Citroen DS4 Puretech review and pictures

Citroen's mid-range DS product has a luxury feel but still won't entertain keen drivers

Evo rating
Price
from £18,000
  • Stylish, impressive cabin ambience, sweet engine
  • Little driver involvement

What is it?

You’re looking at the latest iteration of Citroen’s DS4, an upscale alternative to the C4 family hatchback. Citroen is keen to highlight the luxury features of its DS range right now, with the brand now a separate entity from Citroen. Technically, this isn't a Citroen DS4, but 'DS4' alone.

The DS4 has always been a bit of a black sheep in the French brand’s luxury arm however, with neither the sales success of the smaller DS3 nor the flagship positioning of the DS5. Can new engines and other subtle revisions help it stand out?

Technical highlights?

Citroen has installed its 1.2-litre turbocharged Puretech engine in the DS4. In this application it produces 129bhp, 9 per cent more than the naturally-aspirated 1.6 it replaces, and 170lb ft of torque. The latter figure represents a 44 per cent improvement and is produced at 1750rpm, 2500rpm lower than before.

With a standard six-speed manual gearbox and stop-start it’s also 19% less profligate with unleaded than before, at 56.5mpg combined and 116g/km of CO2.

While it won’t alter the driving experience, the dashboard is also worthy of closer examination. Swathed in Nappa leather, Citroen claims it requires 15 hours of handcrafting to wrap and stitch. If nothing else, it’s a sign Citroen’s luxury aspirations are more than just pretence.

What’s it like to drive?

First impressions are positive, with plenty of adjustment in the steering wheel and seat to adopt the driving position of your choice.

It’s a genuinely nice environment in which to sit too – the leather-trimmed dashboard, steering wheel and gearknob could genuinely pass as items from cars much further up the status ladder than Citroen has climbed before and Citroen’s watch strap-style leather seats both look and feel fantastic.

The Puretech engine is a cracker too. While the three-pot’s vibrations do make themselves felt through the pedals, they’re well-isolated from everything else, and while it’s hardly lightning fast (62mph arrives in 9.9sec) it never feels short of urge in normal driving and the six-speed manual is light and slick through the gate, always ready to make use of the useful low-down torque.

Push harder and the chassis will disappoint before the engine does. It does a reasonable job of isolating you from the road surface, which is good, but also isolates you from the action. The ride can turn pattery at low speeds too, though it’s comfortable and refined out of town.

What the DS4 won’t do is raise the pulse. There's little steering feel and slightly delayed responses around the straight ahead. It's more pleasant to waft around in than it is to tackle corners. Citroen might argue that the DS4 therefore meets its brief – this is a luxury car, rather than a hot hatchback – but evo readers would probably want a little more involvement.

How does it compare?

As DS3 is to Mini, so DS4 is to Mini Countryman. A Countryman of equivalent performance is the regular Cooper Countryman, at £18,510. It’ll hit 62mph in 10.5 seconds, but its older-tech engine is less frugal than the downsized Citroen.

Perhaps a more apposite rival is Citroen’s own C4 Cactus. Its own 1.2 Puretech develops less power (108bhp) but featherweight build results in a 9.3sec dash to 62mph and 60mpg economy. It also rides better than its luxurious counterpart and lack of inertia means it feels happier when thrown around. A top-end Flair model begins at £17,190, which is the starting point for DS4s.

Anything else I need to know?

Official pricing hasn’t yet been revealed – we’ll update this article when it is – but a basic DSign DS4 with the old 1.6 naturally-aspirated engine started at £17,855 before Citroen’s updates. We’d expect the revised model to command similar money.

EngineIn-line 3-cyl, 1199cc, turbocharged
Power129bhp @ 6000rpm
Torque170lb ft @ 1750rpm
0-62mph (claimed)9.9sec
Top speed (claimed)123mph
MPG56.5 (16in wheels)
On saleFebruary 2015

Most Popular

MAT Stratos 2021 review – Lancia’s iconic Stratos reborn
MAT Stratos – front tracking
Lancia

MAT Stratos 2021 review – Lancia’s iconic Stratos reborn

It’s been a long time coming, but this Ferrari F430-based reimagining of the Lancia Stratos is finally here
11 Jun 2021
Tesla Model S Plaid deliveries begin – 1006bhp super saloon now reaching customers
Tesla Model S Plaid
Tesla Model S

