DS 4 Crossback 2015-2018

The recent past has not been particularly rosy for Citroën and its parent company, PSA.

Only in 2015, Europe’s second-largest car maker had to be bailed out of dire financial straits by the French government and its Chinese partner, Dongfeng Motors.

The first modern-day DS, the 3, was well received but other DS cars haven’t been

Tepid demand in Europe for new cars was blamed, although the group’s equally tepid product line-up could be rightfully identified as doing it no favours.

One remedy to the patent lack of elan was the formation of DS Automobiles, a large-scale rebranding exercise intended to inject some Parisian-style flair.

The exercise kicked off in 2009 with the very well-received DS 3 supermini and continued with the very good-looking (albeit slightly less well-received) DS 5 crossover.

In between the two, in 2010, we got the first DS 4. Based on the Citroën C4, it provided the DS project with the family-sized hatchback normally required to generate sustainable volume in Europe.

Despite its utterly conventional platform, Citroën insisted the car wasn’t conventional at all and described it as a hybrid of a saloon, a coupé and a compact 4x4 – in other words, just the kind of avant-garde amalgamation it had conceived the DS badge to deliver in the first place.

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Unfortunately, the most unorthodox thing about the 4 was the decision to nail the rear windows shut. Otherwise, it was a modestly raised C4 under a modestly prettier body.

The imprudence of Citroën’s attempt to sell this variant as more ‘sporting’ than its lower-to-the-ground sibling is reflected in the decision to split its facelifted replacement into two entities: the 4 (a standard hatch) and this, the 4 Crossback, a higher-riding variant for those interested in ‘urban adventure’.

That niche, you’ll hardly need reminding, is spoilt for choice, with a multitude of compact crossovers jostling for attention. We tested the 1.6-litre BlueHDi 120 to discover the 4 Crossback’s proper place among them.

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