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DS 4 Test Drive Review

Date: 25 November 2015   |   Author:

Equipment: 6 airbags, automatic dual-zone climate control, Bluetooth, digital radio, 7in touchscreen satnav system, rear parking sensors, cruise control with speed limiter, automatic headlights and wipers, electric-folding door mirrors
Engines: Diesel: 120hp 1.6-litre, 150hp & 180hp 2.0-litre; Petrol: 130hp 1.2-litre, 165hp and 210hp 1.6-litre
Trims: Elegance, Prestige
Transmissions: 6-spd manual, 6-spd automatic
Category: Lower medium
P11D price: £20,690
Key rival: Volkswagen Golf
On sale: November 2015

If any type of car is handicapped by poor residual values, it has to be upmarket models from mainstream brands. While used buyers will happily stump up increasing figures for used German saloons or posh off-roaders, plush models from everyday brands are much less popular come resale.

With residuals plummeting to less than 20%, the Citroen DS4 is a prime example. In an attempt to address this, Citroen has separated from its DS marque, which could be wise, considering RVs instantly jumped 10%, slashing whole-life costs.

All engines in the new DS 4 emit less than 140g/km of CO2, but most fleet-friendly are the 130hp 1.2-litre petrol and the 120hp 1.6-litre diesel. The former accelerates to 62mph in 9.9 seconds and is subject to 19% BIK, while the latter takes a second longer but experiences 18% BIK. Higher prices make the diesel slightly more expensive in BIK and leasing costs, however.

Trim levels comprise Elegance and Prestige. Both include plenty of kit - with dual-zone climate control, Bluetooth, touchscreen satnav and rear parking sensors - while Prestige adds bigger alloy wheels, xenon headlights, a reversing camera and front sports seats. The jacked-up Crossback is also available, boasting pumped up styling, with raised ride height and black wheels and trim.

In petrol form the DS 4 feels sprightly, and despite pulling hard from low engine speeds, it is also refined and smooth, with a slick gear change. The diesel feels similarly quick on the road and is impressively quiet.
Less impressive are the brakes and roadholding, with the middle pedal needing plenty of pressure to slow the car, while the vague steering makes it hard to judge the level of grip around corners.

The ride isn't as comfortable as it should be, either, with bumps shuddering through the cabin. But once up to speed refinement levels are high.

The interior feels suitably plush, with comfortable seats and a relatively simple layout of controls, although the touchscreen media system looks small, bounded by two thick pillars of plastic. Space in the rear is adequate, but the rear windows don't wind down. The boot, meanwhile, offers more volume than most rivals, although the big lip makes loading unwieldy items tricky.

With sharp looks inside and out and long list of standard kit, the DS 4 is appealing in isolation, but alternatives including the equally stylish Seat Leon, the more upmarket Audi A3 and more fun to drive Mini Clubman Cooper undercut it, making the DS 4 a leftfield choice - particularly considering its firm ride.

DS 4 1.2 PureTech 130 Prestige

Model price range £19,495-£25,495
Residual value 29.5%
Depreciation £14,590
Fuel £5415
Service, maintenance and repair £2033
Vehicle Excise Duty £60
National Insurance £1799
Cost per mile 49.4p
Fuel consumption 54.3mpg
CO2 (BIK band) 120g/km (19%)
BIK 20/40% per month £66/£131
Warranty 3yrs/60,000mls
Boot space (min/max) 385 litres
Engine size/power 1199cc/130hp

Verdict


Bold styling and strong motors, but high whole-life costs and a bumpy ride too
7/10
  • Fresh styling and comfy interior make DS 4 a desirable machine
  • Stiff ride and inflated running costs make rivals a more obvious choice

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