DS is doing OK in the UK

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THE decision last year by the PSA Peugeot Citroen Group to set up DS Automobiles as a new stand-alone brand is gathering momentum with the launch of a second model the DS 4 which is helping the company to become established and overcome an initial identity problem writes Bryan Longworth.

For the DS range was originally launched several years ago by the company as an up market Citroen until it was decided last year to go it alone with many people still thinking of the models as Citroens but with the DS 4 following the DS 5 the new brand is now becoming more established.

Eventually there will be new DS models not based on former Citroens but the DS 4 has undergone a considerable facelift with the Citroen double chevron badge at the front being replaced with the distinctive DS motif plus other changes inside and out including stylish LED headlights which have made the DS 4 look quite different from the Citroen era and the future looks good for DS Automobiles.

For I was thinking DS Automobiles and not Citroen when I started testing the DS 4 Prestige PureTech 130 S&S 6-speed manual which cost £20,745 with its classy part leather clad interior that immediately conveys an impression that this is a top quality car.

I also liked the exterior styling of the DS4 which has an up market look about it and it attracted quite a few favourable comments from curious admirers when it was parked who wanted to know more about the DS Automobiles background as most had never heard of the company.

For me the new 1.2-litre three cylinder turbo charged petrol engine was one of the most impressive features of the test car - it produces 130hp with a top speed of 123mph and a zero to 62mph time of 9.9 seconds with a combined fuel consumtion of 54.3mpg and CO2 emissions of 120g/km.

The new three pot engine has the power and torque of a 1.6-litre engine with improved fuel economy and the test car engine was the smoothest and quietest three cylinder engine I have yet driven and a complete contrast to such a unit in another recent test car which was noisy and far from smooth.

It was ideal for press-on motoring especially on motorways and it helped to make the DS 4 hatchback with its positive steering such an enjoyable car to drive although on some country roads with poor surfaces the firm ride could be a bit tiresome.

The roomy and comfortable cabin with its excellent instrumentation has a very pleasant ambience although the two rear windows rather unusually do not open and at the back is a good sized load area with a space saver spare wheel underneath.

My only grumble concerned the driver’s sun visor which was so stiff as I tried to move it over the driver’s side window to prevent dazzle from a bright and low winter sun that I had to wait until it was safe to stop to move it.

The DS 4 is competing against competition such as the BMW 1 Series, Audi A3 and Mercedes A-Class so there are some formidable rivals out there but DS sales in the UK last year were encouraging and now there is another model in the range there will be increasing interest in the marque.

Models like the DS 4 and and others as the DS range expands over the next few years will have a particular attraction for owners wanting a premium quality car that is different especially from the German competitors and DS Automobiles seem to be making steady progress in establishing their models in the UK motor market.

Model: DS 4 Prestige PureTech 130 S&S five door hatchback.

Engine: 1.2-litre three cylinder petrol.

Output: 130hp @ 5500rpm.

Transmission: Six speed manual.

Top speed: 123 mph.

Acceleration: 0 to 62mph 9.9 seconds.

Fuel consumption: 54.3mpg combined.

CO2 emissions 120g/km.

Price: £20,745.