DS 4 is mid-sized hatchback designed to attract premium buyers away from the usual suspects. DS 4’s exterior features an interesting design built on what is a pretty standard crossover shape, not quite as imposing as an SUV but more than just a hatch – very much the current trend in car design.
DS 4 has an impressive road presence, has a gorgeous light signature, and when you couple this with the fact DS is a niche volume player, buying a DS 4 will guarantee you a certain amount of kudos in the car park for rarity alone.
The tricky part of the conversation with admirers of the DS 4 comes when you have to explain that under the skin it isn’t overly remarkable. DS is a constructed premium brand born out of the need of the then PSA Group to be able to upsell in certain markets and tap in to huge emerging markets like China. DS cars share loads of common parts and powertrains with regular Stellantis brands like Citroen, Peugeot and Opel. Sharing components and platforms is nothing new among brands. Audi drivers can get annoyed when its pointed out how much of their cars are made with regular Volkswagen bits and pieces, the same goes for Lexus with its Toyota components… the list goes on. The issue with being a premium brand is that you have to deliver that nice, contented, dare I say smug feeling their owners enjoy and DS is still not quite there yet.
Inside the 4.4m long DS 4 you will find a cabin with a premium feel. There are some nice materials used and you will get comments of approval from passengers. From the driver’s seat you will notice the car is a little lacking in the driver’s display screen area when compared to the say the new generation Mercedes—Benz and BMW i models. Our test car had an effective head up display that housed all the information we needed in fairness. The five seat cabin seats four adults in comfort, although is its a little cosy in the rear for side-headroom. The boot is average but as DS 4 is really more a big hatchback, the car’s cargo capacity is nice and flexible and fine for daily family use.
The DS 4 is initially available with petrol, diesel or PHEV powertrains that range in power from 130hp to 225hp. All feature an 8-speed automatic gearbox. On the road DS 4 E-Tense PHEV test car drove effortlessly, doing a perfectly fine job in the urban environment. Like all petrol plug in hybrids, longer drives will remind you that they are in no way diesel-economical. You have to be an urban user to get the best from petrol PHEVs. The DS 4 features light controls and with selectable driving modes (Electric, Comfort, Hybrid and Sport) that let you decide how quickly you wish to consume energy.
DS 4 pricing starts from €37,295 rising to €56,640 for the Rivoli 225hp petrol. Trim grades are called: Bastille+ (1.2/130hp petrol only), Performance Line, Trocadero, Performance Line+ and Rivoli. The DS 4 is an eye catching car where its real appeal lies in relative exclusivity. DS does not have large dealership network, in fact it is only starting to build a dedicated network and this will keep car new car numbers low.
DS is in an excellent position to pick off the ‘independent thinkers’ end of the market – you know – the ones who bought Saabs. For me using logic alone there is not enough difference with the DS 4 compared to cheaper sister car variants from Citroen or Peugeot to entice me, but then again, I owned an original DS, a car that was unique in the correct sense of the word.