DS 4 Crossback

BlueHDi 120

DS4, front
DS4, front
DS4, front
DS4, rear
DS4, rear
DS4, rear
DS4, interior

IN case you haven't realised it yet, DS is to Citroen what Lexus is to Toyota - a more upmarket and arguably more stylish alternative to its parent company.

What, however, is the DS 4 Crossback?

Well, following its launch in 2011, the DS4 hatchback - then merely a ‘Citroen' - sold 115,000 units worldwide. When it was refreshed as a ‘pure' DS towards the end of 2015, it also came with this more rugged-looking sibling.

So-called crossover vehicles now make up more than 30 per cent of the premium compact hatchback market and the Crossback was DS's attempt to cash in.

In ad man's lingo, it was aimed at customers looking for ‘urban and extra-urban adventure' whatever that means.

It's certainly better looking than the regular DS with its larger black wheels, butch wheel arches, black door mirrors, door sills added roof bars and a ride height 30mm higher than its hatchback sibling.

Now DS is a standalone brand the naming has had a subtle change too and the number is now separated from the name - hence DS 4 for the newcomer and not DS4 as before.

However, though the new DS 4 Crossback looks the part of a stylish adventurer, it's ‘SUV-lite' coming with two-wheel drive only.

There's less engine choice than the hatchback range with just a 1.2-litre petrol manual engine available alongside a 2.0-litre diesel with six-speed automatic gearbox and a 1.6-litre diesel with a choice of that or a six-speed manual - probably the most sensible choice due to its fuel efficiency and tax-friendly emissions.

DS claims impressive official figures of 74.3mpg for the 1.6-litre but over nearly 465 miles, this car returned 39.1mpg. The best it returned 39.7mpg.

As a ‘premium' model, the interior of the Crossback is undeniably classy and there's plenty of standard kit to appease the most demanding of owners.

Alongside the rugged style extras and 18-inch alloys, there's part-leather trim, reversing camera, automatic LED lights and wipers, power-operated heated door mirrors, dual-zone climate control and a seven-inch colour touchscreen with sat nav, DAB radio and smartphone connectivity including Apple CarPlay.

The glove box is on the small side but there's plenty of other storage space within reach of the driver's seat.

It's spacious and airy in the front, especially because of the sweeping, panoramic windscreen but, with its rakish, coupe-like roofline, headroom in the back is a little claustrophobic. Legroom is also a little restrictive and, because of the shape of the rear doors, the rear windows somewhat nostalgically pop out rather than wind down.

Behind the wheel, the combination of the raised ride height and extra-large windscreen means you get a great view of the road ahead.

The Crossback is surprisingly comfortable - I'd say more so than the standard hatchback - and there's little intrusion from engine or wind noise.

It's not the fastest car out of the blocks but the 1.6 flies along quite nicely and there's plenty of perky mid-range power from its 300Nm of torque.

The manual gearbox is slick and precise and there's loads of grip. With its coupe-like stance, there's also very little body lean which means you can be enthusiastic on our less straight roads. It's not a hot hatch but it's not that sort of car.

And on a more practical note, the boot outdoes many rivals including the Volkswagen Golf with 385 litres of space - 1,021 with the rear seats down.

A mixture of coupe and crossover, the DS 4 Crossback is a curate's egg of a car but with enough French flair and ‘je ne sais quoi' for its quirks to be overlooked.

FAST FACTS

DS 4 Crossback BlueHDi 120

Price: £24,045

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

Max Speed: 117mph

0-62mph: 10.9 seconds

Combined MPG: 72.4

Insurance Group: 24

C02 emissions: 103g/km

Bik rating: 22%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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