Find a car review

Make
Model

DS 4 review - French luxury hatch sets its sights on prestige rivals

Fledgling luxury brand needs stronger cars than DS 4 to prosper

Evo rating
Price
from £20,045
  • Improved ride, impressive quality and materials
  • Dull dynamics, unimpressive performance

evo Verdict

A jaunty cross between a coupé, hatchback and SUV, the DS 4 – no longer badged as a Citroen – is a car like no other. It straddles a line between the regular Citroen range of vehicles and the likes of German premium brands above; think of it almost as a French Audi A3.

While there is no doubting it has masses of aesthetic appeal, both inside and out, and the addition of new, EU6-compliant engines improved the range’s competitiveness during 2015, the DS4 has a confused personality that leaves it between two stools: its engines are healthy in output but performance breaks no new ground, and the undoubted quality of its materials mask an otherwise uninspiring driving environment.

Subscribe to evo magazine

If you're passionate about the world's greatest performance cars, experience the thrill of driving with evo magazine. Try your first 5 issues for £5.

If the Gallic firm is serious about making DS stand on its own two feet as a brand in the UK then the products need to be more clearly defined than this oddball crossover.

evo Tip

DS did the kindest thing and put the old 1.6-litre VTi engine out of its misery when the range lost its Citroen badging, so you're now presented an all-turbocharged range of petrol and diesel models. Our natural inclination is to tick the box marked 'THP 210' to receive the top-end petrol engine in pursuit of quirky hot hatch-like thrills, but performance feels tepid.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

Better, we think, to accept that the DS 4 is not a hot hatch in a fancy frock and opt for one of the brawny diesels - Citroen has always been good at those - or explore the pleasing thrum of the 128bhp, 3-cylinder PureTech models. Neither performs like the range-topping THP, but both options suit the DS 4's character better.

evo Comment

'One of the biggest complaints about the original (Citroën) DS4 was its poor ride, something that has been answered with this latest model. It’s still not liquid-smooth, but on French back-roads it absorbs undulations with reasonable aplomb, although strangely the apparently smooth tarmac of the autoroute finds it fidgeting around like a toddler with a full bladder' Stuart Gallagher, evo Managing Editor (evo 216)

Performance and 0-60mph time > Hot hatch power outputs don't translate to hot hatch performance. Diesels are strong though and the PureTech 3-pot punches above its weight. Read more about the DS 4's performance here.

Engine and gearbox > Turbocharged petrol four-pots have promise but lack urge. The 3-cylinder turbocharged petrol is most compelling; it's smooth and punchy. Read more about the DS 4's engine and gearbox here.

Ride and handling > Uninspiring. Ride quality has improved recently but it's still no magic carpet, while the handling is safe but forgettable. Read more about the DS 4's ride and handling here.

MPG and running costs > Petrol models are frugal and diesels impressively so. Up to 74mpg available in the 1.6-litre BlueHDi models. Read more about the DS 4's running costs here.

Advertisement - Article continues below

Prices, specs and rivals > DS can't yet compete with some of its German foes on driver appeal, but the DS 4 is competitively priced and well-specified. Read more about the DS 4's rivals here.

Interior and tech > Interior architecture is nothing special, but trim quality easily matches that of any German rival you'd care to mention. Read more about the DS 4's interior here.

Design > An acquired taste, but fits in well with the wider DS range and in the right colour and trim combinations, has just the right boutique vibe. Read more about the DS 4's design here.

Advertisement

Most Popular

Visit/features/17721/the-best-family-cars-that-are-fun-to-drive
Best cars

Best family cars that are still fun to drive

Saloon, hatchback or SUV, family cars come in all shapes and sizes, and needn’t be a snore to drive. These are some of the team’s favourites.
13 Sep 2019
Visit/review/201600/milltek-volkswagen-up-gti-review-tuner-takes-supermini-to-145bhp
Review

Miltek Volkswagen Up GTI review

VW’s Up GTI is already a favourite of ours. Can Milltek’s upgrades improve it further?
16 Sep 2019
Visit/abarth/201755/2020-abarth-595-pista-arrives-with-162bhp
Abarth 595

2020 Abarth 595 Pista arrives with 162bhp

The supermini has been given a new Garrett turbocharger, paint options and tweaks inside
13 Sep 2019
Visit/features/22773/goodyear-eagle-f1-supersport-chosen-by-those-in-the-know-advertisement-feature
Advertisement Feature

Goodyear Eagle F1 SuperSport - chosen by those in the know

The perfect choice for those looking to extract every last drop of performance, we run down Goodyear's Eagle F1 SuperSport range
12 Jun 2019