Citroen DS3 for driving instruction, ADI’s, tuition

I just thought I’d make a post about why I moved away from the DS3 for tuition. Some other ADI’s might find this informative, maybe not. It all depends on your taste and preferences anyway. I’ve had the DS3 for two years at the time of writing so I’ve had a good chance to evaluate it. There are many ADI’s in my area using them.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a bad car for driving tuition, it has many good points including:

  1.  It’s very economical – I was consitently getting over 50mpg with the 1.6 diesel engine and according to the trip compooter I was averaging just 19mph. That’s impressive.
  2. The climate control is really good and seems to work well
  3. The auto wipers are useful but let’s be honest, our pupil’s first car won’t have them so, is it a good idea for us to have them on our cars? Probably better they don’t get to rely on them. Same goes for the auto headlights.
  4. I like the folding mirrors when you lock the doors, also useful for tight spaces.
  5. The steering is crisp and responsive. Weird effect if the engine is in ECO (auto stop) and you gently turn the steering wheel.. it kind of stutters.
  6. I got it on a 2 year, 60K miles hire/rental agreement direct from Citroen that is very reasonably priced compared to others I looked at.

OK That’s the good list, but it’s outweighed by the list of bad and not so good list below. In no particular order they are:

  1. It’s bloody hard. I mean really firm suspension, to the point where I was avoiding roads with speed bumps as it hurts my back.
  2. If you leave the key in the ignition and open the door, the car plays a stupid little tune. Man that’s annoying.
  3. There’s no ACC position on the ignition switch. So what? Well if you want to listen to the radio for more than 10 minutes while you wait for your pupil, then you’ll need to start the car or turn on the ignition. The car goes into a dumb ‘eco-mode’ and switches off all the electrics.
  4. The carpet wears out where the foot rest is when the pupils rub it to depress the clutch. Bad design.
  5. I use floor mats in my cars and the little studs that hold it into place rip clean through the carpet when you try and remove the mats, again, bad design
  6. The driving position for long legged people like me is not the most comfortable because the steering does not extend outward far enough. This means you either end up driving with cramped up legs or stretched out arms.
  7. The gear lever travels a long way between gears and gets a bit ‘graunchy’ after a few thousand miles. This may have just been my car but I suspect not.
  8. After the car had done about 15,000 miles it really loosens up (Like all cars). However, this made mine a tad too powerful for newbie drivers for my liking. Fun for me but not what I’d recommend.
  9. The brakes are REALLY sensitive. They’re progressive but incredibly fierce. For newbies with poor foot control they end up really bouncing the car. Again, a little too good for the purpose really.
  10. It seems incredibly easy for the pupils to not put the handbrake all the way down when they let it off. The car then beeps very loudly to tell them it’s on. Way too annoying for my ears.
  11. The cruise controls and radio controls are on the steering column. Newbies mistake the former for the indicator stalk and the latter for the ignition key. Not a problem for me but could be easier for new learners if they were on the steering wheel.
  12. The driver’s seat moves forward to allow access to the rear seats. It’s a 3 door car, after all. However, when you put the seat back again, it doesn’t return to the postion it was before you moved it, rather some random setting. Damn that’s annoying.
  13. The main dealer service costs were really expensive, plus, I was told it would be small service, big service, small service … etc. In reality it’s small service, big service, bigger service. Don’t be fooled!
  14. The rear door pillars are huge. This obscures your visibility from the passenger seat especially when turning left at a T junction.
  15. The alloy wheels, while very pretty, are ‘diamond cut’. Even though I fitted ‘Alloygators’ to mine, pupils still managed to scrape them off and damage the wheels. I’ve now found out it will cost me £75+VAT EACH! to refurbish. (I’ve fitted steel wheels to my new car and the supplied alloys are in my shed).
  16. The glove box size is pathetic. Somewhere to put your sunglasses and that’s about all.
  17. The centre armrest gets in the way of the handbrake when lowered and restricts access to anything you might put on the back seat when it’s raised. It’s a pain. Anything placed in it will rattle too and you’ll hunt for days finding it. 🙂
  18. There are NO cup or bottle holders anywhere.
  19. The front seat covers are made of a net like material which is just perfect for catching every crumb and bit of crap that gets in your car including pupil’s dog’s hairs, cat hairs etc. It’s also very difficult to get them out, even with a vacuum cleaner.
  20. And finally, not a design fault, but it’s only available in 3 door version. i.e. you get wet listening to debriefing if its raining and the door pillar is further back meaning short pupils really stretch to reach the seat belt.

See? quite a long list. I know, a bit picky in some areas and there’s no such thing as a perfect car, I realise but I think my Kia Rio addresses quite a few of these issues.

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