Motoring: A serious presence; the DS 4 E-Tense 225




DS, the spin-off luxury brand of Citroen, has a growing range of contenders, including the DS 4 hatchback.

While bringing the Citroen name into the equation might generate funny looks, DS is creating its own path.

The straight-lined, jagged edges of the car give it a serious presence, and it really looks the part.

The range is a bit complicated, as there are three different ‘categories’ of cars – the standard DS 4, the Performance Line and the Cross, which adds some rugged off-road styling. Each of the three models then has its own trim levels.

The standard model in Rivoli trim is reviewed here. It features attractive alloy wheels, a ten inch infotainment touchscreen, a head-up display, keyless entry/start, acoustic glass and matrix LED lights.

Three powertrains are offered but the plug-in hybrid, the 225PS petrol-electric E-Tense, is of interest here.

Zero to 62mph is dealt with in 7.7 seconds, with an instant burst of torque from the electric motor. And the powertrain is impressive, delivering decent performance when pootling around town or accelerating to overtake on motorways.

It has an eight-speed automatic gearbox, which is good, although occasionally, gearchanges feel unnaturally timed.

While the DS 4 looks athletic and is reasonably quick, it isn’t sporty to drive around bends, and there’s not much feedback through the steering wheel.

Body lean in the corners is well controlled, and the DS grips the road well, but it doesn’t take much to find its boundaries.

The French machine is comfortable, though, helped by a feature called Active Scan. The system uses cameras to scan the road ahead for bumps and potholes, adjusting the suspension to compensate.

Inside, the cabin is extraordinary, oozing class, with the touchscreens pleasingly integrated and part of the design rather than bolted on.

The infotainment system is clear, responsive, and friendly to use. And, although the cabin isn’t awash with buttons, physical dials for the climate control remain.

The seats are pretty big, which aids comfort in the front, but the rear feels cramped if you’re tall. There is plenty of headroom, however.

You get 390 litres of boot space, increasing to 1,190 litres if you fold the seats away in a 60/40 split, although you get more in the non-hybrids.

The hybrid can give you up to 38 miles of all-electric range and returns 217.2mpg, producing just 30g/km of CO2.

Overall, the DS 4 is impressive, and what it lacks compared with the German big boys in terms of drivability, it makes up for with personality-led looks and a gorgeous interior.

It isn’t sporty, even if you opt for the Performance Line versions, nor is it cheap. But in the hybrid form, it’s economical and well-equipped, if a little short on practicality.

Fast Facts – DS 4 (E-Tense 225 Rivoli trim) as tested:

  • Max speed: 145 mph
  • 0-62 mph: 7.7 secs
  • Fuel economy: 217.2 (38-mile all-electric range)
  • Engine layout: 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol + electric
  • Max. power (PS): 225
  • CO2: 30 g/km
  • Price: £43,050

Tim Barnes-Clay

Tim Barnes-Clay is Sorted Magazine’s Motoring Editor. He test-drives the latest cars and attends new vehicle press launches around the world. The dad-of-three has a postgraduate diploma in broadcast journalism and has been a presenter and producer at ITV Central. He has also worked as a radio reporter and undertakes video and voiceover work. You can follow and interact with Tim on Instagram @tbarnesclay

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