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DS DS 4 1.2 PureTech 130 Etoile 5dr EAT8

  • Automatic
  • Petrol
  • 5 door hatchback
  • 138 g/km CO2
  • 138 g/km CO2 emissions
  • 10.4 secs 0 to 62 mph
  • 131 bhp Engine power

Ten Second Review

The second generation DS 4 compact premium hatch deserves more recognition than it'll probably get. For us, this is the most interesting and distinctive car of its kind in this part of the market. There are sharp looks, a stand-out cabin - and the option of clever damping technology too. PHEV engine tech's there if you want it and all the powertrains are efficient. In short, there's lots to like if you don't mind the premium pricing.

Background

The Stellantis Group's DS premium brand has yet to gain much traction in the UK. Here's where that has to change, with this car, the second generation DS 4. A quick DS history to start with. The brand launched in stand-alone form in 2015, mostly re-badging sportier Citroens until it could launch its own design, the DS 7 Crossback SUV, in 2017. Since then, we've had the first generation DS 4 model, which sold between 2015 and 2019 and which almost nobody bought. Then the small but rather curious-looking DS 3 Crossback. Followed more recently by the even rarer DS 9 upper mid-sized saloon. Nothing though, to really get people talking. But this second generation DS 4, launched here in early 2022, just might. Surprisingly, for the time being anyway, DS isn't making a slightly larger compact SUV than the DS 3. Which means that this DS 4, though really a compact premium hatch taking on the Audi A3 Sportback, the BMW 1 Series and the Mercedes A-Class, must also try and appeal to people who might want a compact premium SUV like, say, an Audi Q3, a BMW X1 or a Mercedes GLA. That's a lot to ask - from a car with a lot to prove. Can it deliver?

Driving Experience

The avant garde looks promise sophisticated driving technology and that's what you get. For top variants, DS has carried over its clever Active Scan Suspension system from the DS 7 Crossback. This scans the road ahead as you drive, over a distance of between 5 and 25-metres and alters damping, dependent on the state of the tarmac. You can also specify infra-red night vision. And Level 2 semi-autonomous driving tech. Enough with that - you'll want to know about engines. The range kicks off with a conventional PureTech 130 unit, mated to 8-speed auto transmission. The preferrable alternative is the 48V Hybrid 136 e-DSC6 self-charging Hybrid model, which mates a bespoke version of the 1.2-litre petrol engine with a little 28hp motor built into the special 6-speed auto gearbox. There's no full-electric variant, which is odd, given that this car's Stellantis Group cousin the current Citroen C4 can be had in full-EV form. But DS does offer a PHEV E-Tense Plug-in Hybrid derivative that, as with various other Peugeots, Vauxhalls and Citroens that use it, features a 1.6-litre PureTech petrol engine mated to an electric motor powered by a 12.4kWh battery for a combined output of 225hp and an electric driving range of 31 miles. The DS 4 uses the same third generation EMP2 platform as the other mid-sized Stellantis Group premium brand model it must sell against, the Alfa Romeo Tonale. But 70% of it has been modified to meet various specific DS 4 requirements. One of these is the need to accommodate the particularly large 20-inch wheels. The electric power steering system has been tweaked to suit these too.

Design and Build

DS hopes that the look of this car will sell it to you - and for sure it'll stand out in the supermarket car park. At first glance, you might be undecided as to whether this is a premium compact hatch or a premium small SUV - and that's entirely intentional. The styling's certainly Gallically avant garde, the front dominated by bold double daytime running lights and trendy matrix LED headlamps. In profile, you'll notice striking creases, door handles that pop out as you approach the car and wheels that can be as large as 20-inches in size. Coupe lines characterise the rear, where the boot lid plunges to meet the slim LED tail lamps. Pavement presence? You get it here. Inside the so-called 'Digital Seamless Cockpit', there's a fully digital cabin made up of no fewer than three displays, There's a 10-inch screen replacing conventional dials in the instrument cluster. And an infotainment display of the same size in the centre of the dash for media and navigation. This is controlled by a third 5-inch screen further down the centre stack known as the 'DS Smart Touch'. If that's not enough screen tech for you, it's also possible to specify the segment's cleverest head-up display, claimed to be closer to augmented reality than any other system. The information viewed doesn't just get projected onto the windscreen; it instead gets projected further out onto your view of the road in a range 4-metres ahead and on an image 21 inches wide. Another interesting touch is the lack of visible air vents; the main ventilation unit has been integrated behind and strip of physical switches that sit just below the main control screen. Out back, rear seat space is reasonable but unremarkable. And there's a decently-sized 430-litre boot - though this total falls to 390-litres in the PHEV variant.

