Ian Lamming shines a light on the new DS4 Crossback.
IN THE beginning there was nothing; then there was light and ever since we have become more than a little obsessed with it.
From autumn to spring there is precious too little in which to bask, glow, flourish and as a result skin flakes, mood withers. The rich head off to the sun, the less fortunate go to the solarium, the less fortunate still head to the doctors to get their skin growths sorted out.
Physicians have a word for it, SAD – seasonal affected disorder – the January blues but endured from October to March. Thank goodness for Christmas lights as they try to penetrate the dark.
It’s dark and dank today, drizzly and dreary, yet my mood is light. It must be the car and thinking about it that windscreen does seem extra large.
DS4 boasts welcome sun-flaps which push rearward to reveal and over-sized windscreen. It is simple and genius but it must increase the depth of the windscreen by at least 25 per cent. That’s 25 per cent more light flooding in through your eyeballs and into the pleasure parts of the brain – and it really works.
When you finally lose luminosity and the sun dips west of the horizon, or is that south, the brilliant lights take over casting a daylight-like radiance across tarmac and countryside alike, that shines where you need it most as it follows the course of the steering.
The variable blue glow from the 3D dials adds a coolness and serenity to the ambience.
DS4, in this particular guise of more off-roadery Crossback, on paper shouldn’t be anything more than fine, but it is, it is exceptional.
The wellbeing comes from the way its constituent parts work so effectively together. The 1.2 litre petrol motor sports just three cylinders but thanks to a turbo produces a creditable 130hp. It is characterful, spirited and incredibly refined. It flies up long drags and cruises with aplomb. It is a good performer yet returns mid-40s to the gallon.
The six speed manual gearbox is superbly slick and a pleasure to use and the steering and handling are inspirational making the DS4 the perfect driver’s car. Because you enjoy the drive, you never tire of driving it.
Being a DS, and therefore upmarket, specification is high and build feels high quality. It even has seats that massage your back. The 18in black diamond-cut alloy wheels give it off-road presence and it manages some how to be chunky but sleek at the same time.
In a world of climate change, of long dark days and unrivalled automotive choice, the sun does shine down warmly on the DS4, even more so when you opt for the Crossback.
Engine: 1.2 petrol turbo
0-62mph 9.9 secs
Top speed: 123mph
Combined MPG: 54.3
Transmission: six speed manual
CO2 g/km: 116