The chic little city car has been success that PSA Group even created a entire brand for it.

The chic little DS 3 city car has been a big success for French automaking giant PSA Group. Seven years after it went on sale, production has just passed the 400,000 mark.

It was originally launched in 2009 as the Citroen DS3, aimed squarely at fashionable “superminis” like the Fiat 500 and Mini.

The DS3 mixed the chassis and powertrains of the run-of-the-mill C3 with a stylish, three-door body and better-quality interior materials to create something that genuinely felt special. It was a lot of fun to drive, as well. Not exactly sharp, but playful and willing. Like a Springer spaniel.

The special edition DS3 Racing added a 207 horsepower (154 kilowatts) turbo motor and bright orange graphics to mix. Again, it wasn’t the sharpest knife in the box, but on UK roads at least that actually helped, as the more compliant suspension was better able to deal with the ruined asphalt of a typical British back road.

An open top version launched in 2013. Though marketed as a cabriolet, the top was actually a full-length, roll-back sunroof.

Having proven there was an appetite for a more upmarket Citroen, the bigger DS4 and DS5 were introduced alongside the DS3. Then, earlier this year, PSA took a giant leap by separating the trio from Citroen to create the standalone DS Automobiles brand.

All three models were given a mild refresh at the same time. The DS 3 gained a large grille and angular headlights, which give the thing kind of an angry countenance.

It’s still just as Springer-ish to drive, though, and the interior feels a cut above the Ford Fiestas and Opel Corsas of this world, if not quite up their with genuine premium players like Audi and BMW. I like it a lot.

Car number 400,000 is a DS 3 Performance finished in black with a gold roof and graphics.

 

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