Market and Model

Prices start from around £32,500 and the conventional DS 4 range has three trim levels - 'Performance Line', 'Rivoli' and 'Opera'. With the launch of the 48V Hybrid model, DS introduced two further trim levels - 'Pallas' and 'Etoile' - each of which gets two distinguishing option packs. The exterior design, identical for both with Gloss Black DS WINGS and exhaust pipes, stands out with special 19-inch wheels. The 'Pallas' version showcases a Diamond Tungsten Fabric interior with Black DS Canvas, featuring a new stitch pattern, on the seat and backrest. Included are acoustic laminated side windows at the front and the DS 'Air Quality System', accompanying dual-zone automatic air conditioning. Standard technology consists of Adaptive Cruise Control Stop & Go, Lane Departure Warning and front and rear parking sensors with a Reversing Camera. With 'Etoile' spec, this DS 4 Hybrid offers two interiors in Black Alcantara with stitching or in Criollo Brown Nappa Leather Watchstrap upholstery with heated seats. Standard equipment includes electric seats, the DS IRIS infotainment set-up with 'DS SMART TOUCH' and the 'DS EXTENDED' head-up display. Kit at this level includes DS MATRIX LED VISION headlamps and tinted rear windows with acoustic laminated side glass, as well as the Rear Traffic Detection Pack.

Cost of Ownership

All the engines are pretty efficient. The volume 1.2-litre three cylinder 130hp PureTech petrol unit should give you up to 48.6mpg on the combined cycle and up to 132g/km of CO2. We'd prefer the Hybrid 136 e-DSC6 version though. Compared with a conventional DS 4 PureTech 130 Automatic, the Hybrid system advances translate to a gain of nearly 15% in efficiency terms (0.9 fewer litres of fuel needed to travel 62 miles) and a reduction of 21g/km CO2 (or 19%) to 116g/km CO2. Expect around 60mpg on the combined cycle. In a DS 4 Hybrid, you set off silently using just electric energy, driving without any CO2 emissions and the petrol engine contributing if more power is required. Behind the wheel, as the switch from one motor to the other is imperceptible, the speed indicator turns blue when driving on electric power alone. On the digital instrument display, the energy flow can be shown, along with battery charge level and its operating status, via a power meter. The percentage of distance travelled just on electric energy is shown by the onboard computer and also at the end of the journey. For really frugal running cost returns though, you'll need the clever PHEV E-TENSE 225 Plug-in variant. This uses an 11.8kWh battery which can be fully charged in under two hours using a standard 7kW Wallbox. Once that's done, an all-electric WLTP-rated driving range of up to 38.5 miles is possible. Even better news lies with the low WLTP-rated CO2 readings and combined cycle fuel readings generated by this Plug-in model; it's WLTP-rated at up to 232.3mpg on the combined cycle and up to 27g/km of CO2. DS has sweated the details to get these kinds of returns. The engineers for instance achieved a 10% weight reduction in the weight of the alloy wheels (that's 1.5kg per wheel) with aerodynamic inserts in order to reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. Servicing on most DS 4 models is needed every year or every 12,500 miles and the cost of garage visits should be affordable too.

Summary

If the DS brand can't make this second generation DS 4 work, it's hard to see much of a future for the marque. This car does, after all, tick all the current boxes for market growth, tapping into the buoyant segment for premium badged compact hatches and simultaneously appealing to SUV folk. The trick for the Gallic marketeers here will lie in convincing customers that despite its shared Stellantis Group engineering parentage, this is a credible premium design in its own right, something the first generation DS 4 clearly wasn't. This replacement car deserves a second chance from those who might have rejected its predecessor - or, more likely, failed to even notice its existence. It has the kind of pavement presence a rival BMW 1 Series, Audi A3 Sportback or Mercedes A-Class noticeably lacks unless very expensively embellished. And there's some cutting-edge technology here that you just can't get with those cars. Will all that be enough though, given compatible pricing? It'll be interesting to see.

