This SUV alternative from France actually works on our roads
It may look as if it doesn’t know what it wants to be. But one thing’s sure: the DS4 is a fine, sharp drive
IT’S French. So why am I so surprised at the rolling contradiction that is the DS4?
Citroen is, after all, renowned for quirky designs that have, at times, forsaken function for form. But here we have a crossover-cum-hothatch, which passes admirably as a compact Suv/wagon alternative, yet singing sportiness from both the badge on its bootlid and its chrometipped tailpipes.
Like the DS3, the DS4 is a heated version of the C4 with smart spec and sports kit. Unlike the hot-hatch driven DS3, the DS4 is aimed at buyers wanting a sporty drive from a larger, higher and more practical vehicle.
And the most surprising factoid of all is that the DS4 delivers on this.
There are two trim levels. Dstyle comes with either a petrol or diesel engine, while the Dsport features the more powerful turbo petrol four.
The price starts at $35,990 for the base turbo petrol, increasing to $39,990 in the Dsport trim of our test car.
Along with the power increase (32kw), the extra four grand also buys 19-inch alloy wheels over the standard 18-inchers, and leather trim with a funky woven design on the front seats.
The standard fare for the price is quite astounding: six airbags and a five-star crash rating, corner illumination on the headlamps, blind spot warning system, reverse and forward sensors, electric park brake, hill holder, dual-zone climate control, cooled glove box, cruise control and even heated electric seats with massage function and air lumbar adjustment.
The test car is fitted with the only options: metallic paint, two-tone alloys, bi-xenon headlights and an uprated stereo, all reasonably priced.
The base engines are 1.6-litre turbos, the petrol developing 115kw/240nm and the diesel 82kw/270nm. Both are matched to a semi-automatic EGS gearbox. The Dsport’s hyper 147kw/275nm version is — thankfully— hooked up to a slick six-speed manual with a nice throw and soft rebound at the end of the gate. The handling is surprisingly sweet for a highriding car with a conventional torsion-beam rear axle.