DS 4 review - Interior, design and technology
Buyers that are prioritising a high level of quality and onboard technology won’t be disappointed with the DS 4
Style is subjective, as they say, but the recent trend for homogenous family SUVs and crossover-style cars has led to criticism that buyers don’t have the same breadth of choice they once had. With new family hatchbacks falling out of fashion, it’s even more important that the DS 4 offers its own distinctive flavour.
The exterior of the DS 4 is full of angles and dramatic curves, which help it stand out from the crowd, while all models ride on imposing 19-inch alloy wheels. The jewel-like LED tail-lights look fantastic, and up front, dramatic daytime running lights zig-zag down the edges of the bumper.
Sharp creases along the car’s flanks appear to slim down the centre section and give an impression of an SUV-like ride height; the now-discontinued Cross trim emphasises this further with extra plastic cladding on the lower edges of the bumper.
The DS 4 is eye-catching from the outside, but the interior is even better. You’ll find the cabin full of premium materials, with lots of Alcantara or leather upholstery options, and DS has at least partly succeeded in dialling down the fussiness that comes with some of its other models. We think it beats the Audi A3, not just in design, but in terms of overall quality, too.
Car group tests
- Mercedes A-Class vs DS 4: 2023 twin test review
- DS 4 vs Audi A3: 2022 twin test review
- DS 4 Crossback vs Audi Q3 vs Volvo V40 Cross Country
Standard equipment is generous, with all models featuring a 10-inch infotainment touchscreen and a seven-inch digital driver’s display, while the options list features items such as an upgraded head-up display and a 14-speaker Focal audio system.
The entry-level Performance Line+ versions are easily recognised because of their unique black alloy wheels and black gloss trim, opposed to the chrome trim and diamond-cut rims you get on higher-spec models.
Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment
The DS 4 offers a novel solution to making touchscreens easier to use. Before you roll your eyes as you discover that it’s another touchscreen, it works quite well. A lower display on the centre console shows shortcuts when you give it a long press. You then run your finger across the screen to select the page you want, much like the trackpad on a laptop. You can program six shortcuts of your choice, and we found that it let us make selections without diverting our gaze from the road.
The main system is fine, but no match for the Mercedes A-Class's MBUX infotainment set-up. Loading times are slower, and the graphics aren’t quite as sharp. The on-screen keyboard doesn’t show letters and numbers at the same time (irritating when entering a postcode) and it’s laggy when switching between pages.
What's more, the DS 4’s digital driver’s display looks small beside the panel in the A-Class, and the information isn’t as clearly presented, either.
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 drivePetrol 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 technology - currently readingBuyers 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