Tesla Model S Plaid deliveries begin – 1006bhp super saloon now reaching customers

The long-awaited Tesla Model S Plaid has finally come to fruition, with first US examples hitting the road
11 Jun 2021
2021 Audi RS3 Sportback and saloon previewed – will it finally match Mercedes-AMG A45 S?
Audi RS3 manufacturer spy 1
Audi RS3

2021 Audi RS3 Sportback and saloon previewed – will it finally match Mercedes-AMG A45 S?

Audi Sport is putting the final touches on its new RS3 hot hatch and saloon
10 Jun 2021
2021 Maserati GranTurismo to go EV-only – IC option ditched
2021 Maserati GranTurismo spy – track
Maserati

2021 Maserati GranTurismo to go EV-only – IC option ditched

GranTurismo coupe and its soft-top GranCabrio sibling to be reborn later this year, but controversially without the proposed combustion alternative...…
11 Jun 2021
Posaidon’s 217mph Mercedes-AMG E63 RS is faster than a Porsche 918 Spyder
Posaidon Mercedes-AMG E63
Mercedes E63 AMG

Posaidon’s 217mph Mercedes-AMG E63 RS is faster than a Porsche 918 Spyder

Three new Posaidon power upgrades are now available for Mercedes-AMG’s E63 S, bringing hypercar numbers to the four door supersaloon
9 Jun 2021
Used car deals of the week
Used car deals 11 June 21
used cars

Used car deals of the week

Here's what caught evo’s fancy this week on the second hand car market
11 Jun 2021
Ford Mustang Steve McQueen Bullitt Edition 2021 review – a 720bhp tribute act
Ford Mustang Steve McQueen Bullitt Edition – slide
Ford Mustang

Ford Mustang Steve McQueen Bullitt Edition 2021 review – a 720bhp tribute act

Immense performance from about the coolest modern muscle car out there. It’s expensive, but there’s nothing else quite like it
12 Jun 2021
Cheap fast cars 2021 – the best budget performance cars on the market
Cheap fast cars 2021
used cars

Cheap fast cars 2021 – the best budget performance cars on the market

If you buy right and do your research, the cheap fast car is a wonderful thing. Here are our top picks between £1000 and £10,000
25 May 2021
Ferrari F8 Tributo replacement mule spied – will it emulate the McLaren Artura?
Ferrari F171 spy 2021 – front
Ferrari

Ferrari F8 Tributo replacement mule spied – will it emulate the McLaren Artura?

Ferrari’s going hybrid and V6 for its next mid-engined supercar
9 Jun 2021
HKS in development of a supercharger kit for new 2021 Toyota GR 86
HKS Toyota GR 86
Toyota

HKS in development of a supercharger kit for new 2021 Toyota GR 86

Japanese tuner HKS is in development of a supercharger upgrade package for the new GR 86
9 Jun 2021
Best small cars 2021 – pocket rockets reviewed and rated
Best small cars 2021
Best cars

Best small cars 2021 – pocket rockets reviewed and rated

You don’t need 200bhp or more in a small hatchback to have fun – these ‘warm’ small cars are the proof
7 Jun 2021
2021 Alpina XD3 and XD4 update revealed – extra torque from Alpine’s quad-turbo diesel SUV
Alpina XD3 and XD4 2021 – header
Alpina XD3

2021 Alpina XD3 and XD4 update revealed – extra torque from Alpine’s quad-turbo diesel SUV

The updates to the Alpina XD3 and XD4 are largely of the aesthetic kind, but more torque and new chassis calibrations are also part of the package
10 Jun 2021
2022 BMW X3 and X4 M Competition pricing announced
2022 BMW X3 and X4 M Competitions
BMW

2022 BMW X3 and X4 M Competition pricing announced

Engine upgrades, a chassis recalibration and some striking new visuals for BMW’s hot midsize SUVs
11 Jun 2021
Can the Renault Clio Trophy beat a modern supersaloon for daily transport?
Jethro opinion header
Opinion

Can the Renault Clio Trophy beat a modern supersaloon for daily transport?

The boot struts have gone saggy and the hatch slams onto my head three times a week, but the Clio Trophy is hard to resist
8 Jun 2021