We drove the DS4 Rivoli E Tense 225: the goddess enters the C segment…

The new DS4 is styled to make its mark in the competitive C segment, to bring a touch of French refinement and panache in its class.

Already at the first presentation of the DS4 in Chantilly, we were impressed. We now had the chance to drive this elegant Crossover SUV on our roads for a longer test, and we must admit that it was a very convincing experience indeed. Just read further…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Seeing the new DS4 and walking around it, one has to admit: this is a well proportioned, timelessly styled car, with unique contours and styling elements, clearly showing that its designer wanted this DS4 to really stand out.

The volumes are carefully balanced, front, side or rear, the DS4 shows character and elegance. The grille and sidelights at the front, the elegantly chiseled rear lights, the flush door handles, popping up when one approaches, the up to 20 inch wheels, this DS4 has the elegant and refined shapes which are appealing. The DS4 recently won also accolades for its styling…

This French couture-like “savoir faire” continues in the interior. Dashboard, centre console and seats breathe distinction, with styling never interfering with functionality.

The higher waistline of the whole car, being a crossover SUV, results also in cabin proportions which invariably invite you to cocoon in its interior, with the DS (and Citroën) extra thick foam-padded seats enveloping you.

The well finished panels of the dashboard and console awake your senses, and you invariably enjoy the refinement of it all, finding it a pleasure to touch and look at.

Take your time to familiarize yourself with its sculpted controls, from the lozenge shaped starting button to the writing pad above the gear selector, and of course the latest generation infotainment which the Stellantis group now offers in its cars.

Besides the clean and to the point driving information displayed by the instrument panel in front of the driver, our test car came in its posh Rivoli equipment level also with an informative and well to read overhead display with augmented reality.

Refined power…

The E-Tense PHEV drivetrain is nothing less than top notch. Shared with other brands and models within the Stellantis Group, it impresses with its smooth, feline power. Driving the front wheels through an 8 speed automatic is a 1,6 petrol engine combined with an electric motor. Total system power is more than enough, with not less than 165 kW/225 PS and maximum torque of 360 Nm. This results in very lively performance: accelerating from standstill is quite powerful, and 100 km/h is thanks to the assistance of the electric motor effortlessly reached in just 7,7 seconds.

Delightful indeed, and the fun doesn’t stop there, as this DS4 is also quite formidable on the motorway: it top speed is not less than 233 km/h.

But besides all this power, it is also the smoothness and the overall silence and refinement of the drivetrain which really stands out. Your servant also considers this to be far more important than outright performance in our modern everyday traffic, and found it a strong point that the DS4 also delivers in this respect.

The combination of performance with the refined charms of electrification and on top of that the absence of any lengthy refueling worries will make me opt for the hybrid solution for the time being, considering the present state of the charging infrastructure on our shores. The DS4 proved again to be a case in point.

DS Automobiles, or rather Stellantis Group for that matter, succeeded in developing a drivetrain with a very smooth and fluent power delivery, with imperceptible gear changes, instant responsiveness and overall very good mechanical quietness. Just when the battery is almost depleted and in kick-down situations, the pleasant roar of the high performance four cylinder is briefly heard, being not obtrusive at all.

Consumption of this PHEV is totally determined by how you use it. Frequent recharging of its 12,4 kW battery via plug-in and driving frequently short distances will of course let you drive with E-power most of the time, with fuel consumption consequently dropping below 2 litres/100 km. Driving briskly with a depleted battery will push the consumption to the other hand of the scale, as the petrol engine is doing almost all the work. Suffice to say that sitting snugly in the comfortable DS, driving with restraint and enjoying fully the good sound insulation of this refined car and its silent drivetrain, we achieved typically a consumption between 5 and 6 litres/100 km.

Divine comfort

The forte of the DS4 is of course its comfort. It will come as no surprise to you that we drove our test car in the comfort mode most of the time. The DS scans the road ahead for irregularities with a camera, and adapts the active suspension accordingly. Impressive to say the least, and we enjoyed the resulting comfort indeed. It is not so soft as the legendary hydropneumatic suspension of the DS 19, but it doesn’t have to be.

This is an active suspension, and it combines a more dynamic setup, necessary to contain the impressive power and torque, with nevertheless stunning “souplesse” and comfort, which makes this DS also the long legged cruiser able to maintain high speeds completely effortlessly on miserable, wet roads.

The steering is light, well insulated from road irregularities and the steering wheel is also a delight to touch, delicately covered by hand stitched leader. We saw one of the craftsmen at work at the DS4 inaugural presentation at Chantilly, and it was truly stunning to see.

I could not resist to show you a photo of this demonstration here. The DS philosophy behind it is right: the steering wheel is what your hands feel and touch; it is your main contact with the car, so it better be a work of art and craftsmanship…

Seating comfort is excellent fore and aft, (very) tall persons will find leg- and headroom in the rear somewhat restricted. If more limousine space is wanted, the DS lover can opt for the majestic DS9, which we drove too, and we will tell you our impressions also soon…

The DS4 will offer you all the thinkable driving aids, and of course also the necessary camera’s to safely maneuver the car. Boot space is still a useable 390 liters in the PHEV version, and of course the backrests of the rear seats can be folded back, so the trip to the “antiquaire” can be crowned with success.


The DS4 has all the endearing French style, character and panache to win your car loving heart. Well designed with lots of “génie Francais”, it is expertly built in German Rüsselsheim.

It has the soothing comfort and road manners of its iconic and legendary DS19 predecessor, which in my eyes makes it even more attractive. It is also timelessly styled, and will be your elegant companion for years to come.

So you want to make a statement in the C segment? Slide behind the hand stitched wheel of this electrified goddess…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

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