DS4 Crossback Road Test

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With the DS brand now Citroen’s stand alone luxury arm, PSA are now trying to ensure that the cars within the range stand out for all the right reasons. Whilst the DS3 is the fashionable hatch, the Performance version an absolute gem the flagship DS5 is a large hatchback that at times seems at odds with itself, an awkward model that doesn’t particularly slot into a particular definition, the overt French styling in most instances form over function.


It’s therefore the task of the DS4 to attract buyers requiring a slightly larger car, a motor that in many ways melds together elements of both the DS3 and DS5 whilst remaining sufficiently different to stand on its own four wheels. And in Crossback form the DS4 now combines the model range’s signature domed hatchback looks with a hint of SUV, the market currently dictating that this is the direction all manufacturers must take.


With the distinct DS logo separating the oversized front light clusters, chromed surrounds around the grille, door frames and rear aero system, a high waist, tapering roofline and rotund rear quarters sat on an elevated 40mm ride height over the standard DS4. MacPherson strut and coil front suspension and trailing arm rear attached the car to the road surface via gloss black 18” alloys and 225/45 performance Michelin rubber, the Ink Blue 120 HDi S&S seen here oozing urban elegance and rural pizzazz in equal measures, arch protection emphasizing the Crossback’s ersatz adventurous potential.  


Optional but as near chic as most modern French cars can possibly get, the perforated black and white leather seats and sculpted, textured soft surfaces are almost Coco Chanel by inspiration. Blue dials, a 7” colour touch screen, information rich onboard readout and a thick leather multi-function D-spec steering wheel and heavily contoured seating hike the cabin ambiance. Perhaps as stylish as a mid-sized hatch is currently able to be, it’s the almost spear like profiles of the rear doors that make ingress to the rear seats less than convenient whilst the actual shape of the doors means the glass is fixed, not only do they not roll down they don’t even pop open.


On the avant-garde plus side, the view for those sat upfront is instantly expanded by sliding the sun visors upwards and exposing even more of the already panoramic front windscreen. The Crossback’s practicality comes in the five passenger 385 litres of cargo space, the load capacity more than doubling with the rear seats folded and a 1,450kg braked trailer hauling ability, the DS4’s luxury aspirations in no way impinging the car’s ability to serve most family requirements.       


Under the bonnet the transversely mounted 1,560cc delivers 120hp allied to 300Nm of torque all being sent to the front wheels via a 6-speed automatic torque converter transmission. General real time motoring will give you a reasonable 47.2 mpg climbing to around 57mpg on extended motorway runs which all equate to over 450 miles per 60 litre tank of diesel, the stop-start feature reducing consumption whilst the Crossback is at temporary rest. No tarmac burner, the Crossback is still however capable of attaining 62mph in 11.4 seconds and onwards to a top speed of 117mph where permitted, all of which makes the DS4 Crossback a reasonable performer for the clientele at which its aimed.


Out and about the Crossback is all about relaxed, minimum effort transportation. The variable power assisted, 2.9 turns lock-to-lock steering is light and driver friendly as the car effortlessly performs its 10.7 meter turning circle whilst the landscape view from behind the wheel is gazing at the far horizon inducing. Comfort is one thing more so for those in the front but it has little effect on the Crossback’s propensity to roll into bends, understeer during faster cornering or negate the automatic transmission’s at times ponderous changes. You can select ‘Sport’ mode that will hold each gear slightly longer with the attendant rise in engine note, the more sensible option being to utilise the sequential option should faster, more precise changes of ratio be required.


As stylish, mid-sized, SUV inspired transport, the DS4 will find favour primarily because not only does it look different, it is different. Externally, it’s a practical, medium sized hatchback internally the Parisian catwalk ambiance will sway numerous buyers, the panache of the cabin indisputably impressive. Performance and economy will probably exceed most buyers’ expectations whilst the £25,695 otr price of the DS4 Crossback as tested will increased the temptation to buy or lease.


Add in the 3-year or 60,000 mile warranty and 16,000 miles service intervals and the DS4 Crossback yet again offers attractive benefits. Overall the DS4 Crossback has more going for it than against it. The car’s also a significantly different option even though certain aspects would benefit from being addressed.        


       

By; Mark Stone


The DS4 Crossback Road Test