Jeremy I think I’ve found out why the DS3 is such a nifty little mover – it’s all down to weight. Turning any car into a convertible means beefing up the structural integrity of the body, usually compromised by chopping off the roof. Then you have the extra weight of the roof folding mechanism itself to add to the equation.
So, far from being lighter, cabrios often tip the scales in the wrong direction. The DS3 is different. Like its Fiat 500C rival, the cars B and C-pillars (the metalwork around the windows) remains in place, keeping the structural rigidity intact. According to the Fiat press blurb, this means the Cabrio is only 25kg heavier than the hatch!
On the road, this translates into a convertible that feels exceptionally sharp turning into a corner, with none of the rattle and body shake associated with soft-tops in the past. Great fun for a car that is essentially a hatchback with the roof peeled off.
I have also finally managed the get the DAB radio working today! It’s obviously an aftermarket fit for UK customers, which makes operation less integrated than a lot of other cars. That said, it works, although as far as I can work out it does not flash the chosen station onto the screen, making station selection harder.
Jeremy – The choice for buyers looking for an affordable cabriolet with a soft-top rather than a folding metal roof probably comes down to the Fiat 500C, Mini Convertible or our new Ds3 Cabrio. All very different cars, each with styling that is going to split the buying public down the middle.
I’m warming to the DS3 because the cabin area is so much larger and it just feels like a bigger car when you are inside. This is especially true in the back, where there are three seats, instead of the two found in the Fiat and Mini.
The boot is still crazy small like its rivals – except the Citroen boot lid is hinged so that it slides vertically upwards on opening, a rather unique twist on conventional thinking which might be a nightmare for tall people loading bags because they have to bend down to see inside.
What has truly surprised me about the Ds3 is the interior. The leather seats in our car are deep and comfortable and there’s a touch of class about the dashboard that is a cut above the Mini. Over the shoulder vision is, however, non existent with the roof folded down.
And then there’s the quality of the fittings. Citroens never used to be this good! The DS3 is solid, with buttons and dials that could have come off a Mercedes. Even the big doors shut with a reassuring thud.
I’m off to watch the international cricket final in Birmingham tomorrow, so more words after that…