By Mike Torpey on 2016-05-15 - 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 Prestige 1.2
DS is a car company that really knows how to do the splits.
What was originally a more luxury oriented extension of Citroen became a fully standalone brand last year, and now one of its core models, the DS 4, has itself been sliced in two.
When the new DS 4 model hit the streets in November it also came with a bedmate called the DS 4 Crossback, the latter sporting 'urban adventure' touches like a greater ride height and black styling tweaks.
Both ooze what the French car maker describes as the Spirit of Avant-Garde, resulting in a sales run that has seen the DS 4 sell more than 115,000 worldwide since its launch in 2011.
Now we have a new version and with its flowing lines, touches of chrome and high-performance engines, it looks every inch the premium hatchback.
Beneath the bonnet comes a choice of six engines including the award-winning 3-cylinder turbo petrol PureTech 130, which powers the tested model.
There's also a new high-performance THP 210 petrol engine plus Euro 6 BlueHDi diesel units, including a BlueHDi 180 with a hefty boost in torque.
For a 1.2-litre powerplant the PureTech 130 is a revelation, feeling appreciably more lively than what you would normally expect from an engine of this capacity.
The result is a positive, comfortable and poised car to drive via a simple, well laid out cabin with durable, high quality fit and finish.
In Prestige trim you get quilted, body hugging leather seats with two colours of stitching for added effect plus plenty of alloy highlights in and around the dash.
It's all rounded off by a nicely weighted flat-bottomed steering wheel and shiny Start/Stop button behind the six-speed gear shift.
Space for three in the back is a bit tight, especially if the driving seat needs to be well slid back, but the slightly perched centre rear position is nontheless comfortable.
That said, the sloping roof with its black ceiling and smallish, angled rear windscreen combine to make things feel claustrophobic.
DS 4 models are five-door yet have that extra touch of style thanks to concealed rear door handles and there's plenty of space in the high-lipped boot.
A bit quirky, which also sets DS apart from Citroen, and boasting a terrific sound system with advanced connectivity like Apple CarPlay, the DS 4 also offers plenty of opportunity for its owners to personalise their car.
That includes two-tone with a choice of four colours for the roof and rear spoiler, the door mirrors and hub caps.
DS 4 Prestige 1.2 PureTech 130
Mechanical: 130bhp, 1,999cc 3-cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual transmission
Max Speed: 123mph
0-62mph: 9.9 seconds
Combined MPG: 54.3
Insurance Group: 27
C02 emissions: 120g/km
Bik rating: 19%
Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles
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