Crossover appeal has escaped no part of the automotive industry, let alone French manufacturers, who offer a plethora of choices across the PSA range. From the rather tidy and well thought out Peugeot 2008, to this, the beefier, chunkier version of the hatchback DS4, the DS4 Crossback. Here’s my full writeup of the time I spent with the car.
The first thing that strikes you about the Crossback is that curved roofline. Even if you hate it, it is safe to say that it’s unique and actually quite appealing if you’re going for something a little different in this sector. It certainly looks more at home lower down, in conventional hatchback format, where it belongs, almost, but there is something rather novel about it. In the same way as the 2008, the DS4 Crossback appears ungainly, but it does grow on you.
Like the modifications and updated corporate image given to the DS3, this edition of the DS4 brings the raised Crossback in line with the new company image. Don’t mention Citroen – DS are at it alone and it’s no bad thing – despite the brand having to do a lot to prove itself in its new arena.
As prove itself is what the DS4 Crossback tries to do at every turn. Black wheels, roof rails, pretty hefty plastic wheelarch extensions – there is a plethora of urban boltons to this car that leaves nothing to the imagination. The car doesn’t suffer for it, and when it comes to ride and handling it certainly improves matters, being softer and more forgiving through the bumps. The car’s design and style lends itself to how well it copes over the bumps, and it makes a pretty good effort of being the adventurer the press kit sets it out to be.
The car’s steering is heavy – in fact far too heavy at slow speeds and it surprisingly makes it feel like a far heavier car than it actually is. At speed, it’s light and loose but without much control, leaving you guessing a little bit, but I doubt this car will be bought by those who want to soak up the motorway miles. The BlueHDi diesel in the test car is as you’d expect from the crossover, and it has plenty of punch, albeit delivered in big lumps rather than smoothly across the range. It’s still enough to be pleasantly surprised by though, and I pretty much replicated the excellent mpg figures too…nearly 70mpg on a motorway trip.
Inside, the DS4 Crossback is a little confusing. There is no more plastic here than you’d expect, but something about it feels like it has been built a few years too late. The infotainment system is perfectly acceptable, as is all of it really, but it feels a little more style over substance or practicality. The headroom isn’t great though and it feels a little enclosed and cramped inside, and there is no way of opening the back windows, which is more than a bit of a disappointment in car like this really. The rear screen is small and visibility isn’t good either, which adds to the slight feeling of claustrophobia.
The DS4 Crossback still feels like an avant-garde choice in the sector, that you’d make if you wanted to make a point of being different. That’s no bad thing, but you would have to be searching quite a long time to find areas where it’s significantly better than its rivals. There is no doubt though that it is a step up from the DS4 and that it has benefited from an increase in ride height and a softer, more supportive ride. A more confident, premium interior would have helped, as would have a more refined driving and handling experience. The DS4 Crossback is not a bad car at all and does help improve the brand’s status in the sector, but I can think of a few cars I would rather be in for less money.