To begin with, launching DS as a separate brand seemed to mostly involve prising Citroen badges off existing models. One such car was the DS 4, a relative to the less swanky C4 with highlights including oddly firm suspension and rear windows that were fixed in place because of the weird-shaped doors.
Now, there’s a brand new version, and if you’ll forgive us for the oh-so predictable use of the French language while talking about a French car, vive la difference!
It’s a much more angular beast than the frumpy old DS 4, with design highlights including giant L-shaped daytime running lights and a “three-dimensional” grille with a diamond-tipped finish. There’s a little too much going on down the car’s flanks, but overall, it’s a great look. And yes, the rear windows open this time.
The car sits on the new EMP2 platform as the DS 7 Crossback and Peugeot 3008 and is available with a range of three and four-cylinder powertrains. The most powerful is a plug-in hybrid, featuring a 1.6-litre inline-four petrol engine and an electric motor giving a combined 223bhp and a ‘leccy-only range of up to 31 miles.
There’s also the option of that same engine sans the electric stuff, giving a healthy output of 178bhp, or an inline-three turbo petrol with 129bhp. For anyone wanting a diesel, there’s a 128bhp Blue HDI version.
Unlike the old one, the new DS 4 looks like a real premium car on the inside. Neat touches include hidden dashboard air vents and electric window switches that line up with the rather more conspicuous vents on the doors.
DS has made a big deal about helping keep the driver’s eyes on the road with its new head-up display, although its insistence of ridding the cabin of physical buttons seems at odds with this. A few remain, but frustratingly, you’ll need to fiddle with a five-inch touchscreen if you want to change climate settings.