Citroën DS4 D-Sport HDI 160
Price: £22,945 Fuel: 55.4mpg CO2: 134g/km
While DS3 spearheaded the arrival of Citroën’s DS line and DS5 sells itself on luxurious technology, the DS4 sometimes slips off the radar of the media hype. As a part of Europe’s biggest-selling sector, it’s an important car and really shouldn’t be overlooked.
This is actually a rather good car, set back only by its determination to define a new segment. Citroën had the muscular, flared bodywork to build a really good looking five-door coupe – a car which could headline the design-led DS line by going straight for the jugular of the Volkswagen Scirocco, Astra GTC and Renault Megane Coupe.
But it confused matters slightly by jacking up the ride height compared to the C4. The decision was aimed at giving DS4 a commanding, crossover-like driving position, but it’s neither high enough to tower over other motorists, or low enough to suit the body shape.
Citroën’s own DS4 Racing concept proved a couple of inches lower ride height would’ve looked better, and given more coupe-like handling. It would also have boosted economy by reducing drag – all debatably more desirable qualities than sitting higher up.
Doubly so, because the rest works well. The familiar 2.0-litre HDI engine offers up a satisfying combination of pace, efficiency and refinement, and while the raised ride height can make it pitch and roll more than it should, this isn’t a car which feels unstable at speed or around corners.
Inside, the seats are supportive and, in D-Sport trim, come wrapped in some of the softest leather this side of a six-figure pricetag. It’s a very easy motorway cruiser, and the stylish instruments feature a night time mode which turns off all but the most important displays, dimming the remainder to avoid dazzle.
The oddly shaped rear doors take a little getting used to and the windows are fixed shut, but against most hatch-based coupes the extra doors are a unique feature anyway, and useful too.
DS4 does a lot right, and has the makings of being a stylish and practical coupe. But it could carve a bigger presence by winding back on the creativity and aiming for the heart of the stylish, sporty part of the sector.
Competition is stiff in the C segment and it pays not to rock the boat too much. DS4 doesn’t capsize itself with its segment-busting design, but it would probably benefit from being easier to pigeonhole if it wants to pitch for the premium end of the lower medium class.