Citroen’s award-winning premium small hatchback, the attractively styled DS3, has welcomed summer with an upgrade to its fun and impressive cabriolet.

And once again they have done it without ruining the DS3’s good looks. Rather than an up-and-over one piece cabriolet roof, the DS3 has a “sardine tin” arrangement in which the roof concertinas back to give you a large panoramic sunroof, and then in a separate movement, folds down into a rear compartment. The good-looking side window panels stay where they are.

The result is a stylish cabriolet which doesn’t blow your head off – or even mess your hair up – when the top’s completely down. Clever stuff.

The DS3 – cabriolet or not – has head turning style and bags of personality, backed up by good performance and some innovative ideas.

I test drove the 1.6 turbo-diesel powered DS3 Prestiget. It came in eye-catching pearlescent white, with a contrasting emerald roof which added to the car’s stylish appearance.. You’re left in no doubt that this car is going to be different. A nice touch is the splash of emerald body colour on the key fob – no danger of picking up the wrong keys here.

The 120 horsepower engine is willing, smooth and gutsy. With a six-speed manual gearbox it has effortless performance.

Inside the DS3 has a distinctly sporty feel, with aviation-inspired dials. Seats are nicely contoured and supportive, and controls are angled in to the driver. Gauges include a gear efficiency indicator, telling the driver the optimum moment to change gear.

The dashboard is trimmed with an emerald body colour finish – a nice touch, although the sun does glint off it which can be distracting. Controls for cruise control and the radio are attached to the steering column. With the top folded down rear visibility is compromised somewhat, bringing the door mirrors into play.

Storage space is generous, with decent sized door bins and stowage around the cabin. Boot space, at 245 litres, is fairly generous for a cabriolet, although the size of the boot access is reduced to allow room for the folding roof stowage, making it difficult to put large items or bulging shopping bags in the boot.

Colours and trims can be customised to suit the owners’ preferences, even down to the wheel trims.

Fuel economy is excellent, returning an impressive 78.5 miles to the gallon in mixed driving.

On the road, the DS3 handles extremely well. Cornering is positive and effortless, and the suspension absorbs bumps well. This car’s suspension feels a little harder than you’d expect from a Citroen but it’s still very comfortable. Driving with the roof down doesn’t affect stability or handling.

Safety gets a high priority. The DS3 has achieved a five star Euro NCAP rating and includes all-round airbags, electronic stability, speed limiter and energy-absorbing side impact protection.

Automatic digital air conditioning, remote central locking with immobiliser and automatic door-locking, rear spoiler, dual chrome exhaust pipes, satellite naviogation with seven inch touchscreen, RDS radio with MP3/CD player, 17 inch alloys, cruise control with speed limiter, leather steering wheel, electric windows and electric door mirrors are all standard.  My test car also came with a nice metallic paint finish (£880), reversing camera (£200) and a front arm rest (£100).

This is a good package and well worth the £21,795 on the road price.

Motoring Reviews are bought to you courtesy of Midlands Business News and its Motoring Editor Ian Strachan of Ian Strachan Communications