Moving around the car you begin to see points of difference, but you’re left wondering if the cumulative aesthetic effect is quite special enough. Bespoke design points are present, especially around the rear flanks, but they’re difficult to spot.
There’s a little bit more uniqueness inside the car. The pleated ‘habana’ brown leather and patterned console and door-handle trims in our initial test car looked rich and expensive, and were reminiscent in part (not least thanks to the distinctive colour) of the Infiniti EX37, which is praise indeed.
An extra-long windscreen extends backwards over the driver’s head, removing the header rail from limiting your forward visibility, and there are various interior lighting flourishes such as a strip of LEDs along the base of the windscreen, and instruments whose backlight colour you can change at your whim.
The DS 4’s driving position is improved by the car’s higher-than-normal driver’s seat, but don’t expect SUV-like practicality elsewhere. The rear seats offer limited knee and headroom, and there’s no more boot space than in a regular hatch.
As for trims there is five trims - Elegance, Performance Line, Prestige, Crossback and Crossback Terre Rouge. Entry-level models come equipped with 17in alloy wheels, automatic lights and wipers, electrically heated and folding mirrors, panoramic windscreen and rear parking sensors as standard on the outside, while inside there is dual-zone climate control, height adjustable front seats and Citroën's 7.0in touchscreen infotainment system complete with sat nav, DAB radio, USB connectivity and smartphone integration.
Upgrade to Performance Line and the DS 4 gains 18in alloy wheels, aluminium pedals and front sports seats with massage function, while opting for a Prestige model gets you LED headlights and foglights, keyless entry and start, a reversing camera, front parking sensors, a leather upholstery and a blindspot monitoring system.
The more rugged DS 4 Crossback gets aluminium roof bars, gloss black exterior details and a raised ride height, while the Terre Rouge includes 18in alloy wheels, a leather upholstery, parking sensors, a reverse-dipping mirror and a bespoke orange paintjob.
So does the driving experience make more sense? Well, unlike the cabin fittings, it’s a far cry from the one you’ll find in a standard C4. In pursuit of more driver involvement, Citroën has substituted the regular car’s electric power steering system for an electro-hydraulic system, which is quicker and much heavier.
Making a higher-riding car with a more dynamic drive wasn’t an easy brief, and it will surprise few that Citroën has had limited success. The DS 4 has decent body control and a low-frequency lope to its primary ride quality over longer wave crests and undulations that makes it pretty comfortable over smooth surfaces. It is at least a fairly comfortable cruiser, only blighted by some oddly-placed seat controls.
Performance is as strong as you’d want it to be, at least with the 197bhp engine of our test car, and gearshift quality is good. Our experience of the DS 4 equipped with the 161bhp 2.0-litre diesel proved mostly positive. It's an extremely refined unit for starters, which offers excellent cruising potential.
There are the obvious economy benefits to having the diesel, with Citroën claiming 55.4mpg. But the HDI engine has a frustratingly narrow powerband; all of its 251lb ft seems to arrive in an instant which can make for awkward progress when combined with the long ratios of the six-speed gearbox.