I’ll tell you about a car that has quietly impressed me – the new DS 4, as you might guess from the topic of this review. When I took the DS 4 for a test drive, I didn’t expect anything: a white sheet of paper, no expectations, no hints. But then there were a lot of entries marked “plus”. Although there were also “minuses”. What were they? I’ll tell you now.

Design: a new embodiment of a familiar concept

What is the DS 4? It’s one car that seems to be trying to combine three things at once: a traditional 5-door hatchback base, plus increased ground clearance (188 mm) and protective plastic crossover covers, as well as a dynamic silhouette and large wheels from the world of sports coupes. A strange combination, isn’t it? However, the French craftsmen have really managed to create an original, holistic appearance.

And they also added a lot of interesting details to the exterior. Here’s a new incarnation of the signature DS WINGS grille and vertical LED lines in the front bumper. Or take a look at the rear roof pillar with the DS logo and the most original lights. They also got creative with the retractable door handles. Oh, that French enthusiasm!

The DS 4 is best described as a crossover hatchback: it has the usual C-Class hatchback dimensions (length – 4.4 meters; width – 1.87 meters; height – 1.47 meters; wheelbase – 2.675 meters), but it has added increased ground clearance and an overall dynamic silhouette. Interestingly, this is not the first time designers have done such a “mix”: automotive history in the 2010s already knew such a model as the DS 4 Crossback. And here’s another “interesting” thing: that car was originally called Citroen DS4, but after restyling it was released as DS – it was the era of the DS Automobiles brand’s formation.

We have mentioned one DS car, and now we will mention another. Now I’m talking about the DS 9 sedan, which was once remembered for its classy interior with high-quality trim. Formally, the DS 4 is a class or even two below; however, when you look into the cabin, you would never know it! Beautiful design, numerous curved lines, high-quality materials.

And lots and lots of decor and little things. For example, textured stitching with thread like small pearls. Or dark silver trim with embossed triangles. Or the black and glossy design of the displays. By the way, there are three of them at once: in the center of the front console, an additional one near the joystick, and another one as a dashboard. Here’s the interesting thing: in fact, a relatively small 7-inch screen is used as a dashboard. No 3D monitors, no 10-12-inch displays. Only seven inches, black gloss, fancy design – but everything looks “expensive and rich”. Yes, the DS designers are really good at decorating and “showing off”!

The interior is beautiful: nice shapes, high-quality materials, interesting details. Super! The interior is nice, but not very spacious. In fact, we have not a crossover, but a regular C-class hatchback, which is especially noticeable for rear passengers. However, ventilation deflectors and an armrest are provided for their comfort. The trunk (430 liters) has few fasteners for small items, but offers a pile “quiet” coating and an electric lid.

Technology: well-known hardware, the latest electronics

Speaking in general and at the same time about the version for Ukraine, we have the following. The DS 4 is built on the EMR2 platform, with an independent front suspension and a semi-dependent rear suspension. The drive can only be front-wheel drive (there is no all-wheel drive, despite any CROSS inscriptions), the transmission is always an 8-speed automatic. Under the hood are 4-cylinder turbo engines – either 1.5-liter diesel or 1.6-liter gasoline. So we put it all together and it turned out to be very similar to… Opel Grandland.

This is not surprising, as similar technologies and components are used within the same automotive group (Stellantis). However, what is interesting about the DS 4 model is the new DS IRIS multimedia system: a 10-inch touchscreen display, several customizable desktops, and the ability to add various “widgets” at will. This system controls almost everything: “climate, audio and telephone, seat heating and ventilation, additional functions and driver assistance systems.

It’s also worth mentioning the 5-inch DS Smart Touch screen (the same one in front of the joystick), which is used to call up the six most popular functions or to enter letters in capital letters. Of course, there are false clicks and inaccurate input. And the DS IRIS system itself sometimes lags. However, all of this is corrected with a software update – and even so, it is already clear that the new multimedia system is a big step forward in terms of ease of use and driver customization.

The most important technical innovation of the new DS 4 is a new multimedia system: several screens and widgets, extensive customization options (also for the dashboard), and an additional panel for entering letters in capital letters. However, there are still a few physical buttons to access the most necessary functions.

Driving: when comfort is the most important thing

You get the picture, right? The most important character trait of the DS 4 is the comfort of the suspension: a wonderful, soft, relaxing car. I don’t know how the 215-horsepower Performance Line version will ride, but this 130-horsepower CROSS variant rides so softly that you want to look for “pneumatic” in the chassis design. Plus, the DS 4 is very comfortable in general: it has excellent sound insulation (only a little turbo diesel is heard), a very light steering wheel, and imperceptible shifts in the automatic transmission.

Yes, yes, I have specifically mentioned the engine several times because it is very important. A turbodiesel engine fits perfectly into such a comfortable, leisurely driving style. The DS 4 seems to give you the opportunity and the time to enjoy the interior, take a break from your hectic life, listen to your favorite music – and still arrive on time. Because you don’t have to stop at the gas station once more on the way.

