DS 4: inside the new GLA rival

Published: 03 December 2020

► DS 4 reborn as a premium crossover and hatchback
► On sale in late 2021, priced to compete with Merc A-Class and GLA
► Cabin tech revealed in detail; complete car shown in early 2021 

The DS range is set to double in size in 2021, when the imminent DS 9 saloon is joined by the new DS 4.

It’s a premium hatchback and crossover, like the previous DS 4. But unlike that ancestor, which was discontinued in 2018, the 2021 car will be significantly more distinct from the Citroën equivalent, the C4, and more upmarket.

It debuts a long list of technology that’s new to DS and its Stellantis group partners, while being based on an updated version of the EMP2 platform that underpins many of the group’s mid-size cars.

It will be available with petrol, diesel or petrol-electric plug-in hybrid powertrains (although what will come to the UK has not been confirmed), but not full electric. All have automatic transmission and front-wheel drive.

The E-Tense PHEV version will have a 178bhp 1.6-litre turbo four, plus a 108bhp electric motor. DS claims an electric-only range of around 30 miles. The suspension is set up for comfort, with DS’s road surface-scanning adaptive suspension available on some versions.

The exterior debuts a new style of daytime running lights, featuring two lines of LEDs on each side, and slimmer LED headlights than on the DS 3 and 7.

Most of the 4’s innovations are on the inside, which is designed for refinement and comfort. There’s a new design of air vent, night vision, ‘natural language’ voice-recognition software, and a new head-up display with a form of augmented reality (similar to that in the A-Class), which gives the illusion of beaming important information on to the road 4.5 metres ahead, thus reducing the amount of time with your eyes off the road.

There’s an extra infotainment screen, down in front of the stubby gear selector, which looks like a touchscreen but is in fact designed for gesture control. It can be configured to operate whichever functions you use most. But there’s no Android Auto.

DS 4 is the first car with the group’s revised Level 2 autonomous driving tech. The DS Drive Assist 2.0 system helps with lane centring, slowing if it detects excessive cornering speed, and anticipating speed limits.

By Colin Overland

CAR's managing editor: wordsmith, critic, purveyor of fine captions