True French flair

2011-09-16 07:30

Citroën South Africa has just lifted the covers off its latest DS model, the DS4. Following a year after the launch of the DS3 and fronting the arrival of the DS5 before year-end, the new DS4 exhibits similar flair and flamboyance in true French style, albeit in a more “grown-up” package.

The car, which is essentially a five-door family hatchback, slots in just above the new C4 range. But don’t think that it is just a C4 with a fancy frock and some extra eyeliner.

This car is bespoke from the ground up, and with a raised body and coupé-like silhouette, Citroën will have you believe it is a crossover style 2+2 Coupé, with SUV connotations.

Whatever they want us to believe, the DS4 sure is a great-looking car. As the original DS of the 1950s was outlandish and funky, so is the DS4 in today’s world of mundane family hatches.

Every body panel has something interesting to offer, with swoops and creases allowing light to dance across the car.

The raised height is pleasantly met by large wheels in original designs and paint schemes, adding to the DS4’s panache.

Then you get to the interior, which is also unique to this Citroën and incredibly well-crafted. Large digital dials sit behind a beautiful steering wheel, and the colour and intensity of the dials can be changed to suit your mood.

Similarly, you can even customise the car’s warning sounds and indicator tick noises – to the point where the “jungle” sounds setting actually gets you bopping your head. The console is also bespoke and features a multitude of buttons and knobs.

And what a surprise it was to find that almost everything is standard. From auto climate control and parking sensors to a panoramic windscreen and even massaging front seats. Sure there are a few options, including directional xenon headlights and satellite navigation, but Citroën has priced the extras so well.

The DS4 range comprises three models, starting with the 1.6 VTi 120 Style, which features a normally aspirated petrol engine mated to a five-speed manual gearbox. Then there are two Sport models – the 1.6 THP 200 and 2.0 HDi 160. Both make use of a slick six-speed manual gearbox.

Perhaps most interesting though is that both Sport models retail for R319 900. Not only is it nice to see that one doesn’t have to pay a premium on the diesel, but at this price both models offer incredible value for money.

Quick stats
Citroen DS4
Engine: 1.6/1.6 turbo/2.0 turbodiesel
Power: 88kW/147kW/120kW
Torque: 160Nm/275Nm/340Nm
Fuel consumption l/100km: 6.2/6.4/5.1
Price: from R254 900 to R319 900

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