Citroën has now given us the new DS3 Cabrio, a car that competes with the MINI Convertible. Based on the highly desirable DS3 Coupe, Cabrio is what is says it is, which is a car whose roof can be converted to open. Or does it really?
One imagines a convertible (or “cabriolet” – with a silent t – as they prefer in France) to have a roof that can be completely uncovered, from windscreen top to the boot area. And in most cases this is true. Except here. See, the new Citroën DS3 Cabrio is not exactly that. The soft roof top can certainly be “converted” at the push of a button, and at speeds of up to 120km/h in just 16 seconds. But where other cabriolets remove it all, the DS3 Cabrio prefers to saunter around with the roof frames still intact. That means the structural integrity of the car is not compromised in the same way as it would be on a normal cabriolet. The side windows and frame remain just where they would be. It’s really like opening a can of sardines in this way.
The advantages are quite clear. One is that because the side pillars remain intact, rigidity is just about the same as that of the tin top, which bodes very well for handling. In fact, driving through some of the best passes in the Cape area I was able to ascertain this for myself and came out nodding in appreciation. The DS3 has lost none of its elasticity. Even more good news is that it only weighs in at 25kg more than the coupe, while the cabriolet norm is usually higher in terms of weight penalties. Boot space is at 245 litres, also good for the type of vehicle.
Pushing the front wheels of the THP 155 model forward through the 6-speed manual gearbox is the company 1.6-litre turbo. This is the highest-spec DS3 Cabrio by the way and it kicks out 115kW of power and peak torque of 240Nm. There are two lesser siblings in the form of a 60kW VTi 82 (1.2-litre) and the VTi 120 with the same 1.6, but no turbo, thus shedding only 88kW. The siblings are also less endowed with a 5-speed manual tranny.
Because style is a matter of personal taste, Citroën has tried to cover as many tastes as possible by offering several options and standard features that can make the DS3 Cabrio stand out on its own in a crowd. Some of these include the Infini blue or Monogramme Moondust roof canvasses and the eMyWay satellite navigation system. Hopefully Citroën and the insurance company MiWay are both ok with this name. These come as part of three packages with different prices attached to them, all with different features. For me the most glaring was the lack of an alarm system with the standard car. It has to be purchased extra as part of one of these packages!
The DS3 Cabrio offers something a little different to buyers who do want their drop-tops, but are just not willing to shell out the usual arm and a leg for them. That it’s a DS Line model means one is not compromised in terms of style, quality and the all-important chic factor either.
Citroën DS3 Cabrio Prices
DS3 Cabrio 1.2 VTi 82 Design (R219 900)
DS3 Cabrio 1.6 VTi 120 Style (R258 900)
DS3 Cabrio 1.6 THP 155 Sport (R291 900)