Sin free DS for a

life on cars

DS 4, front action
DS 4, front static
DS 4, rear static
DS 4, dashboard
DS 4, front seats

APPARENTLY at around 8pm on the evening of January 8, dietary good intentions for 2016 were most likely to hiss off into the mists of an opening beer can or the pop of a wine bottle cork. Frankly, who would call this unreasonable?

Firstly it was the first Friday of the first week of the first month back at work. Reason enough, some would say, to hit the laughing water.

On top of that world markets teeter on self-immolation as China missed its five year plan rubber duck quota and you have booked a summer holiday somewhere which, likely as not, won't exist by August or will only be reachable by electric canoe.

All bolstered by the news that apparently whatever you eat or drink you will die of cancer and sugar is a class A drug.

But worst of all; there is no Rey character in the new Star Wars Monopoly game.

This is a gross injustice.Even Darth Vader, melted down in a previous film, is featured. The game's makers say she has been omitted to safeguard a major plot line. Maybe she is expecting Chewbacca's love child.

Meanwhile Star Wars fans can console themselves with a visit to the inside of a Citroen DS 5 where all the toggles and switches of the Millennium Pidgeon are there to enjoy. Just bring your own light sabre.

Do not, however, go down a warp factor to the DS 4 expecting the same level of space cadetery. This is a totally different craft.

Both models are masterpieces of French design. The difference is that the bigger car caries this inside with daring and boyish excitement and the DS 4, er, doesn't.

Exterior looks are positive and while the DS 4 is comfortable and well-appointed its cabin more closely favours the decluttered style of the Peugeot 308. Sitting not in this are you if you fancy yourself a Jedi.

There is plenty of clarity to look out on but very little fuss. And somehow not that feel of quality which goes with the DS 5. This was a Prestige trimmed version so the upholstery is part leather and the front seats are sports models, something to remember when we come to performance numbers.

Other equipment is good. A seven-inch touch screen houses the sat nav and all the other essentials like phone and DAB radio. A glance at the picture shows there to be alloy wheels. There is also a reversing camera as well as keyless entry and start are standard.

This was the 1.2-litre petrol engine entry model, yours on the road for £20,745 and as good an example of why the motor car is not a planet killer as any. The three-cylinder 129bhp engine will reach 62mph in less than 10 seconds but still promises to average 54mpg. It probably won't in the normal course of life but is still cheap motoring what with petrol currently tuppence a bucket and no tax to pay in the first year.

On a practical note there is a very good boot but the rear is quite cramped.

So, on the road the DS 4 is sprightly enough for those sports seats but 18 inch wheels relay too much pothole information. Handling, however, is fun and long-distance work peaceful.

It's hardly worth mentioning safety equipment these days with everyone offering stabilisers, computer braking and the like until you get to Volvo where a man will personally come round and apologise if you so much a break a fingernail.

There is a school of thought that the DS badge is superfluous and that Citroen should drop it. I disagree. It is a home for flair and design bravery away from the disciplines of practicality. As French as foie gras. May the force feeding be with you.

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