Citroen DS4 driven

* Latest addition to DS family * On sale from £18,150 * High-powered petrol and diesel reviewed...

Citroen DS4 driven

What is it?

Citroen's latest addition to the DS sub-brand is a genre-defying five-door hatchback.

It's based on the C4 hatchback, but has styling that blends coupe and SUV cues, with hidden rear door handles and a raised ride height.

Six engines and three trim levels are available at launch, ranging from £18,150 for the 1.6 VTi 120 DSign to £23,950 for the 2.0 HDi DSport trim.

What's it like to drive?

We drove the 197bhp 1.6-litre turbo petrol DSport and the 161bhp 2.0-litre HDi diesel DStyle. Both models are rapid, with engines that pull strongly from low revs. The petrol has a pleasantly raspy exhaust note and the diesel is smooth and quiet.

Ride quality is an issue, because the suspension thumps uncomfortably over bumps and potholes. DSport models have a tweaked set-up that tightens body control without worsening the ride, even on the optional 19-inch wheels of our test car.

Body lean is well controlled and theres plenty of grip. The steering is reassuringly weighted at speed, too, although it could do with providing more feel.

What's it like inside?

The DS4 shares much of its cabin architecture with the C4, but upgraded materials, different colours and more metallic inserts give it a much classier feel.

Theres plenty of space in the front seats, but access to the rear is compromised by the small doors, and head- and legroom are tight. Worse still, it's not possible to open the rear windows at all.

The raised ride height gives a good view out and all DS4s come with a windscreen that stretches further into the roof of the car than usual. There are a wealth of luxury options to choose from, including Denon stereo upgrades and two-tone leather upholstery.

Should you buy one?

Citroen is pitching the DS4 as the acceptable face of practicality for style-conscious buyers. However, prices for the models we drove (£23,650 for the petrol and £23,950 for the diesel) put the DS4 into territory where there are plenty of rivals the VW Golf GTI, for one that offer more practicality and lots of style.

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