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DS DS 4
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  • Launched in 2011
  • Family hatch
  • Petrol, Diesel
  • Launch year
    2011
  • Body type
    Family hatch
  • Fuel type
    Petrol, Diesel

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heycar editorial team

Written by

heycar editorial team

00/10
heycar rating
Posh and 'upmarket' Citroen C4

Best bits

  • Upmarket cabin that’s loaded with neat details
  • Premium looks, especially following the facelift
  • Excellent level of standard equipment

Not so great

  • Early models look too much like a Citroen C4
  • Poor practicality, especially in the rear
  • Lacks dynamic sparkle

Read by

 DS4 Front

Overall verdict

 DS4  Interior

On the inside

 DS4 Exterior

Driving

 DS4 Back

How much does it cost to run

 DS4 Back

Prices, versions and specification

Overall verdict

"In isolation, the DS 4 is a thoroughly pleasant car. Its crisp styling is matched by an upmarket cabin, while the level of specification is excellent for a car of this price. Unfortunately, it’s let down by poor practicality and a less than sparkling driving experience. "

 DS4 Front

The DS 4 arrived in 2011 as the Citroen DS 4, before the Citroen name was ditched when the DS Automobiles brand flew the nest. Citroen hoped it would appeal to a broad spectrum of people, stealing sales from the likes of the Volkswagen Scirocco, Volkswagen Golf and Nissan Qashqai. It’s part-coupe, part-hatchback and part-crossover.


A jack-of-all-trades or a master of none, then? A bit of both, to be honest, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The DS 4 is at its most convincing following the rebrand in 2015. Although it’s fundamentally the same car, the revised styling creates a gap between the DS 4 and the mainstream Citroen C4, while the level of specification went up a notch.


Whether you opt for the Citroen or the full-fat DS, you’ll discover a cabin that’s good enough to grace a car with an established premium badge. The architecture of the C4 remains, but the designers deserve great credit for creating something that looks and feels a class above the standard car.


Key to this is the use of premium materials and ambient lighting, as well as extra measures introduced to cocoon the cabin from the engine bay and the outside world. Opt for one of the top trim levels, or splash the cash on the richest leather, and you’ll be living the DS dream.


It’s not perfect. Although the DS 4 offers more luggage capacity than the new Volkswagen Golf, the rear-seat accommodation is comically poor. Adults will find little room for their knees, and if this isn’t enough, the fixed rear windows don’t open. Fine in a coupe, but unacceptable in a five-door hatchback.


More positive is the range of engines on offer, including some efficient diesels, punchy petrols and a 1.6-litre turbocharged unit offering hot hatchback levels of performance.


Unfortunately, the DS 4 can’t quite decide what it wants to be. It lacks the comfort of a traditional crossover and the precision of a coupe or hatchback. It’s not bad to drive, but it never really excels at anything. The best version is arguably the DS 4 Crossback. Introduced in 2015, the raised ride height offers improved ride comfort without ruining the handling characteristics. It feels like the model that stays true to the DS brand promise.


In reality, there was only so much DS could achieve by using a Citroen C4 as a platform. Is it worth the small premium over the C4 on the used car market? We think so, not least because the cabin feels like a class act. It’s also a little different to the established names in the premium car market. There’s a lot to be said for going your own way.

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DS DS 4

1.6 BlueHDi Elegance 5dr EAT6

  • 2018
  • 28,000 miles

Manufacturer Approved

  • DS Belfast
  • BT126LR
Price:£11,999
PCP: £229.52/mo

Representative example: Contract Length: 36 months, 35 Monthly Payments: £229.52, Customer Deposit: £1,799.00, Total Deposit: £1,799.85, Optional Final Payment: £4,253.50, Total Charge For Credit: £2,087.55, Total Amount Payable: £14,086.55, Representative APR: 9.9%, Interest Rate (Fixed): 6.82%, Excess Mileage Charge: 12ppm, Mileage Per Annum: 10,000

Is the DS 4 right for you?

Does the DS 4 offer the best of both worlds or is it a case of mixed messages? Although the posh makeover of the humdrum Citroen C4 isn’t quite up to ‘Cinderella’ standards, this is a far more attractive car than its ugly sister.


This is especially true following the DS makeover, with the new styling helping to widen the gap between the posh DS 4 and the Citroen C4. Throw into the mix an upmarket cabin, a decent level of standard equipment and a range of efficient engines, and you have the makings of an excellent car.


Ultimately, the DS 4 is three cars in one: coupe, hatchback and crossover. It can’t rival the class leaders in any of these segments, but if you’re after a good all-rounder, the DS 4 is a thoroughly convincing car.

What’s the best DS 4 model/engine to choose?

We’d favour a DS Automobiles version over the Citroen, not least because the refreshed styling creates a gap between the DS 4 and Citroen C4. You also get an improved level of standard specification and revised trim levels.


Even the entry-level Elegance trim offers a generous level of standard equipment, but we’d opt for the Prestige model, not least for the leather upholstery, LED/xenon headlights, 18-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels and reversing camera.


Unless you spend most of your time on the motorway, we’d recommend the 1.2-litre PureTech 130 engine. It offers the best blend of performance and economy, and isn’t hamstrung by the EAT6 automatic transmission that’s mated to the more powerful THP 165 engine.


A quick word about the 1.6-litre turbocharged engine that was available in the Citroen DS 4 and earlier versions of the DS 4. The BMW-sourced THP 200/210 unit is a peach, offering hot hatchback levels of performance.

What other cars are similar to the DS 4?

Citroen referenced the Volkswagen Scirocco, Renault Megane Coupe, Volkswagen Golf, Honda Civic, Nissan Qashqai and MINI Countryman when it unveiled the DS 4 in 2011. Part-coupe, part-hatchback, part-crossover, then?


Not quite, because it lacks the styling and dynamics of the Scirocco, the practicality of the Golf and Civic, and the raised ride height of the Nissan Qashqai. There’s only so much you can do when you’re basing a car on the Citroen C4. We’d place the DS 4 alongside the Nissan Juke in terms of practicality, although the cabin quality edges it tantalisingly close to the BMW 1 Series and Audi A3.

Learn more

 DS4  Interior

On the inside

 DS4 Exterior

Driving

 DS4 Back

How much does it cost to run

 DS4 Back

Prices, versions and specification

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