Boasting a more upmarket feel than its Citroen sister brand, DS is targeting prestige manufacturers such as Audi and BMW. But is this rugged Crossback variant of the DS 4 good enough to take on the likes of the A3 Sportback?
The crossover’s styling tweaks make for a promising start. This smart newcomer adds an off-road feel to the regular model thanks to roof bars, chunkier wheelarches, redesigned alloy wheels and a ride height that’s been raised by 30mm.
The Crossback’s softer suspension set-up and attendant enhanced ability off the beaten track are complemented by a subtle boost to on-road behaviour, which is welcome and surprising in equal measure.
The ride over bumps is smoother and more composed than that of the standard DS 4. Unfortunately, it’s still not particularly great, and the car does lean somewhat in corners.
We were more impressed by the performance of our BlueHDi 120’s 118bhp 1.6-litre diesel. Majoring on well judged power delivery at all times rather than outright muscle, the torquey 221lb ft unit works well with the standard-fit manual transmission. Claimed efficiency figures of 72.4mpg and 103g/km of CO2 point to appealing running costs, too.
Inside, it’s pretty much standard DS 4, although the increased ride height gives a better view out through the broad windscreen. Quality is a mixed bag, though, juxtaposing varying material quality. And while the forward compartment is spacious and airy, the rear feels cramped thanks to limited legroom, non-opening windows, a low roof and somewhat awkward accessibility.
There’s only one trim level available, which price-wise puts the Crossback on a level with the crossover class-leading Nissan Qashqai. But while this model does improve on the more conventional DS 4, the changes do not make a big enough difference to compete with the class above or even justify the cost. And that’s a shame.
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