Citroen DS4 vs rivals

Citroen DS4, Volkswagen Golf and Nissan Qashqai
Credits: Matt Vosper
22 Jul, 2011 5:56pm

Citroen’s new DS4 is an alternative choice, targeting family cars and crossovers. So we test it against the best of both...

Bold design can work wonders for a car… just ask Citroen. By taking the underpinnings of the C3, and adding spicy handling and a sharp new suit, it came up with a smash hit in the DS3 supermini. Now, the maker is aiming to replicate this success in the compact family car sector with the next DS model to hit showrooms.

The DS4 blends the space of a family car with the styling of a coupé and the jacked-up ride height of a crossover. It’s an odd mix, and makes picking direct rivals a tricky task. The French machine is effectively aiming to steal sales from a variety of sectors – and we’ve lined up two established competitors to test the mettle of the flagship 2.0-litre HDi DStyle.

Video: watch CarBuyer's video review of the Citroen DS4


First, it faces the best model in the compact family sector, and one of the most complete cars money can buy: the Volkswagen Golf. The desirable 2.0-litre TDI GT version looks good, promises impressive fuel economy and has a £900 price advantage over its Citroen rival.

The second car waiting to give the Citroen a run for its money is the Nissan Qashqai. It introduced families to the concept of crossover models, and is the best seller in its class, with 39,048 finding homes last year. Here, we test the 2.0-litre dCi n-tec, which weighs in at £255 less than the DS4.

DS4 vs Golf

1. Volkswagen Golf
Still the car all family models have to beat. The classy Golf has no flaws. It’s practical, superb to drive and affordable to run.

2. Citroen DS4
We're not convinced by the Citroen’s styling. Its high price, cramped rear and peaky engine are more obvious drawbacks.

DS4 vs Qashqai

1. Nissan Qashqai
The Qashqai was penned as an alternative to a family car, and it shows. Its looks and visibility come with few compromises.

2. Citroen DS4
First for style here, but the DS4 is a poor second for practicality. It makes more financial sense to company drivers than the Nissan.

Verdict

After the storming success of the DS3 supermini, we were keen to see what the Citroen DS4 held in store. In trying to combine the best of coupé, hatchback and crossover worlds, the newcomer has a tough brief. The bad news for bosses is that it fails to deliver. It doesn’t provide enough rear space to work as small 
family car, and this lack of versatility and space affects its abilities as a crossover, too. As an alternative to the C4, the DS4 offers clear benefits – it’s more stylish and engaging to drive than its regular five-door stablemate. But the sacrifices it demands of family buyers are too great, plus it’s not cheap. In reality, it’s more of a rival to three-door family cars than these contenders. We’re not sure why Citroen didn’t throw all its efforts into one standalone model. Then, perhaps, it may have produced a truly groundbreaking machine. As it stands, it has two cars that both fail to beat the big hitters in their respective classes. Although the firm deserves credit for trying something different, the DS4’s shortcomings give it niche appeal.

Disqus - noscript

Sorry A.E., but you've missed the point by a mile. The DS4 will attract the increasing number of people who have got bored by the Eurobox - a less than dark art practiced by the German manufacturers and VAG in particular.

The DS4 was never designed to be practical first and foremost, but it certainlty looks as if it was designed to put a smile on peoples faces and induce a feelgood factor - something it has done with aplomb!

As for it being more expensive than the Golf then try getting over to www.applewoodfinance.co.uk and check out the leasing rates ... I think you'll find that it is very competitively priced indeed.

Hats off to Citroen and the French manufacturers in general. They seem to have rediscovered their sense of style and added some decent build quality into the mix too.

Sorry A.E., but you've missed the point by a mile. The DS4 will attract the increasing number of people who have got bored by the Eurobox - a less than dark art practiced by the German manufacturers and VAG in particular.

The DS4 was never designed to be practical first and foremost, but it certainlty looks as if it was designed to put a smile on peoples faces and induce a feelgood factor - something it has done with aplomb!

As for it being more expensive than the Golf then try getting over to www.applewoodfinance.co.uk and check out the leasing rates ... I think you'll find that it is very competitively priced indeed.

Hats off to Citroen and the French manufacturers in general. They seem to have rediscovered their sense of style and added some decent build quality into the mix too.

What's was AE thinking? Hundreds of thousand of eyeballs pick up this silly 'test' and will be influenced, whether they are aware of it or not.

A niche model with flair and purpose versus two top ten models whose role in the automotive world is to provide 'bulk transportation'?? Insane.

If AE feels the urge to slam a Citroen against the 'mighty' Golf (btw, just had the third costly repair on our 2 year old Golf) compare the ..... C4. Not that the verdict would be any different but at least Citroen wouldn't be 'disgraced' by naieve AE staff.

"In reality, it’s more of a rival to three-door family cars than these contenders."
...So then, why did you pitch it against these cars rather than the 3-door ones it's more of a rival to?

Sorry AE you have missed the point of this car, its not to compete with any particular sector, its to return Citroen to its past of creating cars different from the heard, I saw one parked in Spain a couple of weeks ago, it turned heads, Golfs dont anymore, good on you Citroen, and the DS5 looks even bolder

Why is AE up the rear end of the VAG group. Everytime I read an article you cannot help yourselves mentioning VW's Audi's Skoda's and Seats. The DS4 in my opinion is better than both the Golf boring boring same old and Nissan Quasimodo wierd looking thing. Citroen are bathed in history for producing cars a little different to others and thats how I see the DS4. Its beautiful on the outside and inside and different from the rest. The DS3 is better than the Audi A1 in every respect but you guys always see favour with a VAG product. Why is AE so anti everything French. Why is the Golf GTI the best hot hatch. You mention the Focus RS but leave out the real champion the Renaultsport Megane. Prove me wrong, try writing an article without including a VAG product

I'm not sure about the UK, but in Ireland there is a quiet uprising against VAG because they are just so terrible beyond 50k miles / 3 years, that now people cant afford to be handing over piles of dosh to repair them... These people are like sheep, they read the biased articles in the likes of these magazines instead of asking mechanics, people who actually know what cars are like, and base their purchase decision on it. Then in about 3 years time when they start to go major and expensively wrong, they curse that decision.

One more point to make is, when AE write an article on past models like golfs or fabia's, you can always find fault with them then and realize the competition was miles ahead... The best case of this is with almost all the golf gti's. the second a new one comes out AE says its much better than the old one bacause the old one was cramped noisey, understeered, had bad brakes, not that fast etc, and in hindsight was not that good.

Please just write an original, unbiased article, without reading what other journalists think of a car first and going along with them almost word for word, as i'm sure your paid to do, not just copy and paste.

AEX 1330
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