French fancy | 

The new DS 4 is a car you’ll want to hug back

French premium brand has created a real stunner with a luxe feel inside and out that will turn heads

The DS 4 is the latest model released by the premium arm of Citroen

The design is sleek yet strong and is stunning from every angle

Daragh KeanySunday World

​I’ve never driven a cosier car in my life and by ‘cosy’ I mean I felt a warm hug every time I got inside.

And I’m not going to lie to you — I spent a lot of time inside this car.

The French car is still eccentrically brilliant to look at and be in and feels premium from the moment you lay eyes on it.

Then you get in for a (hug) drive and you get a rare, warm, fuzzy feeling inside that it is hard to explain but is intrinsic in the DNA of this new brand.

To the uninitiated, DS is premium arm of Citroen and for the last few years has rolled out a compact DS 3, an executive saloon DS 9 and a DS 7 SUV, which is so good they launched it twice here.

But that was it for a while, so when they announced the DS 4 motor journalists and car fans got excited. Simply put, it is a thing of beauty. It has a rare combination of sleek sporty angles, yet it looks powerful and strong.

There is a gorgeous grille with some design flair details with cobra-style head lights and chrome dashes in the side skirting and the pop out ergonomic claw-shaped door handles.

Big, vacuous wheel wells allow for the 20-inch alloys, pushed out flush with the body sides, adding to the overall gorgeous looks.

There is a two-tone colour scheme that really works here with a black rook and wing mirrors to complement the Velvet Red paint job that my press car had. The two-tone option is not mandatory, but I feel it works far better in the DS 4 than it does in a lot of cars.

The diamond design feature that has become standard in all DS models is everywhere, with both front and rear lights embracing the USP.

The design is sleek yet strong and is stunning from every angle

This crossover hatchback oozes class, but its styling does mean that head room is compromised so be aware that adults sitting in the back row will not be receiving as many hugs as the lucky two in the front row, but that is OK. It’s not pretending to be something it isn’t. And for the record, my two daughters had no problem for the week, and one of them still uses a booster seat.

It was only when a pal of theirs was also in the back that the space issue became an ever-so-slight problem for them.

This luxury vehicle is bedecked in suede, leather or a lovely little wood effect. No generic black plastic here. The diamond design is everywhere inside too and nowhere more obvious than the automatic switchgear.

There’s also a lot of tech, including a large central touchscreen that can also be partly controlled by a smaller supplementary touchscreen down on the centre console.

This took me a while to figure out but once I got it (hat tip to 12-year-old Chloe who figured it out) I found it a very handy tool for convenient and safe driving. Plus, it can be fully personalised.

There is a very good and well laid out head-up display, digital instruments, active cruise control and lane keeping, and a very impressive camera-based system that watches for poor road surfaces ahead and instructs the adaptive suspension to stiffen or soften accordingly. It also has night vision.

To drive it feels classically soft, especially with predictive dampers when you’ve set it to ‘Comfort’.

You sit higher than you expect which gives great visibility, although the rear window doesn’t offer a huge amount of view.

Based on the EMP2 platform, the plug-in hybrid version, DS 4 E-TENSE 225 relies on a 4-cylinder 180 horsepower 1.6L PureTech engine and a 110-horsepower electric motor with a 12.4kWh battery which has a zero emissions range of up to 55km.

If speed is important to you, the 360Nm of torque enables 100km/h to be reached in 7.7 seconds with fuel consumption of just 1.3 litre/100km.

A 1.2L PureTech 130 Automatic petrol engine, plus a 1.5L BlueHDi 130 Automatic Diesel are also available with consumption from 4.8 litres/100km for diesel and 5.9 litres/100km for petrol.

DS 4 prices start at €35,185 in Ireland, for the basic Bastille+ spec, which includes an automatic gearbox, 17-inch alloys, the big ten-inch touchscreen, keyless ignition, LED headlights and reversing sensors all as standard.

In top-spec Rivoli form you’ll have to fork out €52,530 to get the E-Tense hybrid (although there is a cheaper E-Tense, in Performance Line form, priced from €46,990).

The Rivoli includes black leather trim, 19-inch alloys, more exterior chrome, advanced electronic driver aids, a ‘clean cabin’ microscopic air filter, acoustic glass and 3D connected navigation.

Everywhere I went I found myself fielding questions about this car. Of course, there was confusion about the badge but not one enquiry was negative about its looks. There were some (correct) concerns about space in the back and in the boot, but the truth is that this DS 4 is one of the best-looking new cars on Irish roads. And now that they have a dedicated showroom at Gowan’s on the Navan Road we are sure to see more DS cars in 2023.

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