Put simply, a Citroen DS3 with half the roof removed. This isn’t a convertible in the traditional sense, though – rather than folding the entire roof structure away into the boot, Citroen have given the DS3 a full-length fabric sunroof, rather like the one you’ll find on the Fiat 500C.
Unsurprisingly it’s very similar to the standard DS3, and that’s no bad thing. Dynamically the DS still isn’t up there with the Minis and Ford Fiestas of this world, but it’s certainly not bad. In typical Citroen fashion, the DS3 is biased fairly heavily towards comfort – but that’s no bad thing considering how most buyers will be driving. Go for the surprisingly smooth 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine and you’ll get a reasonably quick car too.
The DS3 1.6 THP DSport edition starts from £19,845
Again, very similar to the tin-top version. The DS3’s interior isn’t quite the design revelation it seemed in 2008, but it’s still quite plush by today’s standards. There are some decent quality materials and plenty of design flair, though certain things – Citroen’s fiddly sat nav system for example – do let the side down. Our car had a mysterious lack of cup holders too, which may sound petty, but quickly gets irritating.
In top-down mode, the DS3 remains a pleasant place to sit. Even at motorway speeds the DS manages to avoid the awkward buffeting feeling you get in some convertibles, and the stereo is decent enough to drown out most road noise too. Fold the top back all the way and there’s almost zero rear visibility, go one stage up – keeping the rear window in place – and there’s no issue.
Compared to most cabriolets, certainly. No boot space gets stolen to store the roof, and as the DS3 keeps its hatchback-like shape, there are no issues with head or legroom in the back. There are some sacrifices though – namely the strange letterbox like opening for the boot, which does make loading things a bit of a pain. There’s not much in the way of storage space in the cabin either, and the glove box is rather minuscule.
If you fancy some top-down fun without all of the practicality drawbacks of a two-seater, we say yes. The DS3 is well priced, nice to drive and looks great too. More fun can be had in cars like the Mazda MX-5, but for a desirable five-seat cabrio, the DS3 gets our vote.
Citroen DS3 Cabrio 1.6 THP 155 DSport
List price: £19,845
Engine: 1.6-litre, turbocharged petrol
Top speed: 132mph
0-62mph: 8.2 seconds
Fuel economy: 35.3mpg (urban), 58.9mpg (extra-urban), 47.9mpg (combined)
Emissions: 137g/km CO2
Euro NCAP rating: Five stars (DS3 hatchback)
July 9, 2014