Revised DS 4 hatch has been joined by a new Crossback variant and a line-up of refreshed engines
15 September 2015

PSA Peugeot Citroën’s DS brand has given the DS 4 a major makeover. The model gains a freshly styled nose, new headlights with xenon and LED technology, a freshened engine line-up and more paint and trim options.

In addition, DS has created two models out of one. In place of the original single variant, there’s now a choice of two distinct versions: the standard-issue five-door hatchback, which has a normal ride height; and the new Crossback, which rides 30mm higher and has more rugged styling, including larger wheels, cosmetic skidplates and roof bars.

Both versions of the new 4 will be front-wheel drive only and the engine range is made up of three turbocharged petrol engines and three diesel motors. A six-speed manual gearbox and a six-speed torque-converter automatic are the two transmission options.

In the UK, the Crossback will be available with one trim level and a choice of two engines.

Blog: Is DS heading in the right direction?

Eric Apode, vice president for products and business development at DS, said the new 4 line-up is intended to compete with “established premium C-segment cars such as the Audi A3, BMW 1 Series and Volvo V40”.

Apode added that crossovers based on premium C-segment cars were now accounting for 30% of sales, with the traditional hatchbacks dropping from 50 to 40% of sales. This market shift was the inspiration behind the decision to build the Crossback, he said.

As well as getting the new DS family face, more exterior chrome trim and significantly improved headlights, the new 4 gets a new 7.0in colour touchscreen, which allows “two-thirds of the dashboard switches” to be removed.

Options include CarPlay for compatibility with iPhones, mirroring for Apple and Android mobile phones as well as the ‘DS Connect’ system, blind spot warning, keyless entry, a reversing camera, massage seats and an upmarket Denon hi-fi.

The 4 also now has the option of four roof colours and nine body colours, which adds up to 38 different combinations. Nappa leather door panels and semi-aniline leather trim are again optional. Both versions get a ‘wrap-over’ windscreen as standard.

For the hatch, the entry-level engine is the 119g/km turbocharged petrol Pure Tech 130 S&S unit, which offers 128bhp and 170lb ft from 1750rpm and is hooked up to the manual ’box.

The 130g/km THP 165 petrol engine has 177lb ft from 1400rpm. Top of the petrol range is the 138g/km THP 210 variant.There are three diesels, all tagged Blue HDi. They come in 120 (100g/km), 150 (103g/km) and 180 (115g/km) guises. The 180 unit delivers 295lb ft of torque and comes with the auto gearbox as standard.

In the UK, the Crossback will be offered with only the Pure Tech 130 engine and manual ’box or the Blue HDi 120 with either the manual or auto.

The new 4 made its debut at the 2015 Frankfurt motor show. Prices will start at £19,500 for the entry-level Pure Tech 130 manual model, rising to around £25,500 for the range-topping Blue HDi 180. The new 4 goes on sale in the UK from November.

The company says it has sold 115,000 DS 4s since the car was launched in 2011. That makes up around 20% of all DS models sold since the brand was introduced with the DS 3 hatchback in 2009.

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Our Verdict

DS4

The DS 4 is a high-riding hatchback, but for all its maker's claims to the contrary, its too much like the standard C4

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Comments
17

31 August 2015
The front end styling lacks some of the character of the pre-facelift model. Imposing a family grill during a mid life refresh rather than on an all new design rarely works well. That said, the engine line up looks strong - the 130 Puretech engine is well regarded - and if they can sort the ride, this may on balance be a successful update.

31 August 2015
Not liking this new corporate grille. Just about passes muster on the DS5 but looks just like an afterthought on the DS4. Wisely they haven't grafted it on to the DS3. Perhaps it will look better on the next generation models.

31 August 2015
PSA are developing their badges but not their cars. "DS" confirms that "Citroen" can't command a decent premium; the name is effectively dead. Years spent aggressively discounting their awful cars is to blame. But changing the badge is a hoary old ruse which the public are wise to. In the death-throes of Austin Rover, the Metro had its badge "developed" no fewer than six times, as each BL brand became too toxic for public consumption. But not even Alan Partridge was taken in.

