Citroën Reveals DS3 Supermini
By Kevin Miller
In Paris yesterday, Citroën revealed their new DS3, the first vehicle in its upcoming DS line. Named after the iconic Citroën manufactured between 1955 and 1975, the DS line previewed this week by the DS3 is likely not as overwhelmingly innovative as the original, though it is a good-looking car. While the original DS was an executive car with innovative features like a hydraulic suspension, the new DS line is a set of spacious superminis.
The DS3 is a unique, good-looking car with real style elements like a ‘floating’ roof, a ‘shark fin’ that lends visual interest to the waistline, and recesses on the nose housing LED lights. Citroën claims that the DS line will grow to a range of distinctive models with more radical design content than recent Citroën vehicles. Additionally, the DS can be personalized (much like a MINI Cooper) with a broad range of styling components. Exterior personalization components include the colors or finishes of the roof, body, rearview mirror housings and wheels. For example, the roof can be painted in four colors that contrast with the rest of the body (Onyx Black, Opale White, Botticelli Blue and Carmen Rouge), rearview mirror housings and door sills can be clothed in color or chrome, and wheels and their centers are available in a near-infinite range of colors.
Inside, customers get a choice of finishes on the dashboard strip, gearstick knob and a host of other interior equipment with a broad choice of colors, fabrics and materials. The dashboard strip (encompassing air vents, instrument cluster surround and multifunction screens) is available in a choice of 8 finishes, and the gearstick knob ships in seven different trims. For olfactory pleasure, the DS3 can ship with a scented air-freshener, fitted with a premium, chrome-finished control. In addition to the above customization options, the key fob is partially finished in the same color as the body paint, so that people always carry a bit of their DS3 with them, according to Citroën’s marketing group.
If the broad customization options aren’t enough for you, Citroën looks to accentuate the premium character of the DS3 by offering several offbeat personalization themes consisting of exterior and interior styling touches. The following seven themes have been proposed, with the first four available on launch: Maori, Zebra, Wave, Daisy, Co-Design, Map, and Plane. Those each promise to cater to, ahem, unique buyers.
The DS3 supermini will feature five different Euro V-compliant engines at launch, with CO2 emissions as low as 99 g/km: two diesel HDi DPFS units developing 110 bhp and 90 bhp, and three gasoline engines- Citroën’s THP 150, VTi 120 and VTi 95.All are available with a five-speed or six-speed manual gearbox, and the VTi 120 will also be available with an automatic gearbox. Because Citroën made efforts to keep the weight of the DS3 to a strict minimum, these powertrains should provided sufficient motivation for the stylish French supermini.
At 3.95 m long and 1.71 m wide, the DS3 is one of the most compact models in Europe’s supermini segment. That being said, it has been engineered to be spacious and versatile, with the dashboard is set high up to increase front leg room. Slim-back seats and an upright rear design free up room in the back for five real seats. The interior features a best-in-class 285 liter cargo area , extensive stowage space (including a 13-litre glove box)and a 60/40 split-fold rear bench seat.
In keeping with the DS3’s upscale aspirations, the car features a lot of equipment standard even in the lowest trim level. All DS3 models get cruise control/speed limiter, a gear change indicator, six airbags, and a braking system including a host of standard-fit features such as ESP, ABS, electronic brakeforce distribution (EBD) and emergency brake assist (EBA). The DS3 also ships with MyWay navigation, a sophisticated audio and multimedia system with built-in color navigation, an MP3- and WMA-compatible CD player and a Bluetooth® hands-free kit. On top of these in-car features, Citroën has added a dedicated services offering for DS3 owners, CITROËN FREEDRIVE, which, among other things, ensures that customers benefit from a replacement vehicle during DS3 servicing.
While the new DS range is unlikely to achieve the iconic status of Citroën’s original (and doesn’t break new technological ground like its namesake did), it is an attractive supermini tasked with lifting Citroën’s image of building dull cars with quirky styling. The DS3’s distinct style, personalization options, generous standard equipment, and premium service experience may draw shoppers to Citroën who wouldn’t have otherwise considered the French brand. I look forward to the car’s launch, and the opportunity to see it in person.
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