The new DS 4 has been launched to add something a little different into the upmarket hatchback market. Or should that be crossover SUV? We’ll come to that in a minute.
Firstly, as a brief recap, DS started out as the luxury arm of Citroen, before launching as a standalone brand in 2015 and now offers three models in its arsenal, putting the accent (French, of course) on design flair (DS likes to call it avant garde), comfort, technology and detailing, all delivered with a generous helping of French style know-how.
This is the country of Hermès and Dior after all, and DS is certainly ambitious in establishing itself as a distinct alternative to the German marques that have had it their own way for so long.
So where does the DS 4 come in? Categories can be unnecessarily complicated and prescriptive of course, but the industry loves them nonetheless.
There are standard hatchbacks like the BMW 1 Series and taller crossover SUVS like the Mercedes GLA. This new DS 4 aims to wear both hats. Worn at a jaunty angle of course. And why not?
However we describe it, its coupé looks, sharp panel styling and muscular stance certainly bring something to both categories, and suggest this could be DS’s most confident execution so far of the brand it is developing into.
Inside, the cabin is pleasingly understated and unfussy, given the number of features on offer. The interiors of premium cars must constantly ride the fine line between future-facing and trying too hard and the DS 4 looks to have balanced both feet on the tightrope.
Of those features, highlights include invisible air vents, an advanced head-up display, night vision and sound-reductive glass and autonomous assistance including checking that the driver is actually awake. Always a preference.
The overall vibe inside is what your dad would call ‘plush’ and this refinement is becoming a DS calling card, with an emphasis on high-quality options and associations like Nappa leather seats and upholstery inspired by luxury watch strap patterns.
Outside, the 19- (or even 20- as an option) inch wheels add sporting presence to a car that will be available in three varieties: the standard DS 4, DS 4 Cross and the sportiest, in trim at least, DS 4 Performance Line, which will all be available in petrol or plug-in hybrid.
While we won’t see them on the road till the autumn, this DS 4 is already looking like an important car in the DS story and it will be fascinating to see how it, and other ‘new’ high-end brands like Polestar, Cupra and even Genesis progress as change in the car industry gathers pace.
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