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Big Blue

Citroen DS3

Well, time to catch up with the hire car in Munich, or should I say the City of Hire Cars? Huge car park filled with a zillion types of hire car. So after a 500m walk past rows of A1s, Golfs and A Classes, I found this:

Never driven one before so it would be interesting.

Sat Nav was the first thing I needed as I wanted to get to Dachau. I had mine with me but the car had one anyway so I used that. Or at least I tried. It was completely unfathomable at first, and I couldn't make out how to make it let me select other cities or addresses that weren't already in there. I also assume the car had been used by a journalist as Bad Aibling had 2 addresses in the Nav - this is a small town that my step-brother grew up in and is inconsequential apart from the recent rail disaster there. I used my nav for the first part of the trip, but once in Dachau I was more relaxed and found out how to use it. The direction insignia on it are not in your face enough (my Snooper has huge big signs telling you where and when to turn, which lane to be in etc.: this had a small corner of the map for that. Could have been some display option settings but I'm only in it for a day!

A quick note on the Europcar satnav policy: the lady on the Privilege desk asked me if I wanted to pay extra for nav. I said no as I have my own then I get in the car and it has Nav. Same thing at Christmas, so I assume that soon Nav will be a norm on hire cars as the fleet opt for them to make selling the car on easier.

The system paired with iPhone ok for music and phone; a great function and again, now a norm. I felt the cruise and computer buttons were less than ergonomic ("sited in a bollocks place" one might say) being out of view on the steering column so learning what they did was not simple. I also felt the centre console mounted menu and secondary volume buttons seemed more like blank-fillers than usefully positioned buttons.

I suppose I'd better talk about driving it. The clutch action felt wrong but maybe because I don't use one. I felt like I was riding a penny farthing using the clutch.

It's well documented that I hate diesels and this one did little to dispel that hatred. I'm sure the engine behaved well enough but I wasn't amazed or otherwise by it.

On the Autobahn 9 heading to Ingolstadt to see step-brother I discovered that this is not a car to sit at 150kph+ in. It was very jittery and felt unsettled, whilst at 130kph it was pretty solid. Maybe a combination of winter tyres, hard suspension and light weight in some pretty fierce crosswinds didn't help. If that sounds like a speed freak complaint, 150kph is merely keeping up, not going fast!

The gear change is vague to the extent I nearly selected R instead of 4 once. In a similar vein 2nd to 3rd is too likely to become 2nd to 5th, which would be pretty shite if you were trying to enjoy this warm-hatch across country. I had a gearbox-related near-incident: I nearly crashed into a bin in the Dachau KZ visitor car-park as I assumed the stick was in reverse in that position. I need to stick to driving automatics

Whoever said the DS4 (tali I think) is the runt of the litter needs to drive this DS3 and then my ma's DS4 to decide which is a runt. Her car is night and day better than this rollerskate in terms of ergo, ride, practicality, storage, access and "premium-feel". I'd need to drive a hot petrol one specced to the roof to make a valued judgement but at the moment: I'm out.
Frank Bullitt

The gearbox on 5-speed PSA products is generally poor, our old Picasso felt like it had been driven round the Arc de Triumph for 100k before being put into the car; baggy and not remotely positive.  The 6-speed versions are much better in that respect.

I've not driven one that quickly but have driven a DS3 1.6VTi manual and really liked it, they are much lighter to drive than perhaps an enthusiast might like and the ride was very good indeed.  Agree on the cruise, it's an odd location although the trip computer should be easy enough (button on the end of the right stalk to scroll).

I don't think the diesel one is that appealing to be honest, I'd like to try one with the blown Puretech 3-pot. Oh, and PSA are currently rolling-out replacement sat nav tech, the DS4 has this on and I know a few people who comment it's much better than their previous cars.
Chris M Wanted a V-10

Apparently, the DS3 is a good car to learn to drive on. Some driving instructors are smitten by them.....

I had a DS3 hire car a few years back. It's a good looking car, but once you're past the looks the rest is truly aweful. It was horrible to drive purely due to the driving position I had to adopt. I'm not exactly lanky either so how some of you six-footers would fare is anyone's guess. The controls felt cheap especially the radio controls which clearly came from the lower C3 models.
Frank Bullitt

I'm 6'4" with size 11 feet and found the space and pedal/ wheel relationship very good all around, perhaps you didn't drop the seat?
Big Blue

I must say I'm 6'2" with size 11s and space wasn't an issue.

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