SUV leaves slippers

by the fireside

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

GO on, hands up anyone who made the schoolboy error of heading off for lessons one morning still wearing carpet slippers?

Easily done in the confusion of growing up. So much to think about and so much trouble to get into that it is completely understandable some boys turned up at the gates of the County Secondary looking like an overshod highland piper.

I did it but thankfully in faux leather so it just looked like I was walking on the backs of my shoes, absolutely acceptable among small boys hell-bent on driving their mothers and the family budget to distraction.

But for those unfortunates who had been thrust prematurely into old men's criss-cross quiz carpet slippers a fate worse than the unflushed lav torture awaited.

There is no hiding the red, green and white of a pair of Billy Connolly pumps. And they offered no protection from a good stamping. They were also very easy to remove and throw over the bike shed into Mrs Green's on Thompson Avenue. Do you know the answer to: "You boy, idiot boy, why are you are wearing nothing on your feet." Me neither.

I believe anyone who managed to get through such a day without tears should have been awarded the Cub Scout badge for stupidity, a Duke of Edinburgh Silver and the Queen's Medal for Gallantry. Very possibly posthumously.

Life after school tends to be free of such gaffes. In my career I have never seen anyone turn up at the office in bedroom attire. But in later life confusion can return.

Which is how I came to be standing in Tesco car park wearing what mother called mules, a word some people insist in following with ‘mariniere.'

Slightly bewildered I was staring at the DS 4 Crossback Blue HDi 120 pondering a question of my own. What is it? Not, you understand, in a negative sense although it is slightly bonkers. But then so is the Renault Captur and neither are quite as difficult to explain as the BMW X6.

No, the thing is this upmarket offspring of a Citroen shares the same platform and engines as a C4 but is badged DS and we are made aware the the ‘C' word must not be used.

The trouble is you still get a lot of Joes asking who makes them. Well, obviously, Citroen but you can't say that.

Then there is the visual styling. It is a five door hatchback but has the profile of a coupe and someone has jacked it up 40mm to be a small SUV. Get my drift?

No, no you can't drift in it. Not really with 120bhp from the 1600cc diesel and a 0-60mph time of 11.4 seconds but you can drift off at night content that it could return 68mpg and is so angelic tax is just £20 a year. This version will cost you £24,245 with only leather upholstery a desirable extra.

Everything else you need is supplied: full safety manifest, automated lights, wipers, keyless entry touch screen navigator, rear sensors, reversing camera and cruise control. Plenty of leather trim, too, in a very personal cabin space. It's young in here.

Only one complaint, the rear windows don't slide down.

Out on the road the Crossback handles well considering the pumped-up height. It is impressively free from roll in corners and even with this economy slowcoach horsepower fun to drive. It also works well on the motorway. A lot of toys to play with indoors but above all a very comfortable drive.

So we are talking family motoring with a degree of coolio the C4 cannot manage. Oh, and a much better interior finish. There is plenty of room for rear seaters and luggage.

Ultimately there is nothing confusing about the Crossback. It is hardly a pair of slippers by the fireside but different. Entertaining even, like watching some tearful kid walking home in his socks.

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