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DS4 Crossback touches down in Aus

Agent orange: The DS4 Crossback will serve as the mid-size offering in the DS stable, between the DS3 hatch and DS5 hatch/crossover.

High-riding DS4 Crossback arrives but regular hatchback version not on the cards

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DS logo11 Apr 2016

By ROBBIE WALLIS

BURGEONING French marque DS Automobiles has opted to introduce the crossover version of its revised DS4 offering, dubbed the Crossback, leaving the standard version of its slow-selling hatchback off its roster, for the time being.

Arriving as part of a limited run of just 25 cars, it is the first crossover-type DS to be offered in Australia and it is priced at $46,990 driveaway for the single-spec model. The outgoing model was also offered in one spec level and was priced from $40,490, plus on-road costs.

Sime Darby Motors Group PR and communications manager Tyson Bowen said that the local importer had to consider market trends when making the decision to go solely with the Crossback in Australia.

“We had the DS4 previously, but we looked at both propositions quite critically and we believe based on the market – popularity of SUVs and other things – that the Crossback is the strongest proposition for our market, and that's why we've chosen to only go down that path at this stage,” he said.

“It's a stronger proposition – you look at the car and it's got a bit more of an SUV stance, whereas the previous DS4 was sort of halfway between a hatch and an SUV. This vehicle really seems to be a bit more coherent and a little bit more appropriate for our market.”

The DS4 hatchback has failed to make a big impact since launching in Australia in late-2011 – in 2015 only 46 models found homes, and only four have left the showroom floor this year to the end of March.

The fact that only 25 are being imported to Australia suggests that Sime Darby has modest sales hopes for the DS4 Crossback, however Mr Bowen said that was the best way to operate when dealing with a brand that is in its infancy.

“One of the key things we need to do is make sure that we still have the strongest product for customers, but also that we don't bring in too many vehicles and put at risk long-term resale value, or any of the other elements that go with introducing a new brand.

“So we could have easily brought in many more, but the end game here is to make sure that we really set in stone the right business decisions now for the long term, and not make decisions that are getting runs on the board in the short term.”

As part of its mid-life update the DS4 Crossback gains a number of standard features over the outgoing hatchback, including LED headlights and daytime running lights, black wheel arch trims, a black differentiated front end and rear spoiler, grey roof bars, black door mirrors, sills and carpet mats, as well as a 30mm lift in ride height over the hatchback.

On the inside, standard tech includes an all-new 7.0-inch touchscreen with sat-nav, Apple CarPlay, Mirror Link, DAB+ radio, dual-climate control, keyless entry and start, massaging front seats and leather steering wheel and seats.

Standard safety features are bolstered as well, extending to blind-spot monitoring, rearview camera with front and rear parking sensors, automatic lights and wipers, LED foglights with cornering function, tyre pressure warning sensors and six airbags.

Under the bonnet it is powered by the same 2.0-litre BlueHDi turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine in the DS5, paired to a new Aisin six-speed automatic and good for 133kW/400Nm, representing a performance bump of 13kW/60Nm over the outgoing DS4 DSport HDiFuel consumption for the Euro 6 certified engine has improved by half a litre on the combined cycle compared with the old Euro 5 unit, dropping from 4.9 litres per kilometre, to 4.4L/100km.

The Crossback's 0-100km/h sprint time has improved to 8.6 seconds, 0.7s quicker than the old hatchback.

It will be offered in six exterior colours, and has 17-inch rims with the option of 18-inch alloys for a premium of $1000.

DS Australia general manager Kai Bruesewitz said that the DS4 Crossback will appeal to buyers looking to make a statement on the road.

“With its all new-look, drivetrain and significant standard specification we believe the DS4 will appeal to those customers looking to stand out from the crowd,” he said.

“As the DS marque evolves both locally and globally, Australian’s will begin to see a return to French design and luxury, and the DS4 is a step towards an all-new line of vehicles that capture the best in French design, quality and innovation.”

There is the possibility that the introduction of the DS4 Crossback will be used to test the waters for a market for a DS SUV, ahead of the release of the brand's first all-new model in 2018.

DS currently has an SUV on sale exclusively in China – the 6RW.

Mr Bowen said that the distributor is looking at the SUV segment in Australia, given the high take-up of soft-roaders Down Under.

“DS currently has a number of products that are unique to China – one of those is an SUV. Particularly in Australia the SUV market is significantly large, and it's not a segment that you can ignore, and this is why this careful approach will be taken.

“At the moment we've got a hatch (DS3), now the Crossback, and then the DS5, but in a market where the SUV is extremely popular, it's something that we would absolutely need in the future to ensure we're competitive in those buoyant segments.”

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