The Citroën DS4 – Not for Fickle minds

We’re a fickle bunch of people at times. We all hated Bafana Bafana before the World Cup, and then Tshabalala scored that goal and all of a sudden, we were as patriotic as the Irish on St. Patties Day. When Whitney was alive, we all had terrible things to say about her. Now that she has passed, all of a sudden we remember her for the good things she did and ignore what we said a few days prior. Oh and by the way, now we all hate Bafana Bafana again. My time with the Citroën DS4 made me realise much of the same. I’ll elaborate.

The Citroën DS4 is a car that boasts many accolades, 2 of which are in the beauty stakes. An online poll in 2010 awarded the DS4 the ‘Most Beautiful Car of the Year’ and the ‘Most Beautiful Interior of the Year’. As I write this, the DS4 is also in the running for the South African Car of the Year and in just a week, we’ll all know the car that will be put up on billboards with that SAGMJ COTY logo and some clever slogan to go with it. Will it be the Citroën DS4? I’ll give my opinion later....
I spent a week behind the wheel of the HDi 160 Sport model and didn’t quite have a WOW moment up front. The car is billed as a 2+2 Coupe and so has a coupe-like roofline, with 2 rear doors for easy entry and hidden door handles worked nicely into the C-pillar section; but that means you can’t open the rear windows. So you have ample space and legroom in the rear, without the nicety of an open window. That aside, I can’t deny that it’s a striking car with bold lines and great detail in the all-round design.

Driving the car is where it all started to come together for me and I began to realise just how much detail has gone into this car and into giving it the DS treatment specifically. It’s a beautiful interior and out of the 2 awards, I definitely agree with this one. My car featured two-tone black and white leather; iPod and USB connectivity; MP3 CD player; heated seats with massage function; multifunctional steering wheel etc. (but here’s where it gets interesting); a Sat Nav Unit that changes from day to night mode on its own; the sound system monitors how many people are in the car and adjusts the sound quality accordingly; the on-board lighting ambience can be changed to suit your mood; the tones for the warning bells and alarms can be changed to suit your taste; the fog lights change direction when cornering to add more light to the direction in which you’re going; there is a blind spot monitoring system; and then of course, in true French flair, automatic lights and windscreen wipers etc. Added to this, the cabin so silent when cruising that you really do feel seated in the lap of luxury. They’ve done an incredible job with the noise dampening and it’s a comfortable, cosseting place to be. This is what I love about the French, their attention to the details, and the way they throw it all in there, without you having to tick the boxes.

After a hectic boys weekend; I drove the DS4 back to JHB some 300kms away. I was tired, hungover and sunburnt. Driving to JHB was the last thing I wanted to do. You know what? I absolutely loved it.

The combination of that 120 kW/340 N.m 2,0-litre turbo diesel unit; the comfort and solid feel of the car over all the surfaces that the ‘Carolina stretch’ serves up; the music; the seat massage function; the panoramic windscreen and the ambience of a beautiful cabin made it all come together.
That said, I always ask as many people as possible for their opinions on the cars I evaluate and here is where it all gets strange.
Many of the people I spoke to started their sentence with this: ‘Wow, it’s beautiful hey?’ OR ‘I love this car!’ OR ‘This looks like a seriously nice car’..... however, they all have a ‘BUT’ that comes straight afterwards. ‘I love this car BUT... I would never buy it.’

When asked why, I generally get a mumble of something that they probably heard their father’s say many years ago. The Marketing collateral for this car alludes to us having said yes all our life; and now it’s time to say NO. It’s exactly what I am talking about, we’ve heard others say they would never buy French, and so we do the same without ever really knowing why. These DS models really are a serious bit of kit. The DS5 is in the running for World Car of The Year and the DS4 is a finalist in the SAGMJ Car of the Year. This is no coincidence. These are accolades backed by the best motoring journalists in the world. Why wouldn’t you listen to them? Look at the DS4 Racing that you see in the images and tell me that does not look better than any other hot hatch you know of?

The Citroën DS4 is a striking; distinctive package with crossover appeal. It’s cabin is incredibly comfortable and silent but it’s the attention to detail that I love the about this car. I don’t think it will win the Car of the Year title but that’s just because I really do think there is one other car there that deserves it more.

So stop the uhms and aahs and maybes...and make up your mind. Go ahead, say NO to drugs, and say NO to conformity.

To end, let me say, I love this car, BUT, I wouldn’t buy it either, only because it’s not fast enough and that’s important for me. I can’t wait for the DS4Racing to arrive. I would buy that as soon as it lands.

- AM

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