24.11.2015DS 4 Crossback 1.6 BlueHDi 120 review
Citroen continues to develop its premium brand DS Automobiles range, though all-new models and separate dealerships are still a couple of years away. Crossovers that blend different car styles and abilities remain all the rage and this is the model to choose in the DS range. It's similar in concept to the equally pseudo off-road Volvo V40 Cross Country but with more style and probably a little more rough road ability too. Ignoring dealer experience, neither feels a true premium product yet though to challenge the likes of Audi etc.
Review by Russell Bray
The four cylinder 1,560cc turbocharged diesel engine produces a good slug of torque (221 lbs ft) from 1,750rpm and maximum power of 118bhp at 3,500rpm, and drives the front wheels through a six-speed manual gearbox. Progress is leisurely with 0-62mph dispatched in 10.9 seconds. You are rarely in any doubt it is a diesel though and petrol variants are more refined, especially at lower speeds around town. Top speed is 117mph according to DS but there was no opportunity to verify this though the car was a happy motorway cruiser in sixth gear. There's also a 178bhp 2-litre diesel version on offer but this is only available with a jerky six-speed automatic gearbox and is best avoided. Petrol choice is a 128bhp turbocharged 1.2 litre.
On some treacherously cambered, bumpy and sometimes partly flooded roads near Newbury, in Berkshire, the Crossback rode surprisingly well and without too much body lean despite a slightly increased ride height, allegedly for tackling rutted tracks. Though with only front wheel drive you aren't going to get much further than a normal hatchback and that will depend as much on the type of tyres fitted than anything else. Quick steering - 2.09 turns lock to lock - makes the car feel quite agile but there's no real feel for the grip levels of the tyres. There was plenty of road grip though and happily the suspension has been softened compared to the previous DS 4 so that it no longer feels stiff legged and crashes over bumps.
DS says the new Crossback demonstrates avant-garde design. It isn't going to frighten the neighbours though it has more style than its German rivals. The Crossback looks part versatile family hatchback, part SUV, part coupe which seems to cover most bases. To achieve that it has black front and rear bumpers, the new corporate radiator grille, grey roof bars, wheel arch mouldings and an air 'spoiler' on the rear tailgate. The car rides 30mm higher than the normal hatchback. The front sport seats were fine but it's not good news in the back. At 6ft 2in I struggled to get in at all as the door openings are so narrow. And, just like the old Citroen DS4, the rear windows do not open (!) which might upset some passengers. Legroom and headroom are both very tight in the back, though the boot is a good size. Length 4284mm. Width 1810mm.
COMFORT & CONTROLS
The interior has been smartened up but the DS 4 really needs its own interior to compete in the premium class and distance it from the earlier Citroen DS4 offering. There is only one trim level and some of the switches and stalks are familiar too, though few folk seem to mind Audi bits in a Lamborghini so perhaps that doesn't matter. You can spec leather trim for the dashboard and doors for Â£1,500 and it needs it if you are to escape from the mass production feeling. The slightly higher driving position makes you feel you are driving a larger car than you are. Wind and engine noise are noticeable at times. The central touch screen is small and the plastic around it isn't of the best quality.
MPG & RUNNING COSTS
The official laboratory tests show a fuel consumption figure of 72.4 MPG on the combined cycle and CO2 emissions of 103g/km for the 1.6 litre Blue HDi engine paired with the six-speed manual gearbox. Our press launch test drive figures were 47.6 MPG and 52.3 MPG according to the on-board trip computer. The car is in road tax band B so there is no first year tax to pay and then Â£20 in the second year. This model is insurance category 24E. Service intervals are every 20,000 miles.
The Euro 6 BlueHDi diesel engines have reduced fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. This has been achieved by improving the engine's internal efficiency, reducing mechanical losses, and with a more efficient exhaust system. This has the selective catalytic reduction (SCR) module upstream of the additive particulate filter. DS says this is the only after-treatment system able to reduce NOx emissions by up to 90 per cent as well as reducing CO2 by up to four per cent. The automatic engine stop start to save fuel in stop-go traffic worked smoothly and consistently. According to our calculations, the model tested has a Next Green Car Rating of 35.
Despite the chrome effect flourishes, unless you go for the expensive optional heated and massaging watch strap pattern leather front seats the cabin is a bit dour, though the car is loaded with equipment. The only trim level equates to Prestige trim on DS 4s. Standard equipment includes a seven inch touch screen that operates the satellite navigation, DAB radio and CD player and there are also steering wheel controls. Buyers get part leather seats, dual-zone climate control, 18-inch gloss black alloy wheels, automatic lights and wipers, tyre pressure monitoring, rear parking sensors, cruise control and speed limiter, and night time 'black panel' instruments. The anti-lock brakes combine electronic brakeforce distribution and emergency brake assist. The electronic stability system includes intelligent traction control for less stable surfaces. Connected services for mobile phones includes Mirror Link and Apple Car Play. There's a choice of four different roof colours. Like all DS models, the Crossback is available with Connect Box, which includes SOS assistance to locate the car and obtain help; a virtual maintenance manual with mileage monitoring and service reminders; eco-driving tips based on data from the car; a mapping pack which sends an e-mail if the vehicle enters or leaves a given area and tracking pack which gives the police the carâ€™s position if stolen. Options on the test car were metallic paint Â£530 and keyless entry and engine start for Â£300
Model tested: DS 4 Crossback
Body-style: Five-door crossover
Engine - CO2: 1.6 BlueHDi four-cylinder turbocharged diesel - 103 g/km CO2
Trim grades: One trim level
On-road price: From £21,475. Price as tested £23,495
Warranty: Three years / 60,000 miles
In the showroom: Now
Review rating: 3 Stars