DS 4 review - Engines, performance and drive
Petrol and diesel models are perfectly capable, but if you’re after more performance then you’ll want the DS 4 plug-in hybrid
DS is part of the Stellantis family of automotive brands, so the DS 4 shares its underpinnings with the Citroen C5 X, Peugeot 308 and latest Vauxhall Astra. The PureTech 130 petrol and BlueHDi 130 diesel engines are mainstays across the wider group, proving to be robust and reliable, even if they do lack a little punch in this model.
The French hatchback’s focus on providing excellent levels of comfort means that the lack of power isn’t a dealbreaker, while the strong available torque (particularly with the diesel model) does help with wafting easily along and also provides confidence when attempting overtaking manoeuvres at higher speeds.
Plug-in hybrid power is available in the form of the E-Tense 225 model. The front-wheel drive PHEV uses a 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine and an electric motor, delivering a total of 222bhp. With its 12.4kWh battery giving an all-electric range of 38.5 miles and an impressive top speed of 83mph in e-mode, you’ll be able to undertake many journeys without ever hearing the combustion engine fire up.
The plug-in hybrid system isn’t perfect, however. The engine sounds too noisy from within the cabin, even at idle. Put your foot down and it becomes thrashy, with a definite whine from the electric motor.
Buyers prioritising a supple, forgiving ride will be drawn to the DS 4’s ability to deal with poor road surfaces with ease. It remains super-smooth in town, and is equally comfortable at higher motorway speeds. Take a turn onto more twisty B-roads and the DS 4 doesn’t come unstuck; there is some noticeable body roll, but it stays pretty calm and composed.
DS also offers what it calls Active Scan Suspension. The system features adaptive dampers that prepare for bumps using forward-facing cameras. The downside is that the set-up only works in Comfort mode, but we found it definitely makes for a smoother ride in our DS 4 long-term test car.
0-62mph acceleration and top speed
The DS 4 petrol and diesel models offer sedate performance that underlines the manufacturer’s focus on comfort rather than outright pace. The PureTech 130 petrol manages 0-62mph in 10.4 seconds with a top speed of 130mph, while the BlueHDi 130 diesel is a touch behind on 10.9 seconds and a 129mph maximum.
The more powerful (and more expensive) E-Tense plug-in hybrid is the more sprightly choice. Offering 222bhp and a meaty 320Nm of torque, it sprints from 0-62mph in 7.7 seconds and is capable of pushing on to a claimed 145mph.
In this review
- 1DS 4 reviewDelivering supreme comfort, good practicality and a premium feel, the DS 4 hatchback is an interesting alternative to class-leading rivals
- 2Engines, performance and drive - currently readingPetrol and diesel models are perfectly capable, but if you’re after more performance then you’ll want the DS 4 plug-in hybrid
- 3MPG, CO2 and running costsThe DS 4 diesel model offers impressive fuel economy, but the PHEV will be more cost-effective for company car drivers
- 4Interior, design and technologyBuyers that are prioritising a high level of quality and onboard technology won’t be disappointed with the DS 4
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceWith a big boot and lots of useful practical touches, the DS 4 hatchback should fit well into family life
- 6Reliability and safetyReliability should be good, although you’ll have to pay extra to access the full range of onboard active safety tech