31 August 2015
Norma Smellons wrote:

PSA are developing their badges but not their cars. "DS" confirms that "Citroen" can't command a decent premium; the name is effectively dead. Years spent aggressively discounting their awful cars is to blame. But changing the badge is a hoary old ruse which the public are wise to. In the death-throes of Austin Rover, the Metro had its badge "developed" no fewer than six times, as each BL brand became too toxic for public consumption. But not even Alan Partridge was taken in.

I think it's all in your mind that the DS situation is anywhere near related to the Austin Rover situation. The whole point of DS is that it's premium where Citroen just isn't.


"Work hard and be nice to people"

31 August 2015
Mini2 wrote:

The whole point of DS is that it's premium where Citroen just isn't.

Your certainly right about Citroen but, with all due respect, I think the market, rather than PSA's PR department, will ultimately decide whether DS is a premium brand, that is, one that can command higher prices than mainstream models in the same segment. Moreover, I think it will take more than just upmarket interior surface finishes to achieve this.

31 August 2015
You very clearly don't understand what the comment is about. But then, this isn't the first time, is it? By way of example, I give the following exchange from May 22nd (re the DS5) again highlighting the parallels between DS, Citroen and the late Rover Group.
Norma Smellons wrote:

Raising the ride height - a hoary old trick last deployed by Rover in 1996 to address the iffy ride of the 800. Obviously the wheel travel of this car is seriously inadequate, too. There are many further parallels with the Rover. Both are products from ailing European manufacturers, glory days long gone. Both are tilted at the exec market. Both go against the market's "sportiness" grain. Both have had miniscule volumes. One would be able to say "both failed" but never underestimate the enduring desire of the French state to keep people making cars nobody wants.

Mini2 wrote:

You don't know what you're talking about. I wouldn't describe this car's volumes as "miniscule". It's the second-best selling DS model after the DS3. Citroen aren't chasing volume. Not everything's about flamin' volume. Citroen's glory days aren't long gone. Several of their current cars are current award winners - I'd say they're basking in the glory. You don't want this car, but that doesn't mean your opinion is what everyone else thinks. Get back on the misery bus.

then, on May 24th 2015, I replied:

Norma Smellons wrote:

Miniscule volumes - in Europe, Citroen sold just 12,000 of these things in 2014. That's roughly what Mercedes were selling of the *old* C Class, every month. Meanwhile, in China, annual DS5 sales are at a whopping 8,053. In March, they sold just eight DS5 models in the world's biggest car market. Furthermore, PSA Group (Citroen's owner) have lost over $4 billion per year during the past three years. "Basking in the glory" indeed. To quote your own words "you don't know what you're talking about." Nor is there much evidence of "working hard" or "being nice to people" in your comments I might add.

then...

Mini2 wrote:

...nothing

31 August 2015
Ignoring the Metro / Rover 100 for a moment, I think the history of the Rover Group is interesting in that the company was, at least for a period in the 1990's, successful in selling cars that were perceived as "semi-premium" but not overtly sporting: the R8 series Rover 200 and 400 models, although (or perhaps because?) they were based on Honda platforms and engineering, sold very well and were regarded as a cut above the contemporary Ford and Vauxhall competition. Unfortunately, their replacements singularly failed to build on this success. It was ironic that Rover collapsed after producing the 75, one of the best engineered and highest quality cars in the company's history, which also demonstrated the viability of an offering that emphasised comfort and refinement over a "sporting" drive. Regarding the Metro, it was, of course, folly to take an already outdated model and try to "Roverise" it. Rover management appeared to know this too: if I recall correctly, they dropped the Austin badge in 1987 and marketed the Metro without a marque name for three years before rebranding it as a Rover. Are there any lessons to be learned by PSA from all of this regarding DS? Maybe a couple: define your brand values precisely and make sure your cars exemplify these values. Be patient and consistent: it will take years to establish The brand clearly in the mind of the customer and, in these early years the infant brand can easily be wounded, perhaps fatally, by expediently launching models that undermine the brand values. All of which brings me back to the question I posed in an earlier post: what does DS stand for? Given that the brand's biggest selling model is the DS3, a "warm" hatchback, I have no clear idea and I think the market will share my confusion.

