DS 4 review: A serious competitior

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(Pocket-lint) - Since DS Automobiles pulled up its roots and started to locomotion a antithetic way to Citroen, we've seen a increasing fig of unsocial models: the DS 3 Crossback E-Tense, DS 7, DS 9 - and present this, the DS 4.

Those with immoderate representation of Citroen DS models volition retrieve determination person been DS 4 models previously, but arsenic a smarter mentation of the Citroen C4. While that Citroen is charismatic successful its ain right, the DS Automobiles mentation is, successful our eyes, the astir charismatic car that DS has offered truthful far.

A prime of design

DS Automobiles talks a batch astir design, oregon much precisely, finish. The purpose of the marque is to differentiate itself from different French marques successful the Stellantis Group (i.e. Citroen and Peugeot) and connection thing to rival the Germans.

With that successful mind, the DS 4 wants to pull the attraction of Audi A3 drivers, those considering a Mercedes A-Class, oregon possibly the BMW 1 oregon X2 Series. There's a motion to crossover benignant but precise overmuch with hatchback looks.


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There are 3 marketed versions: DS4, DS4 Performance Line, DS4 Cross. The Performance Line is truly different trim level (think S Line successful Audi), portion the Cross gets extortion rails but is mostly the aforesaid wide car.

Many of the exterior differences travel down to things similar instrumentality size - of which determination are 7 styles; with an optional 20-inch being the largest (as seen connected our E-Tense trial model) - portion there's a fig of interior trim options to take from too.

E-Tense is technically an motor choice, but has immoderate interaction connected the trim level excessively - and evidently it means there's an further charging larboard connected the exterior of the car, on with a 40-litre simplification successful footwear space.

Whichever trim you choose, the DS 4 is simply a good-looking car, particularly astir its rear quarters. That's what you truly announcement erstwhile you spot it retired connected the road: those folds and that sculpting starring towards the rear end.


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The dropping roofline gives the DS 4 a sporty stance, portion small details similar pop-out doorway handles and DS's airy enactment astir the beforehand lend a blase look to things.

Something unsocial connected the interior

The interior gets plentifulness of unsocial touches and there's a spot of a alteration of absorption from immoderate different DS models. While there's inactive a dense usage of the diamond patterning crossed panels (and, well, everything), the layout of the interior is importantly amended than the likes of the DS 3 E-Tense oregon the DS 7, for example.

There's a much accepted positioning of the model buttons connected the doors, for example, alternatively than cluttering up the centre of the car, portion there's present a Smart Touch strategy - a secondary show successful the centre of the car that's designed for interaction only, truthful you don't person to scope up and interaction the main display.

It's conveniently positioned truthful your thenar tin beryllium connected the remainder and your fingertips tin bash the work. It doesn't instrumentality agelong for this to go 2nd nature. It's a spot similar utilizing a trackpad connected a laptop, with enactment for things similar substance introduction via a digit scrawl.

Within this country you besides person immoderate media controls - namely measurement - conveniently placed for either operator oregon passenger, portion the thrust controls person ditched the aged shifter mechanics and connection a toggle instead.


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As this is simply a DS car, truthful the decorativeness of the interior is wherever the communicative truly lies. Anyone who has had a DS exemplary earlier - including those earlier Citroen-badged models - volition find it familiar, with the finishes and the wide tendency to connection thing that's distinctive and different.

It's possibly DS Automobile's champion limb against the likes of Audi, wherever interiors are virtually the aforesaid crossed each models and person been for years (although there's nary questioning the prime of Audi's interior). In the DS 4 you person a car that's decidedly antithetic to different cars connected this level - so antithetic to different DS models - with a higher prime look and finishes that you don't get elsewhere.

Uniqueness tin person a downside, though, and DS has successful the past stepped distant from the accepted - which doesn't ever pb to the champion results. But the DS 4 feels similar it works: this is simply a comfy car offering much than its rivals arsenic standard, with small details added to marque things conscionable easier.


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Not lone bash you person that 2nd interaction interface, there's a carnal location fastener for the interior show (and yes, it volition beryllium connected the right-hand broadside if you person a right-hand thrust car), but you'll besides spot things similar sculpting connected the interior doorway panels alternatively than handles, to springiness a consciousness of distinction.

It's a quiescent interior, too. The seats are comfy and there's plentifulness of prime for finishes. While the wide usage of the Clous de Paris Guillochage (that textured patterning stamped connected each metallic surface) tin marque for a engaged look, determination has been a determination to trim ocular clutter.

This isn't a determination to implicit minimalism similar you'd find successful Tesla, but the airflow has been changed on akin lines, cleaning up the centre vents and integrating the controls into the barroom above. It's conscionable cleaner and much modern.


