By Mike Torpey on 2016-02-05 - Driving Force news editor and responsible for organising our daily output. He was staff motoring editor of the Liverpool Echo for 20 years.
DS 4 DSport BlueHDi
IT was once the Citroen DS4 but, in what the French manufacturer describes as the Spirit of Avant-Garde, we now have simply DS 4.
So DS is now a standalone brand - even if it does still say Citroen DS on the handbook - and a pretty good one at that.
With a new DS 4 due in the new year, the current model has benefited from some tweaks and upgrades to keep it competitive, none more so than by adding a couple of new engines to comply with Euro-6 emissions rules.
Our model - in striking DSport trim - featured one of them, the 2.0-litre BlueHDi 150 unit.
HDi is more energy efficient than a petrol engine but with equivalent performance, yet slurps around 25 per cent less fuel, which in turn equates to a 15 per cent cut in CO2.
And in the DS 4 it's a genuinely strong yet frugal example of these strides in technology.
We're talking serious kick right through the box, but particularly in fourth gear, from a car that's dynamic and sporty to drive, though the suspension feels stiffer than the average driver may favour.
Best on the motorway, agile around town - the DS performed admirably in all conditions and felt smooth on all bar poor or broken surfaces while still returning an average of 50 miles per gallon, not too far adrift of the official 57.6mpg figure.
Otherwise the DS 4 is a car always likely to divide opinion.
There's plenty going for it in the style and practicality stakes - the likes of shiny brightwork, sensibly wide door bins, comfortable heavy duty seats, a deep boot and decent rear passenger space all giving the car considerable appeal.
That's in addition to the DSport's flat-bottomed steering wheel with chrome inserts, the perforated leather upholstery and alloy Start/Stop button.
Another stand-out feature concerns the 19-inch black and silver alloy wheels.
However for back seat passengers the sloping roof with its black ceiling and smallish, angled rear windscreen combine to make things feel claustrophobic.
And the lack of opening windows in the back only makes matters worse.
But the DS 4 is a quirky vehicle anyway - sort of part coupe, part crossover - and will always prove an eye-catcher.
DS 4 DSport BlueHDi 150
Mechanical: 150bhp, 1,997cc 4-cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual transmission
Max Speed: 128mph
0-62mph: 8.8 seconds
Combined MPG: 57.6
Insurance Group: 25
C02 emissions: 103g/km
Bik rating: 18%
Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles
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