1 September 2015
Daniel Joseph wrote:

the company was, at least for a period in the 1990's, successful in selling cars that were perceived as "semi-premium"

Yes there was a brief moment when things looked up, wasn't there? Probably around 1993 and the well-received 600. In reality, the 600 was a re-skinned Honda with low margins, greedy pricing and low sales. This reflected Rover's "premium" strategy; Rover managers frequently declared that volume was unimportant versus unit profit. This may be true if you are Ferrari but not if you're selling Mini Metros. Today, DS managers frequently spout the same delusional nonsense.

Daniel Joseph wrote:

Unfortunately, their replacements singularly failed to build on this success

Well, there were no replacements, were there? For reasons mentioned above, the volumes were nowhere near the level required for platform investment.

Daniel Joseph wrote:

define your brand values precisely and make sure your cars exemplify these values. Be patient and consistent: it will take years to establish The brand clearly in the mind of the customer

Well, yeah. That's it. The precise opposite of what Citroen have done. DS doesn't mean anything in particular, except maybe "boring-car-plus-chrome-and-leather". I can't imagine PSA have actively copied Rover's example as who would be that stupid? But you never know.

1 September 2015
Norma Smellons wrote:

Well, there were no replacements, were there? For reasons mentioned above, the volumes were nowhere near the level required for platform investment.

Actually, the R8 generation cars were replaced in 1995 by the R3 200/25 and the HH-R 400/45. The former was developed by Rover and wasn't a bad car, but it was positioned against the Escort and Astra and priced accordingly, when it was actually a just slightly larger supermini. The latter was a major disappointment, being little more than a Honda Civic with a Rover grille and nowhere near the perceived quality of the classy R8. It was also pitched against the Mondeo and Vectra, both of which were much larger cars. Rover did lack the funds to develop proper successors, being hamstrung by low profitability and expensive licencing and royalty payments to Honda. The company, through necessity, persevered with these models right to the bitter end and did make the best of them in the MG Rover era with the MG ZR and ZS derivatives but, as you rightly said, there was never the money to develop competitive successors. The tragedy is that, given the money, Rover was capable of designing and engineering competitive cars, as demonstrated by the 75. With hindsight, BMW's money might have been better spent on a C-segment hatch / estate, but I guess they went for what they thought would be a more profitable, if lower volume car instead.

2 September 2015
Daniel Joseph wrote:

Actually, the R8 generation cars were replaced in 1995 by the R3 200/25 and the HH-R 400/45

Sorry I was referring to those models and their intended replacement, the stillborn RDX60. But yes, the 200 wasn't a bad old thing, was it? Even if it was little more than a reheated Maestro underneath. I remember a nice-looking Coupe and a cabriolet with blancmange-like rigidity as Rover added no reinforcement whatsoever to the body; they couldn't afford to. You're absolutely right about Rover's suicidal marketing tricks around that time - charge people more for a smaller car simply because it's a Rover. What a rip-roaring success that was. Rover frankly took Joe Public for a fool and got what was coming.

Daniel Joseph wrote:

The tragedy is that, given the money, Rover was capable of designing and engineering competitive cars, as demonstrated by the 75.

You know, I'm not so sure about that, as the 75 was indeed a fine design but one which was very much out of time. It literally had no sense of what the market was up to in 1998. BMW are partially to blame here as they ensured the 75 did not overlap by one micron with the E46, lest it steal sales. They need not have worried on that front. However, they did donate the E39 platform to the project, still a fine basis for any car, and probably still in production somewhere in China. Then they watched Rover make a complete hash of things. By 1997, planeloads of "turn-around" teams were arriving from Munich to save the project. And then the stark realisation dawned on the Germans that Rover had turned out the automotive equivalent of The People's Friend.

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