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Car group tests

DS 4 Crossback vs Audi Q3 vs Volvo V40 Cross Country

As the new jacked-up DS 4 Crossback enters the upmarket crossover class, we see how it fares against Audi and Volvo

Since its split from Citroen, the newly established DS brand is gunning for a different type of customer. Citroen will go after the everyday, value-focused market, while DS now caters for those after a little more luxury - and this, the DS 4 Crossback, plays a big part in the upmarket brand's future strategy.

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As crossover sales are still booming, the DS 4 hatch has been given a sharp makeover to create the Crossback. Entering this territory means it has to face some very strong competition.

Best SUVs and 4x4s to buy

Earlier this year, the newly updated Audi Q3 took on the popular Range Rover Evoque, and won, so the Crossback has a fight on its hands against even this entry-level Q3 2.0 TDI SE model.

The Volvo V40 Cross Country shares the DS 4's recipe, and with practicality and efficiency to rival the competition, also stakes a good claim for victory in this middle-ground crossover battle.

Head to head

Crossover battle

Although the DS and Volvo both boast raised ride heights and extra body protection, the Q3 is the car that conforms closest to the crossover template.

However, the Crossback and Cross Country both do enough to justify the term 'crossover', bringing something extra to the table over the standard five-doors on which they're based.

Off-road ability

If you intend to hit even some light trails in these test cars, you might want to think twice. The DS doesn't offer four-wheel drive, and the set-up's available only on the top-spec turbo petrol Volvo.

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Audi's quattro four-wheel drive is available with all engines except the 1.4 TFSI.

Missed chance

DS had a real opportunity to improve on the old DS 4 with this new model, by addressing annoying quirks such as the fixed rear windows. In a family five-door, this hurts usability and could be the deciding factor for many buyers.

Verdict

First place: Audi Q3

The Q3 is a proper crossover the delivers quality, performance and style, even in entry-level SE guise, so it takes victory once more. Those qualities might come at a price compared to its rivals, but we think it's worth it. While the Audi is compact, the cabin is the most spacious here, blending practicality with an impressive driving experience, and relatively low running costs.

Second place: Volvo V40 Cross Country

The V40 is starting to show its age when it comes to interior design, but the V40 Cross Country's blend of safety, low CO2 emissions and effortless driving is still attractive. The composed ride and solid handling deliver lots of security, while it's versatile enough if you'll be carrying passengers and luggage. The design additions over the standard V40 set it apart just enough, too.

Third place: DS 4 Crossback

It's certainly stylish, but the DS 4 Crossback doesn't have the substance to match its looks. It might be cheaper than its rivals, but the smaller engine doesn't offer performance to match the Q3 or V40, while it's no more economical, either. Family crossovers also have to be practical, and the cramped interior, plus those annoying rear windows, are too big an issue to overlook.

Other options for similar money...

New: Infiniti Q30 SE 1.5d

Infiniti Q30 2015 front
Price: £22,550
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Engine: 1.5-litre 4cyl, 108bhp

The Q30 sits slightly higher than a regular hatchback, but it still isn't a fully fledged crossover, like the Crossback. Infiniti is due to launch a proper QX30 crossover version later this year, which will be UK-built, like the Q30.

Used: Mercedes GLA 200d Sport

Mercedes GLA tracking 2
Price: £24,000
Engine: 2.1-litre 4cyl, 134bhp

A similar budget will stretch to a used Mercedes GLA 200d in entry-level Sport trim. It should have low mileage for this price, plus it has a proper prestige badge and more power than the DS 4. A 481-litre boot gives the GLA a practical edge, too.

