The DS4 was the second model to join Citroen’s premium DS brand. Underneath its swoopy, stylish exterior it’s basically a posh version of the Citroen C4 5-door hatchback, with more luxury appointments and better build quality. Whatever you make of its slightly oddball, hybrid looks, the DS4 makes for a far from conventional family car.
On its launch, Citroen described the DS 4 as being a hybrid of a saloon, a coupé and a compact SUV. We’re big fans of the DS 4’s slightly odd looks. Its muscly rear haunches and chunky alloy wheels lend the car an aggressive, purposeful stance while its sloping roofline and tidy rear end give the DS 4 oodles of Gallic style.
While the front end bears more than a passing resemblance to its cheaper C4 cousin, the DS4 remains a pretty unique proposition in the family hatchback class.
The DS4 remains a pretty unique proposition in the family hatchback. class
What’s it like to drive?
Thanks to the DS 4’s extra-long windscreen, which extends back over the driver’s head and removes the traditional header rail from obscuring forward visibility, you get a panoramic view of the road ahead. It’s a nice touch that truly opens up your vistas.
Handling-wise, the DS 4 is surprisingly sporty, considering its raised suspension and taller body. There’s some lean in the corners, but the car’s electro-hydraulic steering system is pleasingly weighty, giving the DS 4 impressive levels of body control when out on twisty country roads. Ultimately, the DS 4 is more of a cruiser than a sports car, being more at home on smoother roads and motorways.
The DS 4’s range of diesel and petrol engines offer respectable levels of performance and refinement, so keeping up with motorway traffic or fast overtaking on B-roads won’t be an issue.
Handling-wise, the DS 4 is surprisingly sporty
The DS 4’s high driving seat, coupled with that panoramic windscreen, lends the car an enviable driving position. The view out the back is obscured by a large rear screen pillar. Standard rear-parking sensors make reversing manoeuvres and parking pretty stress-free.
All DS models are generously equipped, with entry-level Elegance versions featuring dual-zone climate control, height adjustable front seats and Citroen's 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system complete with built-in sat-nav, DAB radio, USB connectivity and smartphone integration.
Higher-spec Prestige cars add a reversing camera, leather upholstery and a blind-spot monitoring system, while Performance Line trim gets you aluminium pedals and front sports seats with massage function.
The DS4’s dashboard may have been lifted directly from the Citroen C4, but it’s been made considerably plusher thanks to the addition of classy trim finishes and dials that can be lit up in multiple colours. While interior plastics and materials aren’t quite up to the standards of the competition, the DS 4’s chic, cosseting cabin is still a thoroughly pleasant place to be.
The DS 4 offers plenty of space up front - and thanks to that panoramic windscreen window again, the cabin feels bright and airy.
Rear seat accommodation is decent, although headroom is restricted due to the DS 4’s sloping roofline. The boot will comfortably take 3 suitcases or the weekly shop. Total capacity is not quite on a par with its rivals. All models come with split-folding rear seats so carrying larger loads won’t be a problem.
Interior storage space is good, with an array of cubbys and compartments peppered around the cabin. Additionally, the DS 4 boasts a couple of cupholders and door pockets big enough to hold large bottles of water.
Running costs and reliability
The DS4 boasts impressive fuel efficiency against its rivals, with the diesel engines proving the most frugal. The 1.6-litre engine aims to return 74.3mpg, while the higher-powered 2.0-litre should deliver 72.4mpg.
While older Citroen products had a reputation for electrical problems, recent models have benefited from improved build quality. The company now has a better track record when it comes to overall reliability, so the DS 4 should offer a dependable experience.
What cinch loves
We love the DS4’s interior. It feels premium, and benefits from quirky touches like an LED light strip at the base of the windscreen and quirky patterned trim finishes. We like the DS4’s impressive roster of standard safety kit, too. All models come with 6 airbags, electronic stability control and ISOFIX child-seat mounts. There’s also an emergency assistance system that will connect you to the emergency services if an accident or incident should occur. And, to cap it off, the DS4 has a 5-star Euro NCAP safety rating.
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Town and country drivers
The DS4’s high quality interior, premium looks and generous levels of standard equipment succeed in putting it in a class above its cheaper Citroen cousins. It may not be an obvious choice in the premium hatchback sector, but its idiosyncratic styling makes it a worthy, slightly leftfield contender in a crowded market.
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