- Sporty Performance Line styling
- Plenty of tech
- Comfortable, yet decent to drive
- Very refined inside
If clocking up the motorway miles is a daily task, and you like to veer away from the norm a little, then the new DS 4 could be the ideal vehicle for you.
That’s because DS is a premium brand, but it has a more limited feel to it than the big German marques.
It’s a nicely styled 5-door SUV with a choice of trim levels and powertrains. We opted for the sportier Performance Line model with a 128bhp, 3-cylinder petrol engine delivering 169lb ft of torque.
The DS 4 I tested came with a few optional extras including a Focal sound system, bi-tone roof, DS Night Vision, powered seats, a sunroof and active scan suspension.
It was matched to a slick 8-speed automatic gearbox and, although the 0 to 62mph sprint time is yet to be confirmed, it can reach a top speed of 130mph.
When it comes to performance, this DS 4 is a delight to drive. The acceleration is smooth out the starting blocks, and it's nicely balanced as it fires through the twisting country lanes with confident levels of grip.
It eats up motorway miles for fun and is also agile in busier town centres. Drive modes called Eco, Normal and Sport alter the reactions of the car and there are also steering wheel-mounted paddles to take charge of the gear changes when you want.
The cabin is nicely refined, and a clever active scan suspension set-up will scan the road ahead and adjust each wheel accordingly to help smooth out any bumps and dips.
Design and Practicality
When it comes to styling, the DS 4 certainly has plenty of road presence with a striking, modern look that will turn heads wherever it passes. It has a black grille with gloss black DS wings and the DS emblem on the bonnet, flush fitting door handles, Performance Line badging, dark tinted rear windows and 19-inch alloy wheels.
Move inside and the car is ultra-modern in its design and layout with a head-up display, a 10-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, 3D navigation and voice control.
Comfort levels are impressive too, with room for two adults in the back or three youngsters and there are USB-C ports galore, so everyone can stay connected on the move.
The boot is accessed via a powered tailgate and can swallow 430 litres of luggage, increasing to 1,240 litres with the 60:40 split-folding rear seats dropped flat.
In addition, there are lots of convenient storage compartments scattered throughout the car, including a central cubby bin, glovebox, front and rear cup holders, door pockets, nets in the seatbacks, plus a strap and hooks to secure items in the boot.
Technology and Equipment
The car has a new infotainment system that does take a little getting used to, with a smart touchpad to access shortcuts. There are widgets, swipe screen functions and new air vents with unusual directional controls. It’s all a little clunky until you're familiar with how everything works.
There's also a wealth of safety features included as standard, such as emergency braking system, driver attention alert, lane keep assist, front and rear parking sensors with a reversing camera, hill start assist, speed limit recognition, cruise control with speed limiter, and a full suite of airbags.
All in all, the DS 4 in Performance Line trim is a sporty alternative to the more popular models from the likes of Audi, BMW, and Mercedes. They may be a little more dynamic in their handling, but this French newcomer has plenty of character and appeal of its own, and is sure to stand out from the crowd.