Figures

 Audi Q3 2.0 TDI SEVolvo V40 Cross Country D2 SE NavDS 4 Crossback BlueHDi 120
On the road price/total as tested£27,190/£30,430£24,770/£29,595£23,495/£24,545
Residual value (after 3yrs/36,000)£13,761/50.6%£10,550/42.6%£9,224/39.3%
Depreciation£13,429£14,220£14,271
Annual tax liability std/higher rate£1,140/£2,279£840/£1,681£844/£1,688
Annual fuel cost (12k/20k miles)£1,320/£2,201£1,353/£2,255£1,306/£2,177
Ins. group/quote/road tax band/cost21/£658/C/£3017/£598/A/£024/£606/B/£20
Cost of 1st/2nd/3rd service£293 (3yrs)£222/£222/£336£115/£195/£115
    
Length/wheelbase4,388/2,603mm4,370/2,646mm4,284/2,612mm
Height/width1,590/1,831mm1,458/1,857mm1,535/1,810mm
Engine4cyl in-line/1,968cc4cyl in-line/1,969cc4cyl in-line/1,560cc
Peak power/revs 148/3,500 bhp/rpm118/3,750 bhp/rpm118/3,500 bhp/rpm
Peak torque/revs 340/1,750 Nm/rpm280/1,500 Nm/rpm300/1,750 Nm/rpm
Transmission 6-spd man/fwd6-spd man/fwd6-spd man/fwd
Fuel tank capacity/spare wheel64 litres/space saver62 litres/repair kit60 litres/repair kit
Boot capacity (seats up/down)420/1,325 litres324/1,021 litres385/1,021 litres
Kerbweight/payload/towing weight1,485/600/1,800kg1,434/546/1,500kg1,290/570/1,550kg
Turning circle/drag coefficient11.8 metres/N/A10.9 metres/0.32Cd10.7 metres/N/A
Basic warranty (miles)/recovery3yrs (60,000)/3yrs3yrs (60,000)/3yrs3yrs (60,000)/3yrs
Service intervals/UK dealersVariable/12118,000 miles(1yr)/10920,000 miles (1yr)/196
Driver Power manufacturer/dealer pos.13th/15th17th/22nd20th/9th (Citroen)
Euro NCAP: Adult/child/ped./assist/stars94/85/52/86/5 98/75/88/100/5 90/80/43/97/5 
    
0-60/30-70mph9.3/8.8 secs10.4/10.5 secs11.2/10.7 secs
30-50mph in 3rd/4th3.7/6.2 secs4.0/6.0 secs4.3/8.3 secs
50-70mph in 5th/6th8.2/12.3 secs9.4/12.5 secs9.3/15.1 secs
Top speed/rpm at 70mph 126mph/1,900rpm118mph/1,900rpm117mph/1,750rpm
Braking 70-0/60-0/30-0mph 61.9/37.7/10.1m54.2/35.3/13.1m54.3/31.8/11.4m
Noise outside/idle/30/70mph76/55/62/69dB74/54/70/71dB 74/54/67/71dB 
Auto Express econ (mpg/mpl)/range45.2/9.9/636 miles44.1/9.7/601 miles45.7/10.0/603 miles
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined 55.4/68.9/62.8mpg67.3/83.1/76.4mpg62.8/78.5/72.4mpg
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined 12.2/15.2/13.8mpl14.8/18.3/16.8mpl13.8/17.3/15.9mpl
Actual/claimed CO2/tax bracket167/117g/km/21%172/96g/km/17%166/103g/km/18%
    
Airbags/Isofix/parking sensors/cameraSix/yes/yes/£650Eight/yes/£325/£375Six/yes/yes/yes
Auto box/stability/cruise control/AEBNo/yes/£225/no£1,485/yes/yes/yes£1,200/yes/no
Climate control/leather/heated seatsYes/£1,150/£295Yes/£900/£500*Yes/£850**/£850**
Metallic paint/xenon lights/keyless go£550/yes/£425£550/£1,350/£550£520/yes/yes
Sat-nav/USB/DAB radio/Bluetooth£495/yes/yes/yesYes/yes/yes/yesYes/yes/yes/yes
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