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The rear seats connection ample headroom, but genu abstraction is connected the smaller size - which is emblematic for this people of car - portion there's 390 litres of footwear abstraction connected the E-Tense compared to 430 connected the combustion models.

A tech overhaul

Those who look cautiously volition commencement to spot similarities with different cars based connected the aforesaid level (EMP2), albeit with a compact operator show paired with that 10-inch cardinal display. These are some integer and some modular crossed the DS 4, but DS is besides offering a projected heads-up show alternatively than utilizing an extending screen, arsenic you'll find connected the likes of the Citroen C4.

It's besides a wholly caller idiosyncratic interface for DS Automobiles. We've antecedently been captious of the marque's overly-fussy idiosyncratic interface (UI) successful the past, with excessively galore rotating diamonds that acceptable the brand's styling - but that are incredibly dilatory and efficaciously conscionable wasted a batch of space. The DS 4 brings successful a caller look and a caller consciousness - and conscionable a caller level of proficiency.

It's present overmuch amended than erstwhile models, arsenic it's customisable (both connected the centre and operator displays), which means it's much useful. Some of the lesser Stellantis brands connection beauteous overmuch nary customisation, truthful it's large to beryllium capable to personalise things here.

As we said: the centre show operates either done nonstop interaction oregon that Smart Touch show little down, but determination are nary existent buttons to entree infotainment functions. There volition beryllium a dependable adjunct successful the future, but this wasn't yet enabled during our trial drive.


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The steering instrumentality offers power implicit main functions and everything is casual to get to and logical successful its use. There's besides enactment for connected devices, for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, if you'd alternatively usage those systems.

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On the road

There are a fig of antithetic motor choices, spanning petrol and diesel and the E-Tense, which is the sanction DS Automobiles gives to thing electrified. There's nary axenic electrical mentation - that's coming successful 2024 - and each are mated to the aforesaid 8-speed autobox.

The engines choices are paired to the trim and exemplary to a degree. For example, connected the entry-level DS 4 Bastille+ you tin lone get the PureTech 130. By the clip you get to the Rivoli, you're looking astatine PureTech 180 and 225 (the fig is the wide horsepower).


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E-Tense (which is the aforesaid powerfulness crossed each models) is disposable from Trocadero trim upwards (i.e. thing supra entry-level), portion besides being offered connected the Performance Line and Cross models - truthful it's wide available.

The cheapest plug-in exemplary is really connected the Performance Line (at £34,600 successful the UK - immoderate £8,000 much than the cheapest petrol model). It is, however, a combined maximum powerfulness of 225bhp, matching the apical petrol model, compared to 130bhp for the cheapest petrol - truthful there's a steadfast uplift successful show that comes with the other price.

The E-Tense comprises a 12.4kWh artillery - that's bully for astir 38 miles of scope connected its ain - paired with a 1.6-litre petrol engine. While that electric-only facet doesn't dependable a lot, if you person a afloat charged car, that volition instrumentality you done astir short-range journeys, leaving the petrol motor to plaything into beingness lone erstwhile you privation to travel further afield.


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Driving connected electrical is smooth, quiet, refined - arsenic these things often are - and having driven some the PureTech 225 and the E-Tense 225, the second is surely the amended choice. It drives better, it's much relaxing, and portion the wide show is akin (0-62mph successful 7.7 seconds), it's conscionable a amended car with the hybrid system.

The DS 4 is simply a amusive car to thrust with that electrical responsiveness, albeit not arsenic dynamic connected the roadworthy arsenic immoderate of its rivals. That said, we similar DS Automobiles' aims successful presenting thing antithetic - and to us, the DS 4 successful peculiar feels similar its astir charismatic car truthful far.


With truthful galore choosing German brands for this segment, the unsocial entreaty of the DS 4 justifies itself for consideration. It's a bully car, it looks and feels a small different, with an opulence to the interior that sets it isolated from the emblematic assemblage - particularly astatine the starting prices that DS is offering.

The E-Tense does travel astatine a flimsy premium - and the deficiency of the afloat electrical mentation is simply a small irritating (especially arsenic there's the likes of the Citroen e-C4 retired there) - but compared to the PureTech 225, it feels similar a justifiable disbursal for what is, ultimately, a amended car.

DS wants to beryllium different, it wants to connection you a consciousness oregon French flair erstwhile you gaffe into its cosseted interior. Overall the DS 4 is simply a premier illustration of that. It's a large small car.

Also consider


alternatives photograph  1

Audi A3

For galore the A3 is the de facto prime for those wanting a German hatchback that isn't a VW Golf. Power options, refinement and prime of interior, with the TFSI e offering a rival plug-in option.

Writing by Chris Hall. Editing by Mike Lowe. Originally published connected 7 December 2021.

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