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DS 4

ds4_main_1The DS 4 is a premium hatchback but does it have what it takes to seriously compete with rivals asks Hannah Gordon

What is it? DS have completely broken away from the Citroen stable and have produced a new facelift DS 4 to celebrate. The DS 4 comes in two body types, the regular hatchback and the Crossback which enters crossover territory.

Who is it aimed at? The DS 4 still struggles to make an impact into the family market due to some quirky styling, the diesels are extremely economical making it a great choice for a company car or someone who does lots of mileage.

What about the Styling? Distancing itself further away from the styling of the Citroen C4, DS have revamped the front end with their own Avant-garde design. The headlights and ‘DS wings’ incorporate a smart looking grille and the LED daytime running lights add to its new face. The DS 4 has plenty of aesthetic appeal with dramatic lines leading across many of its panels and the rear doors fitting in perfectly with the ‘coupe’ like design. The ride height has also been lowered, before the DS 4 sat ridiculously high for a hatchback.

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Under the bonnet? Plenty of engine choices are available including the one Puretech petrol engine which is also turbocharged and offers refinement and a good acceleration range. If you require a diesel then there is three to choose from a 1.6 litre and 2.0 litre to pick from. The test car came with the 2.0 litre diesel, 148 bhp and had plenty of guts when needed. The six speed manual fitted to this car was smooth and gear changes were effortless, the engine though can impact its noise into the cabin on hard acceleration

 And inside? The interior is well put together and pretty simple to master, the new 7” touch screen system is the same used in the Citroen’s and Peugeot’s but now includes Apple CarPlay as standard. The touchscreen isn’t the most responsive and the Sat Nav can be difficult to use. I found the DS 4 fairly comfortable and if you add the Watch-strap leather interior then it gives it a more luxurious feel. Space up front is good, although the steering wheel feels too big and the glovebox has very limited space. Entry into the rear is hampered by a small opening due to its styling and the rear windows still don’t go down, but on the plus side there is a large boot space.

On the road? The DS 4 has a great engine and gearbox combination whether you go for the petrol or diesel options, the ride height is now at a sensible level from the previous model but it is still not as composed as it could be. Pot holes and typically poorly maintained Irish roads produce all kinds of issues and the DS 4 feels only really at home on smooth motorways. The 19” alloys don’t help either with ride comfort, the Crossback on the other hand does produce a slightly less ‘crashy’ drive.

How about Safety? The previous DS 4 received the full five stars for its Euro NCAP tests so expect the same from this model, six airbags and ISOFIX child seat mounts come as standard. Blind Spot Monitoring and Lane departure technology is also available but costs extra.

What are my Options? Already highly specified cars, the DS 4 has limited extra options. Reversing camera, Front parking sensors and Blind spot monitoring system costs €1,100 while if you yearn for better sound quality a Denon HiFi system will set you back €670.

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Will it break the bank? The 1.2 Puretech petrol emits just 119g/km of CO2 and has a combined mpg of 55.4. The diesels are more frugal, the 2.0 litre diesel with 148 bhp manages a combined figure of 72.4mpg and emissions of 103 g/km of CO2 so annual motor tax is just €190. Prices for the new DS 4 start from €26,995, our press car was priced at €34,995.

So the verdict? It still remains to be seen whether people can start to differentiate the DS brand from Citroen, with the styling changes to the front and DS badging abundant it shouldn’t be too long. The DS 4 has a sleek appearance and proportions are good but this does impinge on practicality. This impracticality makes it a niche product and one that doesn’t appeal to a large market, especially families who would find rear seat entry too small. This is a step in the right direction and with the strength of engines available it is a good car too drive, but it still feels just a little too unsettled on the road and is not on a par with rivals.

Why you will buy one: Styling; Engines; Economy

 Why you won’t: Harsh ride;

 

DS 4
Engine: 1997cc
Max speed:  207 km/h
0-100 km/h:  8.8 seconds
Emissions(Motor tax) :  103 g/km (Band A3 €190)
Model price range: €26,995
No of Doors: 5
Euro NCAP : TBC
Fuel type:  Diesel
Fuel Economy (combined cycle): 3.9 litres/100 (72.4 mpg)
Boot Capacity Seats up(down): 385 litres (1021)
Length: 4284 mm
Width: 1810 mm
Height: 1497 mm
Wheelbase: 2612 mm

 

Hannah Gordon

10th May, 2016

 

Author: Hannah Gordon

A qualified mechanic with over 8 years experience Hannah’s love of cars began at a young age. Holidays and weekends were spent helping out at a family friend’s garage passing tools and making tea. You can follow Hannah on Twitter at @femalemechanic1

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