Focus on the Citroen DS4

There is only one car we felt it necessary to focus on this week in our in depth look at the cars making the headlines.

Order books for the Citroen DS4 opened today for UK buyers, signalling the official launch of one of the most intriguing cars to come out of France in recent years.

You probably already know the background of the ‘DS Line’ of cars in the Citroen range. Based on ‘DS’ models of the past, the name was revived by Citroen spectacularly last year with the Citroen DS3 supermini.

The aim of the line is to offer more upmarket cars based on Citroen’s road cars (e.g. the DS3 is loosely based on the C3) but with higher quality materials, more equipment and above all else, more desirability and style.

However, while the DS4 is roughly the same size as the Citroen C4, it is something completely new in the market.

The design of the car is unique; it is essentially a hatchback capable of seating five, with five doors and a decent size boot. However, it also crosses over into coupe territory with a low, sloping roofline to give it a sportier feel.

Then there are the SUV-inspired touches such as the raised ride height – the model is based on a ‘High Rider’ concept and in this case the name can be taken literally.

It sounds like it should make a confusing car, but the Citroen DS4 makes sense. The DS Line is slowly bringing the French car maker to the fore in the UK, and a reputation for fashionable, high quality cars with a touch of individuality is steadily gathering pace.

The only downside is the inability to open the rear windows because of the attractive shape of the DS4 – a small thing considering the benefits of the unique new hatchback.

Citroen uses the tagline ‘Why conform?’ for its newest DS model, and it is easy to see why with the Citroen DS4.

But should you choose the Citroen DS4 over more conventional models in its category? After all, it is going up against higher-spec models in the Ford Focus range as well as the stylish new Alfa Romeo Giulietta.

Why should I buy a Citroen DS4?

We’ve talked about how the Citroen DS4’s design, and this all pulls together into a very good looking car. So much so, in fact, that it was voted Most Beautiful Car 2011 ahead of the more commonly acknowledged sports cars and supercars.

Inside, the car is on a different level to the new Citroen C4 – itself an accomplished interior – with aluminium highlights, high quality plastics and some upmarket upholstery all giving it a more executive feel.

But the benefits don’t just end with the cosmetics. Under the bonnet, Citroen has made great strides with its engine technology in recent years and the range of frugal petrol and diesel units make an appearance in the DS4.

This includes a diesel capable of delivering 114g/km of CO2 emissions, which is enough to qualify for free VED for the first year and just £30 thereafter.

This is helped by the use of e-HDI technology as seen on Citroen’s sister brand, Peugeot, and the 508 saloon.

The ‘e’ stands for an electronic booster that helps to make the start-stop technology more efficient and cut fuel consumption by up to 15 per cent.

On top of the environmental benefits, the car also has a five-star safety rating and on the road is composed and refined, with no noticeable understeer or body roll around corners.

What are the Citroen DS4 prices?

Prices for the upmarket hatchback start from £18,150 for entry-level DSign specification with a 120 VTi petrol engine. Two other trim levels, DStyle and DSport, take the price of £20,000 but add plenty of engine, gearbox and equipment options to the standard trim.