The turbo diesel is not in a hurry, but, as for me, it fits perfectly into the character of the DS 4: we drive comfortably and measuredly, relaxing behind the wheel. And we don’t need these turns with giant rolls… Acceleration from 0-100 km/h is 11.6-11.7 seconds (the passport promised 11.1 seconds and 198 km/h top speed); but if you really need a dynamic version of the DS 4, then pay attention to the gasoline version: 8.8 seconds to “hundred” and 220 km/h top speed are promised. The strength of the diesel engine is its efficiency. Especially on the highway: in the speed range of 90-120 km/h, it gets 3.5-5 liters per hundred (4 liters per 100 km is promised); in the city, it gets at least 5-5.3 (4.6 liters per 100 km is promised), but dynamic driving in sport mode can raise the level of fuel consumption to 7-8 liters per hundred. In addition to the usual modes, there is also an off-road setting, which is a feature of the CROSS version. Speaking of versions…

DS 4 price and possible competitors

The DS 4 is available in Ukraine with two engines (130-horsepower 1.5-liter BlueHDi diesel or 215-horsepower 1.6-liter PureTech gasoline) and in two trim levels (Performance Line or Trocadero Cross), making a total of four variants. Plus numerous additional options that can be ordered separately.

The DS 4 1.5 BlueHDi 130 starts
Performance Line – from UAH 1.32 million or $34.7 thousand; DS 4 1.6 PureTech 215 АКПП-8 Performance price – from UAH 1.34 million or $35.3 thousand. In line with its status, the DS 4 in the Performance Line version already comes with a good deal of equipment: dual-zone climate control, rearview camera, emergency braking, lane keeping assist, 7-inch digital instrument cluster, IVI med multimedia system with 10-inch display, PERFORMANCE LINE interior trim (Alcantara seats and carbon fiber decor), DS MATRIX LED VISION headlights, 19-inch alloy wheels, etc.

The car in the CROSS version will be more expensive: the cost of DS 4 1.5 BlueHDi 130 S&S TRANSMISSION-8 Trocadero Cross – from UAH 1.49 million or $39 thousand; DS 4 1.6 PureTech 215 АКПП-8 Trocadero Cross price – from UAH 1.51 million or $39.7 thousand. However, it is worth noting a significant improvement in the equipment, which includes the following: DS Drive Assist, adaptive cruise, lane keeping assist, mirror blind spot monitoring, Grip Control and downhill assistance, windshield information projection, DS IRIS multimedia system and 5-inch touchscreen, RIVOLI leather interior, etc.

The test car was presented in the maximum CROSS version: we have the appropriate inscriptions on the doors, protective pads on the bottom of the body, our own 19-inch wheels and all-season tires. But at the same time, we also have improved equipment – for example, thanks to a new multimedia system, a mandatory leather interior, and an expanded list of driver assistance systems. Matrix headlights, central 10 inch display (but different multimedia systems), a digital instrument cluster are included in any version of the car. Additional options include ventilated seats with a back massage function, 360-degree cameras, an audio system FOCAL (which automatically means a subwoofer and double soundproof glass in the side windows).

And let’s mention the competitors. Of course, you can immediately think of Audi Q3, BMW X1, Mercedes GLA, but I think their potential buyers have already decided on a brand and cannot be switched to something new. Plus, these are typical crossovers: they are larger in size, have more spacious interiors, and are available with all-wheel drive.

In terms of combining the compact dimensions of a C-class hatchback with hints of a crossover, original design and premium branding, fuel-efficient engines and comfortable suspension, the DS 4 has one direct and very difficult competitor: the Lexus UX, especially in hybrid versions. Another alternative is the Mini Countryman, but only if you forget about powerful sport versions and focus on the originality of the design/interior. Finally, there is also an interesting relative competitor – the Peugeot 408: an identical platform and gasoline engine, as well as original design and interior, and a lower price.

Description of the DS 4 test drive

It is interesting that even with all the “unconventional” image and concept, the DS 4 can become a real sales engine for the DS brand in Ukraine. One of the reasons, probably the most important, is that the brand, design and features are not “worn out”. It is something new, it is interesting!

And it is very important that while offering originality, the DS 4 model does not cross the understandable boundaries of convenience, comfort, cost, and practicality. The car plays in the popular class with the prefix “cross”, can impress with its economical engine and comfortable suspension, and the quality of the interior trim will be the envy of even recognized “masters” of the automotive world.

So it turns out that the new DS 4 will be an ideal option for those buyers who are tired of the “sacred German trio” or “Japanese-British alternatives”. For those who are looking for an original “premium” for adequate money. This is how the “cross-luxury original” turned out.

DS 4 test drive: a cross-luxury original

The car is provided by DS Automobiles representative office in Ukraine