From £23,3555
The DS 4 gains a high-riding brother in the shape of the Crossback. With a promised softer ride, it could be the pick of the range.

What is it?

It's the third car from the newly formed DS Automobiles (a Citroën spin-off). Like the DS 4, the Crossback gets the new corporate grille, new tech and a few mechanical revisions.

The difference here is that it rides 30mm higher than the regular model, gains roof rails, black wheels and wheelarch extensions to appeal to the ‘urban adventurer’.

Crucially, the Crossback has softer spring rates, something the regular DS 4 has been crying out for. There are also new and revised engines, although the Crossback gets only the lower-power petrol and diesels plus the most powerful 178bhp diesel, tested here. This motor is available exclusively with a six-speed torque converter auto.

What's it like?

It takes only a few hundred yards to appreciate that the revised suspension makes the DS 4 Crossback a much more enjoyable companion. While the ride still never settles fully, the edge is now taken off the worst bumps.

You’d never call it properly comfortable but you won’t be wincing every time you hit a pothole or expansion joint. The Crossback is also less affected by mid-corner bumps that can knock the DS 4 off line. There is more body roll but this is still perfectly acceptable.

The engine also proves strong – a little too strong at times. In damp conditions the traction control light flashes persistently when accelerating from low speed, and you feel the steering wheel squirming in your hands. Once rolling, though, the engine feels every bit as potent as the 8.6-second 0-62mph time suggests.

Although the engine is flexible, the automatic gearbox is far too eager to kick-down one or more cogs even under fairly small throttle openings. To make matters worse, the gearshifts are far jerkier than you’d hope from a traditional automatic.

At least there’s no great penalty in opting for this engine and gearbox combination. With claimed average economy of 64.2mpg and CO2 emissions of 115g/km, this engine is cleaner and more efficient than the base petrol and not far off the smallest diesel.

Inside, the cabin is identical to the standard DS 4's. That means there’s a mixture of pleasing soft-touch plastics and attractive flashes of patterned trim surrounded by hard, scratchy plastic. It wouldn’t be too bad if the cheaper stuff was out of reach but there’s too much in places you’ll touch regularly.

Although there are five doors, the rears are not only small but an odd shape, too. This makes getting in and out tricky at best. That is assuming you’ll even fit behind the front seats; with a six-footer up front, leg room is shockingly tight. Head room isn’t great either.

There’s only one trim level for Crossbacks (effectively Prestige trim on normal DS 4s) and it’s pretty generous. Standard equipment includes a touchscreen infotainment system with sat-nav and a DAB radio, keyless entry, part leather seats and dual-zone climate control.

You can also personalise your DS 4; there are four different roof colours to make a total of 38 colour combinations. You can even opt for semi-aniline ‘watchstrap’ style leather seats with a massage function.

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Should I buy one?

The Crossback is undoubtedly the DS 4 to go for. The ride still isn't perfect but it is at least bearable now - just make sure you avoid the 19in wheels.

This particular diesel engine, however, doesn't feel like it belongs in the Crossback, while the auto ’box simply isn't refined enough.

The smaller diesel with the manual gearbox is more than adequate and around £3000 cheaper. That money would be better spent on the luxurious leather seats, stereo upgrade and a funky paintjob. Better still, buy an Audi A3 Sportback.

Location Newbury, Berkshire; On sale Now; Price £26,495; Engine 4 cyls inline, 1997cc, turbocharged, diesel; Power 178bhp at 3750rpm; Torque 295Ib ft at 2000rpm; Kerb weight 1340kg; Gearbox 6-spd automatic; 0-62mph 8.6s; Top speed 135mph; Economy 64.2mpg (combined); CO2/tax band 115g/km, 21%

Join the debate

Add a comment…
Jeremy 23 November 2015

Engine too strong?!?

Autocar: "The traction control light flashes persistently when accelerating from low speed". Most cars will do this if the driver simply floors the accelerator - a little bit off finesse is required when driving cars - it's part of the technique, don't you know?
superstevie 21 November 2015

Drive the deal take that

Drive the deal take that price down to 20k, which is probably a lot more appealing.
Daniel Joseph 20 November 2015

Pick of the range...

...and still only 2 1/2 stars. What on Earth is an "urban adventurer". Presumably, someone who's not afraid of tackling speed humps, or high kerbs in their Waitrose car park. Didn't Ford trot out some similar nonsense when they launched the Fusion "urban activity vehicle", a car that appealed to the OAP demographic for its high(er) seating position, and precisely nobody else? What's going on with the interior? The colour of the leather on the seats and gear lever gaitor is completely at odds with the hard grey plastic elsewhere. So, £26.5k for a cramped, still poorly riding hatchback...they're having a laugh! Imagine what else you could get for that money. I suppose you would be buying exclusivity: if I had a pound for every DS4 I've seen on the road since its launch, I'd have...well, a pound actually (although it might have been a C4).