Is the DS 4 a secretly great car?
That incredible Italian osteria, the cheeky rat run no one else uses, the amazing charity shop packed with bargain priced designer gear. We all have secrets best kept strictly between friends so they aren’t spoilt by the masses. Well, now there is another thing to add to the list – the DS 4. Yes, you read it here first.
DS has been cruising along under the radar, hiding its light under the proverbial bushel. It seems most people just aren’t aware of it, probably in part because there are very few on the roads. This has suited me just fine all the while I have had the pleasure of the DS 4’s company. It’s been an ‘exotic’ that people are drawn to, even if there are cars many times its price right next to it. But now that it is about to depart the TG Garage, the time has come to broadcast how impressive the DS 4 is.
The photo above was taken at our Airbnb at the Cantino del Vesuvio in Trecase, south of Naples. We drove down there in a day and a bit from deepest Buckinghamshire. Thanks to the well set-up, comfortable and supportive seats, we only needed to stop for fuel in the most F1 of ways. Thanks to the surprisingly capacious and practically shaped boot (once you’ve removed the two huge charging cable bags) everything we needed to take remained hidden beneath the cover minimising break-in anxiety while we slept in our Alpine hotel. Thanks to the impressive motorway fuel economy (high 40s on average) our wallets were not badly bashed. And, thanks to the wafty floatiness and overall relaxing vibe of the DS 4, we showed up fresh and unstressed – despite an impromptu detour just before we arrived around the narrow and frankly terrifying back streets of downtown Napoli while trying to find a supermarket that didn’t exist.
These are the things that matter greatly in a car. The truth is that most of the world values the kind of stuff that affects daily driving ease and enjoyment: comfort, practicality, economy and simplicity of use.
However for the wheelsmiths among you, there will be relief that the 4 does not disappoint on a twisty road. We had a bit more leeway time-wise with the journey home, so took the road back over the Alps instead of going through the Mont Blanc or Fréjus tunnels. The D1091 from Briançon cuts straight through the stunning Hautes Alpes and is a favourite with driving fans of both two- and four-wheeled varieties. The fuel economy took a hit on the way up, of course, but at least the DS charged itself up fully on the downhill sections...
Which brings us to the plug-in element of the 4. For long journeys, especially motorway trips, charging up is of limited value. However, for commuting trips, and notably for commutes of 40 or so miles, charging up makes immense sense. We can charge up at Top Gear Towers, so my journey home is pure electric for 40-odd miles and then hybrid for the remaining few miles. It equates to a huge saving in fuel. This is the arena in which PHEVs really win – on the daily grind, the commute, the schoolrun etc etc. It really makes a difference.
So, in answer to the question posed at the start: “Is this hatchback where the DS master plan finally comes good?” We have to say we hope so, it certainly deserves to be.