CITROEN WAS surprised by the success of Rs little DS3

hatchback, the 100,000th example of which has just rolled off the line. But it shouldn’t have been. For the first time in as long as I can remember, Citroen produced a car that was more than a style statement on wheels: it was actually decent to drive. So I approached the next product of the sporting DS range, this DS4, with something of a spring in my step. I should have known better. The DS4 is based on the C4 hatchback which claims to be a new car but is, in fact, a reconfigured old C4 and depressingly

mediocre as a result.

As Rs inflated price tag commands, the DS4 sets higher standards both to look at and to drive, but it offers nothing to the enthusiastic driver beyond basic competence. It’s not actively unpleasant like the C4, but anyone hoping for the fizz, precision and élan of the DS3 in a more practical shell will be seriously disappointed.

Rivals like the Alfa Giulietta and Volkswagen Golf are just as classy and far better companions for enthusiasts.

It will be interesting to see if the DS4 sells despite these limitations. If it does it will indicate that its customers care not at all about how such cars perform as long as they look good in front of the neighbours. If, however, its dynamic shortcomings actually hold It back In the same way as the DS3’s talents have brought it forward. Citroen should realise its mistake and in future spend just a little more time on the substance of its cars, and not merely their style.