I copped on pretty quickly that this car gets a lot of admiring glances. For a half of a split second I thought it was my hair. No. This car is like dangling something pretty in front of people. In a stroke of genius, Citroen have teamed up with Benefit, an international make-up brand, and produced the DS3 DSIGN & DSTYLE by Benefit. For specific nods to Benefit, there are 2 discreet logos on the exterior, branded floor mats inside and a black silhouette on the dashboard.
In another stroke of genius, the car is being sold in the UK on the ASOS fashion website. It clearly sets out its stall as a female-interest car. The jokes were coming thick and fast about a make-up mirror, a bathroom sink & a socket for the hairdryer! All the marketing cleverness aside, how does it stand up to a good week-long road test with me? On first look, the colour of the DSIGN is a nod to the famous Benetint lip & cheek stain. Ruby red metallic paint, a white roof and white alloys give it a very sporty look without looking too masculine. The grille is beautifully shiny chrome-surrounded. Add to that halogen headlamps for something that looks super sporty. A real style gem inside, is the dashboard.
There’s a swathe of white which gives the interior an American diner feel. I was constantly hungry for a burger in this car! The display dials over the steering wheel were a nod to a sporty looking interior. The sports seats have a very luxurious textured fabric with so much room for my front seat passenger. He was thrilled because as 6 foot, he was expecting to be squished. The back seat in the 2-door car can fit 3 and I would imagine that a quick spin is as long as they would be comfortable there. (I say that as a 5’ 9 ¾” height person, anyone shorter should easily sit in the back).
From the driver’s perspective, the pedals are stripped back to look incredibly sporty, the handbrake & gearshift are low down. I had the distinct feel of sitting low in a luxury sporty-feel car. Touches like the leather steering wheel with aluminium effect inserts make it look like an awful lot more than a city car. A car I thought would be more of a city car, really surprised me with 5 forward gears. My jaw nearly dislocated with shock when I realised that it also has cruise control.
(Top speed of 175kmh the brochure said.) I never imagined bringing this neat Citroen down the nearest motorway. I didn’t need to. There are still ample opportunities to use the cruise control. All too easily I became used to nipping in & out of small city centre parking spaces. No more was I driving up and down a road observing empty spaces saying “no that’s too small”, this little gem fit everywhere. I often look at cars this size parked up and am jealous that they fit so easily. The bits I always like to check for were there: Bluetooth, Aux inputs, cd player with steering mounted controls, Isofix points. Plus there are a few sweeteners which I liked, including automatic activation of hazard warning lights in case you need to jam on the brakes, or in case of impact – how clever is that?
Connecting with a make-up brand is a huge signpost to the female car-buyers. However it doesn’t skimp on real & great features to keep all car enthusiasts very happy. It’s a superb city car; manages the national, regional & local roads adeptly. It handled really well on bends, and I felt very secure inside all the time.
12th August, 2014
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