The avant-garde hatchback DS 4 is, together with the SUV DS 7, the sales force of the young French brand DS Automobiles. Although the car shares a platform with its counterparts from, for example, Peugeot, Citroën and Opel, it offers several unique features that no one in the family has.

Photo: Jiří Cermák

The clear signature of the DS 4 is the front light tusks.

Unique is the design, of course, which quite clearly defines the fact that the DS tries to loosen up rather than stick to the ground. How else do you want to explain the large daytime running lights and slim LED lamps equipped with Matrix technology, which is slowly entering the compact car segment.

And the same is the case at the back, where geometrically cut diode lamps with a three-dimensional effect, which correlate with the angular exhaust tips, have their place. In short, convention goes by the wayside, which, after all, will support the retractable door handles, already known from the DS 3 or DS 9.

Photo: Jiří Cermák

You can also clearly recognize the car from the back, especially by the logo, lights or exhaust tips.

Interesting symbolism can also be found on the rear pillars, where the DS logo stands out. By the way, the first generation BMW X2 SUV also had a similar “feature”, which, however, has grown into a very strange SUV-coupe today. Looking further at the DS 4 mirror caps, you’ll discover a laser-engraved Esprit de Voyage edition symbol. And they only have edition “dé-esques”.

What makes the DS 4 Esprit de Voyage different?

The French art of traveling in the Esprit de Voyage model is expressed both outside and inside, with specific design elements. In the exterior, it is the black edging of the unique edition mask and windows, which disappears in combination with the black metallic. In addition, the car will offer unique wheels, the mentioned mirror covers, modified rear lamps and a black roof.

Photo: Jiří Cermák

You can find the Esprit de Voyage logo, for example, on the mirror cover.

Inside, we’re talking about the gray edition leather upholstery, the edition signature on the right side of the dashboard and the decorative door sill plates.

Family uniques

However, anyone can make a nice car these days, so the more substantial and unique things can be found inside. Looking at the dashboard, you may recall some shapes and features similar to other cars from the German-French family, but such a head-up display is a separate chapter for the DS 4.

A relatively wide image projected on the windshield will provide basic speed data, but mainly it will show you the map and navigation in front of your eyes. He gets used to that head-up so quickly, which also has an effect on the driver’s less distraction while driving. In short, in the driver’s field of vision, he can immediately see how fast he is going and where he is going.

Photo: Jiří Cermák

The map can also be played in the digital instrument panel.

The info system also plays an important role in the car, however, many models of the Stellantis family already have an interface solved in the form of widgets and TomTom online navigation, according to which you can, among other things, drive decently. The DS 4 has a certain advantage hidden in the smaller display on the center tunnel, which serves two purposes.

On the one hand, it supports writing text with your finger, so you can enter an address into the navigation by typing like the BMW iDrive interface, and you can also configure access shortcuts to applications or temperature. Simply by touching and dragging your finger, you can open the menu for seats, music or set the temperature of the driver/passenger to, for example, 22 degrees.

Photo: Jiří Cermák

The display in the middle is used for writing and for calling up shortcuts within the info system.

Those who are not attracted by shortcuts have to accept the fact that you can adjust the climate control via the touch menu. Seat heating, massage or steering wheel heating are activated in the same (touch) way. However, some elements can be placed on the main screen in the form of widgets, which will simplify your life again.

Part of the optional equipment is also a passive night vision device (night vision), which you can also find in selected models from Peugeot. There are also massage ventilated seats inside, but they also have their place in other Stellantis cars.

Photo: Jiří Cermák

Leather seats offer heating, massage and ventilation.

An interesting feature reserved for the DS 4 (and DS 7, DS9) is the optional camera-controlled adaptive suspension. Optics located at the front scan the road and, according to the results, adjusts the stiffness of the car’s shock absorbers in comfort mode.

