Striking, innovative and really impressive to drive, we just wonder who will stick their neck out and buy the new DS4?
A really great car to drive, especially with the 2.0-litre engine. Citroen are still off most Irish buyer's radars right now though. You can get a lot of prestige-badged rivals for the money too, so this might be a tough sell.
When: July 2010
What: Citroen DS4 2.0 HDi Sport
Occasion: Irish First Drive
Inside & Out: 4/5
Whether or not you are going to like the DS4 is really a matter of taste, but this is a flashy car that clearly has been designed to stand out from the crowd. It is a five-door coupe in much the same way the Alfa Giulietta is a five-door coupe in that the rear handles are hidden. It sits 40mm higher than the Citroen C4 on which it is based although it is 60mm shorter than that car. We had initially thought that this might be considered as a rival to the Nissan Qashqai or Hyundai ix35 as a compact SUV, but it really doesn’t look anything like those, despite the increase in ride height. Depending on the model you choose, the car can sit on some enormous alloys, with out Sport model sitting on some very smart, black 19” boots. It looked pretty awesome in our eyes, but it might not be to everyone’s taste as it is anything but subtle.
Step inside and there is quite a dark cabin, but as we have come to expect from the French brand, it is quite quirky. There is a panoramic windscreen, and if you slide back the sun visors you get a massive glass area. There is a lot of standard kit in the Sport model we were driving so there were items like Bluetooth, leather upholstery, parking sensors which will measure up a spot for you and tell you if it easy or not and there is an electronic handbrake too, which unlike most of them, worked really well and wasn’t at all annoying.
There is plenty of space up front, but rear seat passengers won’t be too happy if they are tall and the middle seat in the rear is really a kids-only spot. There is a big boot though, which will cope with a buggy or golf bags etc.
Engine & Transmission: 3.5/5
A 1.6-litre 110hp diesel will be the main seller of the range with the choice of a manual gearbox or the six-speed electronic EGS gearbox. You can also have a 200hp 1.6-litre petrol or the 2.0-litre 163hp diesel, which we were driving. It is a really good engine – feeling quiet, refined and urgent, plus with emissions of 134g/km it sits in motor tax band B, so annual road tax is €156. The E-HDi versions of the 1.6-litre HDi go one better and sit in motor tax band A but they feel sluggish compared to the bigger output unit. Combined fuel economy of 4.3 l/100km is good too.
Ride & Handling: 4/5
The ride is very firm on the 19” alloy wheels and you can wince if you encounter a harsh pothole, but there is a decent amount of wheel travel. Despite this, the DS4 is very comfortable and what was perhaps most surprising was just how capable it is when it comes to handling. Drag the DS4 out of the confines of the city and it really comes alive with truly impressive driving dynamics. The steering could do with a little more feel, but it is rare to find a French car that has enough anyway. We never really would have expected this car to be this entertaining to drive, but twinned with a strong torquey 2.0-litre diesel it is rewarding.
Equipment, Economy & Value for Money: 3.5/5
We were driving the top of the range 2.0-litre HDi Sport model and despite being under €30,000 literally had everything you could think of thrown-in, including leather upholstery, 19” alloy wheels, climate control, Bluetooth connection, connections for USB and Aux audio devices, parking space information and that clever panoramic windscreen.
CompleteCar Index: 3.5/5
A really great car to drive, especially with the 2.0-litre engine. Citroen are still off most Irish buyer’s radars right now though. You can get a lot of prestige-badged rivals for the money too, so this might be a tough sell.
Citroen DS4 2.0 HDi Sport:
?Engine: 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel
? Maximum power: 163hp at 3,750rpm
?Maximum torque: 340Nm at 2,000rpm
?Acceleration (0-100km/h): 8.6 seconds
?Maximum speed: km/h (limited)
? Fuel economy (combined cycle): 4.3 litres/100km (66 mpg)
?CO2 emissions: 134g/km
?Motor tax band: B
?Annual road tax: €156
?Retail price: Official price of test car without options is €29,895