DS 4 Crossback Terre Rouge

DS 4 Crossback Terre Rouge with standard Matt Tourmaline Orange paintwork.

Most of you will be familiar with the term ‘limited edition’, but the Terre Rouge stretches the definition almost to breaking point. The DS 4 is, as its maker admits, a niche product, so a version available in the hundreds wouldn’t be very limited. DS is therefore building very few examples of the Terre Rouge to cover the whole of Europe, and of these only 17 will be sold in the UK.

In addition to what you would normally get in a top-end DS 4 Crossback, the Terre Rouge also comes as standard with blind spot monitoring, aluminium pedals, front parking sensors and some very nice Basalt Black leather upholstery.

However, the outstanding feature is a unique paint colour called Matt Tourmaline Orange. Tourmaline is a gemstone found mostly in Africa and South America, but when applied to the DS 4 the colour gives a suggestion of red earth, which is what the French expression terre rouge means. The wheels are black, and the overall colour scheme implies adventures on rough roads in distant lands rather than a trip across town to the supermarket.

High-viewpoint shot of DS 4 Terre Rouge at speed on a dusty track.As you must have realised by now, the basis of this car is the DS 4. I have never liked the DS 4, partly because it has surprisingly little passenger space and not nearly enough glass area, and partly because it seems to have a very high centre of gravity which plays hell with the ride and handling. It’s a car I have actually taken steps to avoid driving in the past.

The Terre Rouge is a variant not of the regular DS 4 but of the slightly off-roady Crossback, whose most obvious concession to adventurous driving is that it’s a little more than an inch taller. This, of course, raises the centre of gravity still further, which should be a complete disaster.

In fact, it turns out not to be. There’s quite a lot of body movement, but DS has clearly worked very hard to get the damping right, so the Terre Rouge rarely feels wayward. The 45-section tyres on the standard 18″ wheels transfer a fair bit of road roughness into the cabin, which I usually find to be a cause for complaint, but in in this case it suits the car’s Timbuktu-by-sunset character quite well.

Rear action shot of DS 4 Crossback Terre Rouge at speed on a right-hand corner between segmented cliffs.

With such a fiercely restricted production run, don’t expect a choice of drivetrains. The only one on offer is a 178bhp two-litre turbo diesel engine driving the front wheels through a six-speed automatic gearbox. That amount of power combined with a kerbweight of not much more than 1400kg means straightline performance is spritely, though you do have to be careful when giving it large away from a T-junction. Four-wheel drive would help here, but it’s not available. The gearchanges are generally very smooth, though they can be clumsy at low speeds.

To my surprise, I rather liked the Terre Rouge. It’s certainly my favourite DS 4 so far by a staggering margin. Whether it’s worth the £30,000 plus change DS is asking for it is a whole nother story, though I have no doubt that in a country with a popular of something like 66 million there will be 17 people who think it is. Beyond all question, they will get bucketloads of exclusivity for their money.

Price £30,205
Engine size 1997cc
Power 178bhp
Top speed 127mph
0-62mph 8.6 seconds
Fuel economy 64.2mpg combined
CO2 emissions 115g/km
Towing capacity 1550kg (braked)
Euro NCAP (2011) Overall 5 stars Adult occupant 90% Child occupant 80% Pedestrian 43% Safety assist 97% (figures refer to hatchback version of Citroen DS4, as it was then known)
Information correct at publication date

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DS 4 Crossback Terre Rouge
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