DS Automobiles New DS 3 – THP 165 & Prestige PureTech 130

Driven: DS Automobiles’ New DS 3 – THP 165 & Prestige PureTech 130 Review

We were invited to the DS Automobiles’ new DS 3 launch to test out some of their new DS 3 cars. We managed to test the new 1.6-litre 165hp petrol and the 1.2-litre 3-cylinder petrol.

What’s DS Automobiles’ New DS 3 All About?

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

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The updates to the DS 3 include the new wings integrated into the front bumper 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.

The first of the two engines that we tested was the 1.6-litre petrol turbo engine that puts out 165hp and 240Nm of torque. The power goes very nicely through the front wheels using a 6-speed manual gearbox.  This setup gives a 0-60mph time of 7.6 seconds, and a top speed of 135mph. This engine is capable of 50mpg combined.

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The second engine that we tested was the new 1.2-litre 3-cylinder engine that creates 130hp and 230Nm of torque. This setup gives a 0-60mph time of 8.9 seconds, and a top speed of 127mph. But the real gain is the economy, where the car is able to do a combined figure of 62mpg.

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How Does It Drive?

I got the opportunity to drive both a hardtop and Cabrio allowing me to enjoy both experiences and compare them. The Cabrio is the more expensive version out of the 2 and offers the open top motoring experience without having the compromises of a convertible. The Cabrio means that you can remove the entire roof at the touch of a button and let the sun shine in, as great as this is, my personal preference is always the hardtop, I prefer the secure enclosed feeling whilst I’m driving. Taking the roof off creates a completely different driving experience and will appeal to the more playful and outgoing customers.

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The new DS 3 however 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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Both cars that I tested had 6-speed manual gearboxes. The more powerful 1.6-litre petrol turbo engine has a great balance of power allowing you to have lots of fun with the car but still at relatively safe speeds and without damaging your fuel bill. When you put the power down you can feel the turbo take effect and see the rev gauge fly up to the rev limiter. 165hp is a very sweet spot for creating a modern enjoyable driving experience.

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After driving the 1.6-litre car, I jumped into the 1.2-litre 3 cylinder 130hp engine. It was this engine that impressed me the most out of the two. The car felt just as responsive and there was no less thrill in the driving experience. The fact that you can drop 1 cylinder and 0.4-litres of engine capacity without having a big drop in performance is incredible. Don’t forget that from doing this there is also a big gain with regards to fuel efficiency. The 1.2-litre engine claims to be able to achieve a combined fuel efficiency rating of an incredible 62mpg.

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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 18mph, 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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The DS 3 range now comes with 7 engines options; 3 PureTech 3-cylinder petrol engines, 2 THP 4-cylinder petrol engines, and 2 BlueHDi diesels. They also introduced a new automatic gearbox which we are yet to try, this gearbox will open the DS 3 range to an even wider audience of potential drivers.

What’s It Like Inside?

The DS Automobiles DS 3 has one of the best interiors in its category. Whether you go hardtop or Cabrio the interior is the same, except that you can let more light in with the Cabrio, of course.UK DS3 Launch 2016-324

For me one of the best features that DS have included in the DS 3 is the watch strap style leather seats, they transform the interior to an even more premium environment. They are soft yet supportive and will add big value to the car.

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DS Automobiles has fitted a large media screen in the centre of the dashboard that is now touch screen. And the car now includes Mirror Screen technology, allowing the car to link more closely with your mobile devices.

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There are nice touches all through the interior of the car. 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 including the instrument surrounds, door handles and let’s not forget that dash integrated air freshener.

The Experience

The DS 3 experience is one that is more customisable than ever. With up to 78 roof and body colour combinations and endless personalisation options available, you are unlikely to see 2 DS 3s the same.

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The engine and gearbox options now cater for everyone, whether you want an efficient car with an automatic gearbox or a fast car with a manual gearbox. DS have something that will suit your needs and it will feel as if it was made for you.

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More than anything the DS 3 gives you a sense of being modern, fashionable and just has an extra touch of style.


The DS 3 makes the Mini, Alfa Romeo Mito and other superminis look a bit bland. The updates DS have made to the DS 3 have pushed the boundaries of the supermini market. The DS 3 range is even more efficient, has even more equipment as standard, a premium interior and a more unique look than ever before.

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Video Highlights


DS Automobiles DS 3 PureTech 130
  • Price: £21,275
  • Engine: 1.2-Litre 3-Cylinder Turbocharged
  • Power: 130bhp
  • Torque: 230Nm
  • Transmission: 6-Speed Manual
  • 0-62mph: 8.9 Seconds
  • Top speed: 127mph
  • Weight: 1,150kg
  • Economy combined: 62mpg
  • CO2: 105g/km
DS Automobiles DS 3 Cabrio THP 165
  • Price: £23,640
  • Engine: 1.6-Litre Turbocharged
  • Power: 165bhp
  • Torque: 240Nm
  • Transmission: 6-Speed Manual
  • 0-62mph: 7.6 Seconds
  • Top speed: 135mph
  • Weight: 1,130kg
  • Economy combined: 50mpg
  • CO2: 129g/km

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Author: Paul Hadley