For the DS 4, there is also specific leather upholstery scattered throughout the cabin, including the seats, door panels and the dashboard, where the Esprit de Voyage edition symbol is located on the right. And it should be noted that the DS’s upholstery is manual work, not machine work.

Put back the iron

The driving comfort of the Esprit de Voyage edition is no different from the regular version. The front suspension is independent, at the back you will find a classic crank, from which it follows that the DS 4 will offer exclusively front-wheel drive. In any case, the chassis is tuned for comfort even in the ordinary version without a control camera, so it only sounds when you sweep a deeper unevenness.

Photo: Jiří Cermák

The drive system consists of a 1.6-liter engine (180 hp) and an electric motor (110 hp).

Don’t look for sporting ambitions in a car. Although it offers 225 horsepower and an eight-speed automatic transmission, this top-of-the-line version is a plug-in hybrid, where consumption plays a leading role. You can only achieve a decent one by regularly charging and then using electricity in a meaningful way.

Of course, if you know that you will only drive around the city and the surrounding area and drive plus or minus 35 km from charging to charging, then it makes sense to drive the route on the battery. For longer journeys, it is advisable to leave with a full battery, but switch the car to hybrid mode and let it know where you are headed using the navigation.

Photo: Jiří Cermák

Driving according to navigation will help the car to use electricity more efficiently.

According to the map documents, the car schedules the distribution of the electricity stored in the traction accumulator with a gross capacity of 12.4 kWh. On the face of it, it is a small battery for today’s time. A car of this class would deserve a slightly juicier energy storage.

Even so, the car can be combined, in our case with the majority of highways involved, to drive around five liters per hundred, which is a decent result for an electrified petrol 16-litre with a turbo. If you slow down on the highways, the car’s fuel consumption drops even more, to around four per hundred.

Apart from the small battery and the loss of physical buttons, you’d probably find little to dislike about the car, but advanced plug-in hybrid users will be upset about one thing. Many models of the former PSA concern (Peugeot, Citroën, DS, later Opel) lost the automatic gear lever in the shape of an iron. The controller replaced the compact slider, however, the activation of strong recovery (mode B) moved to a button.

And that is very unergonomic, especially if you want to use mode B as an engine brake, i.e. effectively recuperate where it makes sense (saves brakes, fuel…). While it was enough to pull the iron almost blindly and the B mode was active, when hunting for the button it is usually necessary to look away from the central tunnel and look for the activation button. Well, golden iron…

In the Czech Republic, the DS 4 is at the bottom of the second ten in its segment of compact cars (out of 32 positions) with less than a hundred units sold this year. A car aimed more at individualists, for whom not only the car as such, but also the history and philosophy of the brand is important, costs CZK 825,000 with the basic 130-horsepower three-cylinder 1.2-liter gasoline engine, while the 130-horsepower four-cylinder 1.5-liter diesel is 50,000 more expensive. The cheapest plug-in hybrid E-Tense 225 hp will then cost 1,205,000 CZK, while the equipped Esprit de Voyage edition costs from 1,514,000 CZK.

Specifications DS 4 E-Tense 225
Motor in-line four-cylinder + electric motor
Fuel petrol
Displacement volume 1,598 cm3
Performance 133 kW (180.8 hp) at 6,000 rpm
Torque 250 Nm at 1,750 rpm
Electric motor 110 is 320 Nm
The combined performance of the hybrid system 225 hp and 360 Nm
Transmission automatic, 8 degrees
Tree front wheels
Operating weight 1 653 kg
Acceleration 0-100 km/h 7,7 s
Maximal speed 233 km/h
Fuel tank volume 40 l
Battery capacity 12,4 kWh
Electric range 54 km
Standardized combined consumption 1.2–1.3 l/100 km
Charging 3.3 kW, optional 7.4 kW
Wheels and tires 205/55 R19
Dimensions (length/width/height) 4 400/1 866/1 490 mm
Wheelbase 2 675 mm
Volume of the luggage compartment 390 l