2021 DS 4: new upmarket hatch with plug-in hybrid version

Dramatically-designed DS 4 unveiled as upmarket hatchback with striking looks, a high-end interior and a frugal plug-in hybrid engine option

James Allen
Feb 28, 2021

After a long hiatus, the DS 4 name is set to return to showrooms in late 2021. Like before, the DS 4 will be an upmarket five-door family hatchback from Citroen's premium brand, which aims to rival the Mercedes A-Class and Audi A3 - though, thanks to its higher ride height and raised driving position, it also goes up against similarly-sized family SUVs.

That’s where many of the similarities between the new and old versions of the DS 4 end, though. Exterior design details like the big front grille and lightning bolt-shaped daytime running lights give this latest DS a very distinctive look, and the more minimalist interior layout is also a big departure from the old car.

The engine range is pretty different, too. While there is still a diesel option, most of the lineup is made up of 1.2-litre and 1.6-litre petrol engines - and there’ll also be a plug-in hybrid option with more than 30 miles of electric-only driving range on a full charge. Fuel economy figures won’t be confirmed until closer to launch, though.

Likewise, prices for the new DS 4 won’t be revealed until nearer the car’s launch date in November 2021. However, as the DS 4 will sit in between the DS 3 Crossback and DS 7 Crossback SUVs size-wise, it’s likely the car will start from around £27,000.

Quick facts

  • Petrol and diesel engine options
  • Plug-in hybrid also available
  • Automatic gearbox only
  • Striking design inside and out
  • Prices to be confirmed
  • On sale in November

2021 DS 4 performance and fuel economy

Four engines will be available for the DS 4 from launch, and three of them will be petrol. Two of them are versions of 1.2-litre three-cylinder engines (one with 130hp, the other with 180hp), and there’ll also be a more potent 1.6-litre four-cylinder with 225hp. If you’d prefer to have a diesel-powered DS 4, your only choice is a 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine with 130hp.

Regardless of the engine you pick, the DS 4 will only be available with front-wheel drive, so despite the car's tall stance, this is no off-roader. Likewise, only one gearbox is offered, in the form of an eight-speed automatic.

Performance figures haven’t been quoted yet, though even the entry-level DS 4 should have enough of a turn of speed for general driving duties. There aren’t any fuel consumption stats available yet either. However, using other DS, Citroen and Peugeot cars that use the same engines as a reference, the diesel’s claimed economy likely won’t be too far off 60mpg.

Unsurprisingly, the petrols won’t be as efficient, though they should still be capable of decent economy; expect somewhere around 45mpg for the 1.2-litre models, and just under 40mpg for the more powerful 1.6-litre engine.

DS 4 plug-in hybrid version

In addition to the conventional petrol and diesel engines, the DS 4 will also be available with a plug-in hybrid option. The setup consists of a 1.6-litre petrol engine allied with an electric motor, which together produce up to 225hp - meaning the plug-in hybrid DS 4 should have plenty of performance for brisk everyday driving. As with its purely petrol and diesel counterparts, the only gearbox available is an eight-speed automatic.

DS claims this plug-in car is also capable of covering more than 30 miles using just the electric motor on a full charge, so it should be possible to cover short trips without the engine firing up. Your electric-only range will depend greatly on a variety of factors, such as how much charge you have before setting off and whether your route involves driving at higher speeds that will drain the battery faster.

Fuel economy figures will be revealed closer to the DS 4’s launch. For reference though, the plug-in hybrid version of the Peugeot 3008, which uses the same setup as the DS 4, is capable of up to 222mpg. Whatever figure DS ends up quoting, you’ll only be able to match it by making as much use of the car’s electric driving range as possible, which means charging the batteries regularly and sticking to mainly shorter journeys where you can predominantly travel using electric power and spend less time with the petrol engine running.

2021 DS 4 interior

While it isn’t as striking to look at as the exterior, the DS 4’s interior is quite quirky in comparison with some other upmarket cars of this type. Like many modern cars, most of the physical controls have now been moved to a touchscreen on the dashboard - something which can prove distracting on the move in many cars - though lots of the buttons that remain (such as for the electric window and heating controls) have an angular and geometric shape to them. Depending on the specification, that design is also carried over to the quilting pattern on the seats.

DS hasn’t confirmed full dimensions data yet, though early signs are that the new 4 will have a decent amount of space inside. The boot in particular is pretty spacious, as DS claims the car has up to 430 litres of luggage volume. However, this will likely shrink a bit on plug-in hybrid models, due to the way the battery pack is positioned underneath the boot floor.

2021 DS 4 in-car technology

Full tech specs for the DS 4 will be revealed closer to the car’s launch, though we do know it’ll be available with a decent selection of gadgets and gizmos. While it hasn’t yet said which features will come as standard, DS has confirmed the car will be offered with a fully digital instrument display, a 14-speaker sound system and a head-up display unit which beams driving information onto the windscreen. There’s also a clever adaptive suspension system, which can adjust how firm or soft the ride is on the move by using a camera to assess how smooth or bumpy the road ahead is.

Perhaps the most unusual feature in the DS 4 is the small touch screen panel on the centre console. The driver can use this screen to control the larger display on the dashboard, by using finger swipe movements as you would on a smartphone. It’s also capable of recognising handwriting gestures, though how much use you’ll get out of this feature will likely depend on whether or not you’re left-handed or ambidextrous. As with many touch systems, this is likely to prove more distracting than physical controls, so if that bothers you, it may be worth considering a car with more conventional controls.

Details on the DS 4’s safety systems aren’t as fleshed out at the time of writing, though we do know the car will be available with assists like adaptive cruise control and blind spot monitoring tech. Go for the slightly SUV-inspired Cross trim, and you’ll also have access to a traction control system with specific settings for driving on slippery surfaces like snow and mud.

2021 DS 4 prices and release date

The new DS 4 will go on sale in the UK in November 2021. No prices have been revealed at the time of writing, though it’s expected the DS 4 will start from around £27,000.

 

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