Citroen DS4 hatchback

Price  £18,695 - £26,590

Citroen DS4 hatchback

reviewed by Carbuyer

  • High-quality interior
  • Premium, sporty looks
  • Generous standard equipment
  • Rear side windows don’t open
  • Cramped interior – especially in rear
  • Dull drive doesn’t match sporty styling

At a glance

The greenest
Elegance BlueHDi 120 S&S 6-speed 5dr £21,145
The cheapest
Elegance PureTech 130 S&S 6-speed 5dr £19,395
The fastest
Prestige THP 210 S&S 6-speed 5dr £22,995
Top of the range
Prestige BlueHDi 180 S&S EAT6 auto 5dr £25,495

"The DS 4 is a sporty-looking family car with a premium-quality interior and hatchback practicality."

As it tries to establish the DS brand as a separate entity, Citroen has renamed ts mid-size upmarket VW Golf rival the DS 4. However, most people are still likely to call it the Citroen DS 4, not least because it's sold in Citroen dealerships. The company's point is that the DS 4 is quite different from standard Citroens and harks back to the legendary Citroen DS model line, famous for its soft suspension, striking looks and advanced technology. In truth, today's DS 4 doesn't quite live up to DS models of old, but it does look and feel quite distinctive.

For example, a raised ride height means that, although it looks like a hatchback, the DS 4 doesn't quite fit the established mould. In fact, it has a little of the compact SUV about it, pitting it against cars such as the Nissan Qashqai as well as conventional hatchbacks such as the Volkswagen Golf and more upmarket models like the BMW 1 Series. Unfortunately, such a broad spread of targets means the DS fails to beat any of them comprehensively.

There are three petrol and three diesel engines to choose from. Inevitably, the diesels are more efficient, but the cheapest petrol – the PureTech 130 – is not only the cheapest DS 4 in the range, it's also quite frugal. Despite being able to take the car from 0-62mph in 10.1 seconds, it returns 54.3 mpg and costs just £30 a year to tax. The quickest petrol, with a 0-62mph time of 8.5 seconds, is the 200 THP, although economy falls to 44.1mpg here.

Of the diesels, the BlueHDi 150 provides the best balance of strong performance and good economy, with an 8.8-second 0-62mph time, 57.6mpg fuel economy and £20 road tax. One interesting new engine is the e-HDi 115. It uses the energy that would normally be lost during braking to power a small electric motor. This supports the diesel engine and helps improve economy and reduce CO2 emissions. However, the more conventional BlueHDi 120 is the most economical engine, at 72.4mpg.

Unfortunately, the faster models betray the DS 4's modest ride and handling abilities. The raised ride height is the biggest culprit here, causing rather too much body lean in corners. Regardless of the engine, the suspension is a little too firm as well, meaning the car can be quite bouncy.

Inside, cabin quality isn't as good as a Golf's, while space – especially in the rear – is quite limited. The deep windscreen, which extends into the roofline, is a nice touch, though, that makes the cabin light and airy.

Trim levels are DSign, DStyle Nav and DSport. All have air-conditioning, alloy wheels and cruise control. The DS 4 is a safe car, having been awarded the full five stars in crash tests conducted by Euro NCAP. All versions have six airbags, ISOFIX child-seat mountings and traction control.

MPG, running costs & CO2

2.5 / 5

Diesel versions of the DS 4 are cheap to run, but ultimately outclassed by rivals

Engines, drive & performance

2.5 / 5

The DS 4 is a long way off the best in class for driving fun

Interior & comfort

2.2 / 5

A stiff ride takes something away from the DS 4’s luxurious interior

Practicality & boot space

2.3 / 5

Access to the back seat of the DS 4 is poor and the windows are fixed

Reliability & safety

2.8 / 5

The DS 4 was awarded five stars when it was crash tested by Euro NCAP

What the others say

3 / 5
based on 3 reviews
3 / 5
"Citroen claims the DS4 can straddle several segments, and deliver a sporty, involving driving experience without compromising on practicality."
3 / 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 / 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."
What owners say 
4.6 /5 based on 27 reviews
 of people would recommend this car to a friend

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Last updated 
13 May 2015
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