In the interests of keeping you up to date with the latest cars on sale in the UK, we've just taken a Citroen DS3 onto the Autoblog UK long term test fleet.
The DS3 is an interesting car primarily for the fact that it is the first real head-turner that the manufacturer has produced in years. We liked it a lot when we road tested it earlier in the year, but can the car sustain its charm offensive over a prolonged period?
Well, today we start to find out. We are on the long road to Yorkshire today and rather than catch the train, we've decided to give Citroen's Mini-rival a run up the M1 to see what it's made of. We're expecting the trip to take all afternoon, but we'll be sending our thoughts back to Autoblog UK HQ so keep clicking back for updates on our impressions of the DS3...
Our road trip begins where all road trips do - in the petrol station.
Our little Citroen swallows £53.50 worth of standard unleaded in the local Esso. That was about what we expected as it was registering almost empty before we pulled in.
With the tank full the DS3's onboard brain reckons it'll cover 350 miles before it needs another drink. If first impressions are anything to go by the car should make a comfy place to sit for the next four to five hours. The funky dash glints like a fashionable kitchen, but not in an annoying way. Yet.
Just over two hours on the road now and we've made it as far as Peterborough or 116 miles to be exact. We could have done better but we were forced to divert onto the A1(M) thanks to traffic on the M1.
Unlike the road conditions, the DS3 has not skipped a beat. Driving the car it's immeadiately apparent Citroen has not gone for its usual powder puff suspension - the 3-door supermini has a far more brash set up to give it some extra bite during cornering.
This means some of the French manufacturer's renowned ride comfort has gone, but on the motorway it takes some serious paving issues to make the DS3 feel uncomfortable. The 156bhp 1.6-litre THP engine is also a peach. It doesn't feel tremendously quick through the first couple of gears, but its plentiful torque makes it a good for motorway work.
Obviously we're bound by the national limit, but if we had to guess we'd say the petrol lump would be unlikely to run out of puff until some way past 120mph. (Not far off - the Citroen's claimed top speed is 133mph - Ed.)
We've stopped just past Leeds with less than forty miles to go. Well over a hundred miles have gone on the clock since our last break, with the DS3 proving more than capable of munching miles given a clear stretch of road.
The fuel consumption hasn't been awful either. The gauge had just dipped onto half full when we pulled into Wetherby Services and that's not bad considering the nature of our stop/start and fast-paced journey.
We don't feel in bad shape either. The DS3 might have lost its marshmallow ride comfort, but Citroen has installed seats soft enough to keep a bad back in check. Check back in around an hour for a final verdict on the supermini when we make it to Helmsley.
The DS3 deposited us at our location exactly one minute ahead of schedule. The last 20 miles were an old-fashioned sprint over the kind of roads that one can only find on the edge of the Yorkshire moors.
As it had done for five hours previously, the supermini proved th equal of such conditions. Citroen has engineered a curiously endearing sharp edge into the car; it is not as sure-footed as the Mini or as talented as the Fiesta, and yet it never seems dull or wanting.
The appeal of the DS3 is hard to get to the bottom of, but we've got the car for at least another month so we're certainly looking forward to spending some more time in its company.