The Citroen DS4 is a bit of an oddball. It’s a smallish, coupeish family crossover from the French manufacturer’s posh sub-brand. But let’s not get caught up in definitions. Instead, we’ll concentrate on what it’s actually like.
The DS4 is nothing if not distinctive, with its raised ride height and coupe silhouette. The stretched wheelarches give it a broad, SUV-like stance and the chrome detailing lends an upmarket look.
The interior doesn’t look or feel as expensive as you might hope, let down by some scratchy plastics. But the controls are easy to use and feel pleasant.
We tested the 2.0-litre turbo diesel engine, which produces 161bhp and 251lb/ft of torque. 0-62mph takes 9.3 seconds and top speed is 132mph. It’s a strong, flexible unit – maximum torque is available from 2,000rpm. The translates to a muscular mid-range and easy cruising.
Citroen claims combined fuel economy of 57.6mpg and Co2 emissions of 130g/km, which is respectable for the power on offer.
Ride & Handling
The DS4 isn’t pretending to be a hot hatchback, but the handling is competent enough. The steering is precise, albeit with little feel, and body movements are well contained.
The DSport model, driven here, has slightly firmed-up suspension and rides on 19-inch wheels, so the ride is firmer than the raised ride height might lead you to hope.
The diesel engine gets vocal under power, but settles down at a cruise. The suspension thumps over bigger imperfections in the road and there is quite a lot of road noise, though again the big wheels are the culprits there.
Space & Practicality
Rear legroom is fine, but the sloping roofline impinges on headroom for anyone over about 5ft 11in. It’s rather dark back there as well, the small, high windows not letting much light in. They don’t open either, so it’s not the best environment for small children.
The 359 litre boot is in the Focus/Golf/Astra ballpark, though the lip is quite high.
As standard, the DS4 DSport comes equipped to the same sort of level as any top-end mid-size hatchback with automatic aircon, DAB radio and hillstart assist for a reasonable £23,700. Our car came optioned with heated leather sports seats, satnav and upgraded stereo for under £29,000.
Since we don’t really know how to define the DS4, we are struggling to pin down any direct rivals. If it’s a posh hatchback, there’s the Audi A3, which is excellent if a bit dull. If the DS4 is a crossover, you could put it up against the expensive but highly desirable Mini Countryman. Or we can split the difference and simply call it a mid-size hatch and argue with the fantastic Focus and Golf.
By trying to be Jack of all trades, the DS4 doesn’t really master any. But let’s return to our original question: is it a fun family car? It won’t appeal to everyone, but yes it is, by sheer force of its quirky character.
Citroen DS4 2.0HDi 160 DSport
Engine: 2.0-litre 4-cylinder turbo diesel
Gearbox: 6-speed manual
Power/Torque: 161bhp; 251lb/ft
Economy/Emissions: 57.6mpg/ 130g/km of Co2
0-62mph: 9.3 seconds
Top speed: 132mph
- Distinctive styling
- Bags of character
- Strong engine
- Not to everyone's taste
- Big wheels hurt ride comfort
- Rear compartment rather dark