DS 4 E-Tense 225: long-term test review

First report: we’re putting on the style with our new plug-in DS 4 premium hatch


  • 4.0 out of 5

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    Verdict

    We’re off to a good start with the DS 4. It’s proving to be as comfortable as we’ve come to expect from the French marque, and while some of the styling cues will be a matter of taste, the way it makes you feel relaxed at the wheel is great. We’ll also wait and see how the electric range holds up, too.

    • Mileage: 10,680
    • Economy: 40.2mpg
    • I’ve swapped from one Stellantis product to another, but while there are plenty of similarities under the skin between our new DS 4 and the Vauxhall Astra that I previously ran, the French car looks and feels like a very different beast.

      The DS 4 is aimed at premium hatchbacks such as the Mercedes A-Class, BMW 1 Series and Audi A3, and while the design has been toned down a bit since earlier DS models, it definitely isn’t trying to follow the crowd. Whether you appreciate the French idea of premium luxury or not, you have to agree that it stands apart from its German rivals.

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       Personally I like the exterior styling. The car looks chunky, with its slightly jacked-up appearance, while the rear light clusters that incorporate a diamond pattern are a real feature, along with the angled front daytime running lights. The large grille isn’t the prettiest and I’m undecided on the 19-inch Minneapolis alloys (maybe because they stand out so much that it adds to the fear of kerbing) but overall the car has a classy look.

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      Our particular model is the E-Tense 225 plug-in hybrid in Performance Line trim, and its four-cylinder petrol engine is backed up by an electric motor, while DS claims an all-electric range of around 37 miles. However, when it was delivered to me fully charged, the display was showing only 14 miles. Hopefully that will improve during our time with the car, although my lack of home charging will complicate matters.

      It’s not cheap, either, with metallic paint (£595) and a two-tone roof (£300) taking the price to just over £40,000, but this version would be the choice for company car drivers with a low tax liability of 11 per cent. There’s plenty of kit, too, with keyless entry and start, front and rear parking sensors, electric folding and heated door mirrors, a 180-degree reversing camera, plus DS Active LED vision with Dynamic Bending Light function. There’s a raft of safety kit, too, while Active Scan Suspension reads the road ahead to reduce the impact if you hit a pothole.

      The interior really does have a premium feel, with very little black plastic on display. The diamond styling cues are a little overdone for my liking, but I can imagine other people will appreciate the theme. Performance Line trim adds a sportier feel, with the stitching on the steering wheel, interior and seats adding a nice contrast to the black Alcantara used throughout.

      The 10-inch infotainment screen is responsive and works wirelessly with Apple CarPlay, but while the instruments are slightly smaller at seven inches, the head-up display shows all the important info.

      And as with the rest of the DS line-up, the DS 4 is very comfortable. The seats look and feel great, both myself and my tall husband are equally happy with them, and the interior is really spacious. Even the space in the back is good, something my daughter commented on when I gave her a lift.

      The DS 4 also feels quite calming to drive, thanks in part to its smooth eight-speed automatic gearbox and the light steering, which is really appreciated around town.

      Model:DS 4 E-Tense 225 PHEV Performance Line
      On fleet since:March 2023
      Price new:£40,495
      Engine:1.6-litre 4cyl, petrol plug-in hybrid, 222bhp
      CO2/tax:27g/km/£170
      Options:Metallic paint (£595), Bi-tone roof (£300)
      Insurance*:Group: 30/Quote: £634
      Mileage:10,608
      Economy:40.2mpg
      Any problems?None so far

      *Insurance quote from AA (0800 107 0680) for a 42-year-old in Banbury, Oxon, with three points.

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