DS 4 Crossback

BlueHDi 120

DS 4 Crossback, front static
DS 4 Crossback, front action
DS 4 Crossback, rear action
DS 4 Crossback, front seats
DS 4 Crossback, dashboard
DS 4 Crossback, dash detail

THESE words are being written just as the last Land Rover Defender rolls along the production line in Solihull.

A replacement is promised but you can bet it won't have the basic, rugged charms of the simple machine that went on sale in 1948, aiming to make farmers mobile again after the Second World War.

Compared to almost anything available at the same price, the last Defenders were awful things to drive on the road; all bounce and no finesse.

But when the road ended and the fields began there is still little better. Which is why so many people ignore the on-road faults and love their Landies like the family Labrador.

Which brings us (eventually) to the car you see here, a machine that its maker wants to sprinkle with a little of the fairy dust that makes proper off-roaders such must-haves, even when the jungle is in deepest city.

The designers took the latest DS 4 (the badge showing it's the upwardly mobile bit of the Citroen brand) and added Crossback on the boot lid.

It looks gently different from a simple DS 4, thanks to mildly raised suspension, black wheelarch trims, roof bars and touches of black on mirrors and door sills to give it the look of something that won't sob at the thought of crossing a grassy field.

In fact, the Crossback is no more likely to venture off road than its lower riding sibling, but it looks the part of urban warrior. You can bet one or two of the all-new DS models waiting in the wings will also have SUV genes, and perhaps rather more convincing ones at that.

Prices of the hatchback version start at £19,495 for a car in Elegance trim with the small petrol engine and top out with the 180 horsepower diesel Prestige automatic at £25,495.

The DS 4 Crossback has a more restricted range, taking in two diesels but starting at the 1.2-litre petrol version at £21,745 and stretching to the top auto diesel for £26,495.

Inside, you can option a very plush leather finish and play with a new seven inch touchscreen that controls things like navigation and music and saves a dozen buttons - which you might find neat and elegant or a nuisance when you need to change something quickly.

The newcomer is the first car in the PSA Group (that's Peugeot, Citroen and DS) to offer Apple CarPlay, which links more recent iPhones with the screen and lets you use the navigation app on your phone and allows Siri voice control work to manage your emails.

Those look-at-me lines have consequences; the rear doors are tiny (even the DS people say they're 'for occasional use') and space in the back is tight. Larger adults need not apply.

On the right roads (smoother is better) the DS 4 Crossback gets along nicely, the 120 horsepower engine giving plenty of pull and the stiffish suspension fighting body roll. Bad roads rather let the side down, with thumpings from below.

FAST FACTS

DS 4 Crossback BlueHDi 120

Price: £23,495

Mechanical: 118bhp, 1,560cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 6-speed gearbox

Max Speed: 117mph

0-62mph: 10.9 seconds

Combined MPG: 72.4

Insurance Group: 24

C02 emissions: 103g/km

Bik rating: 18%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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