Similar cars tried:
Test drove Volkswagen Polo Sport, Skoda Fabia and Renault Megane.
Usual daily commute: 10 minutes on highway, 10 minutes on normal roads. Got it as an off-peak car, hence we're talking about pre-7am traffic here, which is not jam-packed but not empty either.
Duration of car driven:
The first thing that strikes you about the car is that enormous cockpit-style windscreen. Not only does it make the cabin look bright and spacious, it lends the car a strong, distinctive character. This is matched by the cutesy-and-yet-sporty front grille derived from its DS3 cousin, and chrome fittings that you do not see a lot on its peers of the hatchback category.
The interior design goes nicely with the exterior by offering contoured air-con vents, a sporty dashboard and a racing-style flat-bottom steering wheel. Push-button digital air-con controls continues with the refinement theme, as is the informative monochrome LCD screen that reports anything from Bluetooth connectivity to fuel consumption to sound settings. This car can seat five tall (around 1.75m) adults nicely with just enough legroom, though sitting in the rear may feel a little claustrophobic. The boot space is one of the largest as well for a hatchback too.
Acceleration is good enough, placing above average amongst its peers. Fuel consumption is just average though, considering I only manage 10-11km/l as a "slightly-heavy-footer" with my usual daily commute split between about 10 minutes on the expressway and 10 minutes on normal roads. Engine noise is well-isolated at cruising speeds, which also means that you may find the engine whining a little as you are accelerating. If you are the kind of driver who prefer listening to loud revs, the engine will satisfy you too above 3k rpm, sounding more aggressive than lethargic. Gearbox transmission is smooth despite being a four-speeder, only to reveal its ugly side when you start executing abrupt accelerations. The car rolls along smoothly on its slightly softer suspension and 16-inch alloy rims as well, although body roll is evident when cornering at high speeds.
Having done just over 2100km in this beautifully-designed car, I still look forward to driving it daily and immerse myself in the wonderful panoramic view that the enormous windscreen provides. On top of that, the wealth of audio and Bluetooth configurations keep the geek in me happy. In essence, this car is without equal in its category, blending together a delightful mix of style, performance and lastly, character. If you are looking for a hatchback that shouts "unique", and possibly identifying you as one at the same time, this is it.
Enormous cockpit-style "Zenith" windscreen
Built-in Bluetooth that supports calling and music streaming
Powerful-for-its-size six-speaker configuration, coupled with various sound settings
Adequate boot space
Above-average road performance, feels zippy
Glovebox cover opens up to a half-sized compartment, not a great deal of storage space around the cabin
Room for improvement for build quality, movable headboard rattles ever so slightly over certain speeds and road conditions