More power, improved efficiency and new equipment options lift its appeal, but overall impressions in the European press of Citroën’s updated cabriolet put it in the middle of the pack with its competitors.

Citroen DS3 THP 165 rear

Most certainly an improvement on the previous DS, the outgoing THP 155 produced 154bhp and 177lb ft, while returning combined fuel economy of 47.9mpg and emitting 137g/km of CO2.

The revised THP 165, on the other hand, produces a higher 161bhp while averaging 50.4mpg and emitting a lower 129g/km of CO2.  Peak torque of 177lb ft remains unchanged but is offered over a wider rev range than before, improving the DS3’s driveability with Citroën choosing to increase fuel pressure, modify the turbocharger and incorporate a new stop-start system.

Yet while the new version is pleasing to drive, as was the old one, overall reviews criticize the ride, especially at low speed, body control is only average and steering is just not as crisp as it could be.  (It feels all of its 3.1 turns lock to lock and understeers.)

Interior appointments make an attempt to differentiate the DS Brand, but the use of economy materials used in the lower portion indicate that budget factors are in play.  With a small glovebox, narrow door pockets and absence of any cup holders, storage options are limited.

Citroen DS3 THP 165 interior

The driving position is compromised for anyone over six feet tall and long-legged, the seats present as being a little too firm and the driver must deal with the dashboard’s distracting reflection on the windshield.  Controls are also a source of frustration; the cruise and radio controls are completely hidden behind the steering wheel, and those controlling the infotainment system just aren’t up to par.

On the plus side, the DS3’s trunk size is reasonable for a car in this segment and its interior has enough space (just) for four adults, although rear headroom is tight.

The DS3 comes well equipped. As part of the refresh Citroën has added new features like xenon and LED headlights, an emergency city braking system, as well as a dial-up assistance system with SOS option. The rest of the equipment list includes cruise control, tire pressure monitors, rear parking sensors, Bluetooth connectivity and climate control.

Citroen DS3 THP 165 rear 2

However, apart from its decent engine, the DS3 is a car with many shortcomings for the price.  You can buy a Renault Clio RS 200, Mini Cooper S, Ford Fiesta ST3, BMW 116 SE or Audi A1 1.4 TFSI 140 Sport for less.  Does this really means that Citroën feels DS3 is worth the price in its distinctiveness?  Reality check; it needs to exceed in all parameters to be a competitive global success.

Citroen DS3 THP 165 front