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Trendy DS4 hits SA streets

2011-08-31 15:06

RIDING HIGH: The stylish DS4 arrives in South Africa to add some excitement to the local hatchback segment.

Vehicle Specs
Manufacturer Citroen
Model DS4
Engine 1.6 petrol; 1.6 turbo; 2.0 turbodiesel
Power 88kW at 6000rpm; 147kW at 5800rpm; 120kW at 3750rpm
Torque 160Nm at 4250rpm; 275Nm at 1700rpm; 340Nm at 2000rpm
Transmission five-speed manual; six-speed manual
Zero To Hundred 10.8 seconds; 7.9 seconds; 8.6 seconds
Top Speed 193km/h; 235km/h; 212 km/h
Fuel Consumption 6.2 litres per 100km; 6.4; 5.1
Boot Size 359 to 385 litres
Steering Variable power assisted steering
ABS with EBD, ESP, EBA and traction control
Airbags duel front, side and head airbags
Tyres 215/55 R17 Michelins; 225/45 R18 Michelins; 225/40 R19 Michelins
Service Plan five-year or 100 000km
Warranty three-year or 100 000km

Hailey Philander

I remember the feeling I had when I first drove the DS3. Sure, I was driving on the wrong side of the road, so I should’ve had bigger concerns, but it was exciting stuff all the same. Back home, driving it on familiar roads, I was hooked.

Just more than a year later – again on “foreign” roads in and around Gauteng – I was trying to capture the same cheeky feeling I’d felt with the little hatchback, but I was coming up a little short...

Following the formula established with the DS3, the DS4 is essentially an alternate version of the standard C4 launched recently in South Africa but, in keeping with the DS line’s premium mandate, is a more luxurious offering. It looks a little beefier, too.

The DS4, according to its designers was designed as a “raised four-door coupe”; something a little unusual in the motoring world...


Although building on the basic architecture of the latest C4 hatchback, visually the DS4 was meant to represent the styling of a more traditional two-door coupe, but offer the space and high-riding position of an SUV. In practise, DS4 is more like a high-riding hatchback (in the vein of Nissan’s Qashqai) although Citroen pits it against traditional family hatchbacks such as the Volkwagen Golf and Ford Focus.

MOVING UP: The DS4 is pitched above the standard C4 within the Citroen range.

The design team seems to have captured this perfectly in the DS4’s chunky yet fluid design, with a large glasshouse (accentuated by the large windscreen that can be extended to create an almost-panoramic sunroof effect) to give it a feeling of openness. The concealed door handles made popular by Alfa Romeo are another of the DS4's stand out features.

Controls within the cabin are similar to those seen in the more basic C4 range, although the cabin can be customised with three leather finishes, ranging from black and red or white, to the bespoke Habana leather trim for the seats, dash and additional interior trim. Unfortunately, none of the cars made available at the launch featured the caramel-hued leather, but the two-toned seats on the models available certainly made a statement. The seats are supremely comfortable, too.

At launch, the four-model strong range has a neat blend of petrol and turbodiesel engines, although only mated to either five- or six-speed manual transmissions with no immediate possibility of automatic models for the DS4 range. This could prove cause for concern for some buyers, given the recent keen interest shown by South African drivers towards automatic transmissions, although the manual gearboxes on the range-topping models driven on launch shifted easily and smoothly.


DS4 engines include the naturally aspirated 1.6 VTi 120, the turbocharged 1.6 THP 200 and the 2.0 HDI 160.

Given the altitude at which we were driving and previous experience with the rather lacklustre 88-kW VTi 120 in the smaller C4, Citroen’s decision for journalists to drive only the turbocharged versions was a wise one.

Both engines exhibited a kind of refinement that one has recently come to expect from Citroen and appeared in step with the demands of the DS4’s high-end positioning.

The 1.6 turbo generates 147kW and 275Nm so getting up to speed did not prove problematic – it’s the quickest of the DS4s with a 0 – 100km/h time of 7.9 seconds.


The THP 200 certainly packs a punch (it’s similar to the engine usedin the DS3 Racing), but after roughly 300km of driving, it was the diesel that arguably left the lasting impression.

With 120kW and 340Nm on tap, the perky 2.0-litre turbodiesel made light work of moving the DS4 around suburban and rural settings.

SOMETHING FAMILIAR: The original DS is a design reference to the latest DS line.

It has to be mentioned that further evidence of the DS4’s refinement was made visible in the quiet cabin (with the radio accompaniment set low, only a slight diesel grumble could be heard inside the car), though the DS4 seemingly has little consideration for poor road surfaces. The ride is comfortably soft on smoother tarred surfaces, but it becomes a crashing affair on uneven and pockmarked roads. However, the car’s light and responsive steering made manoeuvring around potholes and switching lanes in town an easy task.

Probably the most appealing for those who appreciate things that “bleep” and “whirr” inside cabins is the high level of specification offered across the range. Citroen’s rarely shy when it comes to outfitting its cars, and the DS4 is no exception. Depending on the level of specification, a parking gap measurement tool and blind spot monitoring system are standard, although even the most basic model (the VTi 120 Style) comes with ABS, EBD, ESP with intelligent traction control, 17-inch wheels, hill start assist, six airbags, and rear parking sensors as standard equipment. Inside the cabin cruise control, aircon and those funky customisable alerts are standard too.

All pretty impressive, although, in terms of cheekiness, the DS3 has this new model beat. It’s not that the DS4 is bland or unexciting; it’s cheeky, but in a more responsible, big brother way. It’s more imposing too, with its styling bolder when compared with the C4. Whether it manages to successfully capture the spirit of the original, trendsetting DS remains to be seen. To sweeten the pot though, there are more DSes to look forward to; a DS5 model (based on the C5 large sedan) will be launched here by the end of 2011, while a DS6 model is also a possibility.
Standard on all DS4s is a five-year or 100 000km service plan and a three-year or 100 000km warranty. Upgrade to the optional, five-year or 100 000km full maintenance plan for R19 650.

More information from Peugeot.

VTi 120 Style  -  R254 900
VTi 120 Style with Sport Pack (including leather interior, 18-inch wheels, front parking sensors, parking space gap measurement tool and blind spot monitoring system  -  R272 900
THP 200 Sport  -  R319 900
HDi 160 Sport  -  R319 900

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