’s a nice, refined power unit. Fuel economy was good at just 5.8 liters per 100 km. The road tax is 210.00 €.

How does it feel to drive?

The DS3 is quiet and refined and drives and handles quite well. All in all, it is a pleasant place for the driver and passengers.

Verdict

Prices start at € 30,165 for the Elegance model. The Prestige on trial cost 38,665 €.

The new DS range will have to prove itself and it will take quite a while to really take hold. It is not easy to break into the luxury segment where the appeal of the badge matters a lot. Nonetheless, the DS product is top notch and if, as they expect, they have an exclusive dealer network and can convince those who prefer a premium German brand, then maybe it will be successful.


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