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.