2016 DS Automobiles DS 3 Cabrio BlueHDi 120 Review

DRIVEN: DS Automobiles DS 3 Cabrio Review

Here is DS Automobiles’ treat for the sun lovers, namely the DS 3 Cabrio BlueHDi 120.

What’s the DS Automobiles DS 3 Cabrio BlueHDi 120 all About?

In 2014, the DS brand separated from Citroen to build its own reputation and following, and since the split DS Automobiles have almost started from scratch with the DS 3 to make it their own.

The updates to the DS 3 include the new wings integrated into the front bumper which sits under the new DS LED Vision headlights, DS connect box for insurance advantages, Active City Brake, and Mirror Screen functionality in the infotainment system.

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The cars, as ever, can be completely customised with a range of wheels, body paint colours, roof colours and various decals, making each car pretty unique.

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DS have taken the DS 3 to another level by creating the Cabrio. They have removed the roof and fitted a cloth based, fully electronic, sliding roof. This allows you to have even more fun in the car than before, by opening you up to the surroundings.

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We tested the 1.6 BlueHDi 120 engine that creates 120 PS and 300 Nm of torque. The power goes very nicely through the front wheels using a 6-speed manual gearbox. This setup gives a 0-60 mph time of 8.9 seconds, and a top speed of 118 mph. This engine is capable of 65 mpg combined.

How Does it Drive?

The new DS 3 feels just as great as ever. The car is how a modern-day hatchback should feel. It is light and friendly to drive, but provides plenty of feedback to the driver when you want to open the car up.

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Even though the roof panels have been altered to create the Cabrio, it hasn’t taken away from the handling of the DS 3. The feedback through the steering wheel still feels well connected, and gives you loads of confidence in the corners to push it a little harder when you want to have a little bit more fun in the car. The cloth roof does let in more road noise, as you would expect, but it’s not enough to put you off. Driving the DS 3 BlueHDi 120 Cabrio with the roof down on a nice day increases the fun factor a lot more than I expected; it’s amazing how a bit of sun on the skin can change the driving experience. The roof folds back with the touch of a button, and at any speed up to 70 mph. Once down, you have all the headroom you will ever need and you are still well protected from the wind. In town or out in the country, it’s nice every now and then to stop and take a look up, and take in your surroundings in a way that you normally can’t experience.

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DS Automobiles now include Active City Brake technology which allows the car to fully auto-brake in an emergency when travelling up to 18 mph, lowering the risk of accidents. The inclusion of this technology in the base spec is a good decision and without a doubt will go on to save lives.

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What’s it Like Inside?

The DS 3 has one of the best interiors in its category, and now we can drop the roof down and let some more light in on it. DS Automobiles has fitted a large media screen in the centre of the dashboard that is controlled by the buttons below the screen. This system has gone a step further  as well and now includes Apple CarPlay, bringing the technology of your phone to the dashboard.

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The nice touches to the interior don’t stop there. DS have beautifully crafted a flat bottom steering wheel that feels great in your hands whilst driving the DS 3. To highlight details on the car, DS have used chrome touches throughout the interior including the instrument surrounds, door handles and let’s not forget that dash integrated air freshener.

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The Experience

The DS 3 is an enthusiast’s car. It’s a brilliant model and having the option to remove the roof gives you just one more thing to enjoy. The car looks fantastic; it’s very usable, enjoyable and feels like a premium hatchback to the touch.

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The engine and gearbox setup is perfect and the driving experience with the roof down is one not to be forgotten. Dropping the roof is effortless and takes seconds. Letting the additional light, sound, and smell into the cockpit gives such a nice feeling of exploration as you go on your journey. One of the best bits about it is that it comes with minimal compromise, as you still have a boot you can use – just about.

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The DS 3 BlueHDi just got better by introducing the Cabrio. The Cabrio is slightly more expensive than the DS 3, but it completely enhances the driving experience giving you a great element of freedom for those wanting a bit more from their everyday car.

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Video Highlights


DS Automobiles DS 3 Cabrio BlueHDi 120
  • Price: £22,290
  • Engine: 1.6-Litre turbocharged
  • Power: 120 PS
  • Torque: 300 Nm
  • Transmission: 6 Speed Manual
  • 0-62mph: 8.9 Seconds
  • Top speed: 118 mph
  • Weight: 1,200 kg
  • Economy combined: 65 mpg
  • CO2: 94 g/km


Author: Paul Hadley