By Mike Torpey on 2022-10-08 - 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 Cross PureTech
WHETHER the initials stand for Different Spirit or Distinctive Series, there's no doubt Citroen sub-brand DS is making a sizable impact on the new car scene.
The outfit says it ‘aims to embody French luxury savoir-faire in the automotive industry' - in other words ‘display a polished sureness in social behaviour' - and if the new DS 4 model is an accurate gauge then its maker is very much on the right track.
Many cars these days can accurately be described as stylish, but the design of the DS 4 adds some extra food for thought to those looking for a car that really stands out from the masses.
Some say it's quirky, some call it a crossover, but according to the Festival Automobile International - created as part of the 24 Hours on Ice in Chamonix - it is the Most Beautiful Car of 2022. Simple as that.
We were impressed by the DS 4 too, and not just because it looks good. It's also lovingly put together using upmarket materials and at times makes the driver feel as much in the cockpit of a jet fighter as behind the wheel of a car.
The DS 4 comes in a choice of three petrol engines - a PureTech 130, 180 and 225 - along with a BlueHDi 130 diesel, all of which are sold exclusively with an eight-speed automatic gearbox.
There's also the heralded DS 4 E-TENSE plug-in hybrid with 225bhp on tap and more than 30 miles of range in zero emissions mode.
A trio of derivatives come in the shape of the standard DS 4, a Performance Line version and our DS 4 Cross model. Opt for the latter and you can specify either Cross Trocadero or Cross Rivoli trim.
Our Cross Rivoli variant, in Copper Gold metallic paint and 19-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels, is a car that instantly catches the eye and turns heads - it's a bit more adventurous and SUV-like than the regular DS 4 yet still oozes style.
So it gets stuff like black roof bars, side skirts, skid plates and a stylish rear bumper in addition to its angled S-shaped slim Matrix headlights.
Tug on one of the pop-out door handles and step inside the DS 4 to be cocooned by beautifully soft leather seats in a futuristic environment of brown ash and leather in the brand's signature watchstrap design.
It's all dominated by a new 10-inch HD touchscreen with something called DS IRIS which allows the driver to personalise the system, while a hidden DS AIR ventilation set-up is aimed at removing unnecessary clutter from the dash area.
And to make the system even more intuitive, DS Smart Touch provides a small, additional touchscreen below the centre console with shortcuts and handwriting recognition - so you can write instructions like sat nav info rather than key them in.
As for space, well you're in pretty standard hatchback territory - not as good a specialist crossover but certainly adequate, even for a centre rear passenger.
Our tested model was powered by the PureTech 180 engine from the middle of the range and featuring a 1.6-litre petrol unit developing a useful 181bhp of punch.
Normal, Eco and Sport drive modes ensure you can save fuel or stiffen the dynamics at will and for those contemplating an off-road adventure there's also hill descent control.
DS 4 Cross PureTech 180 Rivoli
Mechanical:181bhp, 1,598cc, 4-cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via eight-speed automatic transmission
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