Citroen DS4 hatchback

Review

Citroen DS4 hatchback

Price  £17,855 - £25,305

Citroen DS4 hatchback

reviewed by Carbuyer

Pros
  • Sporty looks
  • Strong equipment levels
  • High-quality cabin
Cons
  • Cramped interior
  • Rear side windows don’t open
  • Drive doesn’t match its sporty looks

At a glance

The greenest
DSign e-HDi 115 Airdream 6-speed 5dr £19,425
The cheapest
DSign VTi 120 5dr £17,855
The fastest
DSport THP 200 6-speed 5dr £23,405
Top of the range
DSport HDi 160 6-speed automatic 5dr £25,305

"The Citroen DS4 is a sporty-looking family car with a premium-quality cabin and hatchback practicality."

The DS range of Citroens has been designed to offer a premium alternative to the manufacturer's core range. The Citroen DS4 gets quirky looks that are more in keeping with models from the firm's past, such as the original Citroen DS. The inside of the car has an upmarket feel and the DS4 gets attractive styling touches including a wraparound front windscreen.

The DS4 can be had with a choice of three diesel and three petrol models. The petrols can’t match the economy of the diesel cars, but even the basic 1.6 offers reasonable pace, while the THP200 is almost as quick as hot hatches such as the Volkswagen Golf GTI. The diesels also offer spritely performance and the mid-range HDI 135 offers the best mix of economy and performance in the range.

There are three trim levels to choose from in the DS4 line-up – DESIGN, DSTYLE, and DSPORT, but this is a high-spec model and even the basic car comes with cruise control, alloy wheels, air-conditioning, and electric windows.

MPG, running costs & CO2

2.5 / 5

Fuel conomy and efficiency are reasonable but by no means class-leading

The thirstiest model on fuel is the 160THP, which comes fitted with a six-speed automatic gearbox that hurts fuel economy. The result is figures of 36.7mpg and emissions of 178g/km – so road tax will be expensive at £225 per year. Surprisingly, there's little to separate the fast THP200 and the basic VTI120. The former can return 44.1mpg, which doesn’t seem too bad relative to the performance on offer, and road tax will be £145 every year.

If you want to keep running costs low you’re much better going for one of the three diesels. The most basic model is also the most frugal - it can get economy of 65.7mpg, while road tax is just £30. That's cheap, but cars such as the Volkswagen Golf BlueMotion are even more frugal to run and can get up to 88.3mpg.

Interior & comfort

2.2 / 5

Interior is high-quality and seats are very comfortable

Part of the DS4's appeal is that it feels better built than other Citroens and, as a result, it's a nice place to sit thanks to a stylish design, the use of some quality plastics and attractive mood lighting in the cabin.

Unfortunately, the DS4's sporty pretensions mean that it gets firm suspension, which sends jolts through to the interior, making the car less comfortable than it could be with a softer setup.

The seats up front are comfortable, but the car's stylish shape means headroom in the back is cramped and access isn’t great either thanks to long doors that need plenty of space to open fully. Another unwelcome surprise is that the rear windows don’t wind down.

Practicality & boot space

2.3 / 5

Practicality has been sacrificed for sportier looks

Despite its pretty looks, the DS4 boasts a boot that is marginally bigger than a Volkswagen Golf's, at 385 litres. The extra space gained by putting the rear seats down isn’t as impressive as you would think, though, and total load capacity is just 1,021 litres.

Space in the rear isn’t too good, especially when you consider the lack of headroom, while having rear windows that don’t open only adds to the claustrophobic feel. At least this is offset by the car's panoramic windscreen, which lets extra light in.

Storage space is good, with big door pockets and plenty of other little cubbyholes, though the glovebox is a bit small.

Reliability & safety

2.5 / 5

DS4 feels high-quality but Citroen hasn’t performed well in recent customer surveys

Solid build quality is crucial if the DS4 is going to tempt buyers from more premium models, but it's not something for which Citroen has a great reputation. In fact, in our 2014 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey the firm came 26th out of 33 manufacturers – a two-place drop from last year. The DS4 didn’t feature in our model rankings, so it's hard to give a definitive answer on how reliable the car will be, but it does share tried and tested parts with the Citroen C4.

The DS4 received a five-star safety rating from Euro NCAP, though, and it comes as standard with six airbags, electronic stability control, and ISOFIX child seat mounts. Higher spec DSTYLE and DSPORT models also get an eTouch assistance system that can automatically contact the emergency services after an accident and provide them with a location.

Engines, drive & performance

2.5 / 5

Sportier than the Citroen C4 but rivals are more fun to drive

The fastest DS4 model is the petrol-powered THP200, which has 197bhp and can get from 0-60mph in just 8.5seconds. If you want a car that is cheap to run then a better option is either the 1.6-litre or 2.0-litre HDi diesels, which are both powerful and economical. If decent performance is important to you then we would recommend avoiding the 1.6-litre petrol, which has just 118bhp and feels underpowered. The same is true of the mid-range turbocharged 1.6-litre petrol. It is only available with an automatic gearbox, which is jerky and takes most of the enjoyment out of driving the car.

With stiff suspension the DS4 is fun to drive, thanks to little body lean in the corners. It's still not as enjoyable as models such as the BMW 1 Series or even the Volkswagen Golf.

Price, value for money & options

2.4 / 5

Premium features at a lower price than rivals like the Audi A3

Inside, the DS4 feels nicer built than the regular Citroen C4, but it can’t match models such as the BMW 1 Series or the Audi A3. Every model gets air conditioning, alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights, air-con, cruise control and traction control. The mid-range DSTYLE model, meanwhile, adds larger 18-inch alloy wheels, auto wipers and headlights, plus a DAB digital radio.

With its cool styling and classy touches, the DS4 is likely to hold onto its value better than other models from the range but, in general, Citroens can be expected to depreciate quicker than cars from firms such as Ford, Toyota and Volkswagen.

What the others say

3 / 5
based on 3 reviews
  • 3.0 / 5
    "Citroen claims the DS4 can straddle several segments, and deliver a sporty, involving driving experience without compromising on practicality."
  • 3.0 / 5
    "Based on the C4 hatch, the DS4 is meant to blend coupe and hatchback bodystyles and the effect is pretty striking. It is shorter (60mm) and higher (40mm) than the C4 it is based on."
  • 3.0 / 5
    "It may look like a two-door coupe, but it does in fact have rear doors with hidden handles, adding to the coupe appearance in a similar fashion to the SEAT Leon. The DS4 is practical too with a 370-litre boot - more than a Volkswagen Golf."

Last updated 
6 Jun 2014

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