  • Emergency services call system
  • 2 USB-C connectors rear
  • Bluetooth hands free and media streaming
  • DAB Digital radio
  • DS Smart Touch 5inch colour touchscreen
  • Two front USB-C ports
  • Body colour shark fin roof antenna
  • Brilliant black front grille with chrome accents, chrome DS wings and chrome DS emblem
  • Chrome upper window surround
  • Door handles with retractable, flush fitting, chrome finish
  • DS 4 inscription in chrome finish, located on tailgate
  • DS emblem in chrome finish, located on C-pillar x2
  • DS emblem in chrome finish, located on front grille and tailgate
  • DS monogram - front, leading edge of bonnet, chrome finish
  • Gloss black rear light cluster connecting trim
  • Grained black side rocker panel trim with chrome insert
  • LED rear numberplate lights(x2)
  • Rear side wing doors
  • "Clous De Paris" intricate metal work design in platinum on dashboard facia, centre console, steering wheel, DS Smart Touch frame and upper door trim
  • 1.0L bottle storage rear door pockets rear
  • 1.5L bottle storage front door pockets
  • 12V socket in boot
  • 12v socket in front
  • 2x Rear coat hooks
  • Alcantara upholstery
  • Black alcantara dashboard and door facia decor
  • Black isabella mistral leather effect centre console facia decor
  • Boot strap located in boot area, right hand side
  • Cupholders - 2 front centre console,storage lid
  • Door panel upper edge trim in platinum 'Clous De Paris' design with gloss black detail
  • Electric power steering with reach and rake adjustable steering column
  • Flock lining door pockets, front and rear
  • Flock lining glovebox
  • Front central and door panel armest with black isabella mistral leather effect
  • Front centre armrest with storage
  • Front door sills in stainless steel, 'DS' inscription
  • Front seats with rear pocket
  • Glove box with closed lid, handbook storage
  • Horizon light grey headlining
  • Illumination glove box, interior storage, load area
  • Interior grab handles damped (x4)
  • Leather steering wheel with 'Fleur' leather, gloss black and 'Clous De Paris' detailing, silver stitch detail
  • Rear seats - ski hatch, rear armrest with two cupholders
  • Satin chrome gearbox selector, polychromatic lighting
  • Satin chrome interior door handles
  • Smartphone storage with hatch for direct access to USB in armrest
  • Stainless steel boot sill
  • Steering column mounted gearbox paddles
  • Tethering points (x4) - located in boot area
  • Safety pack - DS4
  • 3x3 point rear seat belts
  • Active bonnet
  • Adaptive driver and front passenger airbags includes passenger airbag deactivation function
  • Child safety lock
  • Driver and front passenger side airbags, thorax, abdomen and pelvis protection
  • Driver seat left side airbag inflates between two front seats
  • Front and rear curtain airbags, head protection for side impacts
  • Indirect tyre pressure monitoring system (ITPMS)
  • Passenger detection system - seat cushion mounted pressure sensors, illumination in roof control panel if belt unfastening detected
  • Seatbelts front - three point retractable seatbelts with pre tensioners and progressive load limiters
  • Seatbelts rear - three point retractable seatbelts with pre tensioners and load limiters to outer rear seats
  • Two tone horn
  • Alarm covers perimeter,interior of vehicle and tow-away instances
  • Automatic door locking when moving off
  • Electronic key (x2) with keyless operation, 'Clous De Paris' inspired pattern, satin chrome detailing
  • Engine start/stop button - gloss back and chrome with 'Clous De Paris' embossing
  • Fuel filler flap - located offside, lockable remotely, linked to central locking
  • Keyless entry/start with proximity detection, includes two key fobs
  • Locking wheel nuts
  • Remote central locking + deadlocks
  • HC+NOx: N
  • Particles: N
  • Standard Euro Emissions: EURO 6
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - Comb: 138
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - Comb - TEH: 156
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - Comb - TEL: 133
  • Camshaft: DOHC
  • Catalytic Convertor: True
  • CC: 1199
  • Compression Ratio: 10.5:1
  • Cylinder Layout: IN-LINE
  • Cylinders: 3
  • Cylinders - Bore (mm): 75
  • Cylinders - Stroke (mm): 90.5
  • Engine Layout: FRONT TRANSVERSE
  • Fuel Delivery: TURBO DIRECT INJECTION
  • Gears: 8 SPEED
  • Number of Valves: 12
  • Transmission: SEMI-AUTO
  • EC Directive 1999/100/EC Applies: False
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Comb - TEH: 6.8
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Comb - TEL: 5.8
  • WLTP - MPG - Comb - TEH: 41.4
  • WLTP - MPG - Comb - TEL: 48.6
  • Alternative Fuel Qualifying: False
  • Badge Engine CC: 1.2
  • Badge Power: 130
  • Based On ID: N
  • Coin Description: PureTech
  • Coin Series: Etoile
  • Generation Mark: 2
  • Man Corrosion Perforation Guarantee - Years: 12
  • Manufacturers Paintwork Guarantee - Years: 3
  • Safety Concerns: False
  • Special Edition: False
  • Special Order: False
  • Standard manufacturers warranty - Mileage: 60000
  • Standard manufacturers warranty - Years: 3
  • Vehicle Homologation Class: M1
  • 0 to 62 mph (secs): 10.4
  • Engine Power - BHP: 131
  • Engine Power - KW: 96
  • Engine Power - PS: True
  • Engine Power - RPM: 5500
  • Engine Torque - LBS.FT: 170
  • Engine Torque - MKG: 23.5
  • Engine Torque - NM: 230
  • Engine Torque - RPM: 1750
  • Top Speed: 130
  • Emissions Test Cycle: WLTP
  • RDE Certification Level: RDE 2
  • Alloys: True
  • Space Saver: False
  • Tyre Size Front: 205/55 R19
  • Tyre Size Rear: 205/55 R19
  • Tyre Size Spare: TYRE REPAIR KIT
  • Wheel Style: SEVILLA
  • Wheel Type: 19" ALLOY
  • Height: 1470
  • Height (including roof rails): N
  • Length: 4400
  • Wheelbase: 2675
  • Width: 1830
  • Width (including mirrors): 2061
  • Fuel Tank Capacity (Litres): 52
  • Gross Vehicle Weight: 1920
  • Luggage Capacity (Seats Down): 1240
  • Luggage Capacity (Seats Up): 430
  • Max. Loading Weight: 568
  • Max. Towing Weight - Braked: 1100
  • Max. Towing Weight - Unbraked: 710
  • Minimum Kerbweight: 1352
  • No. of Seats: 5
  • Turning Circle - Kerb to Kerb: 10.8