First local drive in DS4: champagne can be opened
You can count peas, you can compare accessories, argue about horsepower and performance.
But the DS4 and its customer base are not interested at all.
This car has one required achievement - to be different from them all
Thursday, August 11, 2022, 07:01 Updated: 07:21
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It's not supposed to be "beautiful" it's supposed to be designed (Photo: Ronen Topelberg)
In the luxury brand of Stellentis - DS, we made one thing clear from the beginning, we are not making gestures here, there will be no retro here, our use of these letters does not bind us to the same historical car, but connects us to the French tradition of refinement, high fashion and style.
We will be the Chanel and Hermes of the automotive world.
These letters are the ones that will help us make the German compacts an inverted Mazino line in the motorized version - we will come to them in a circle and cut them off from the unexpected place.
Somewhere in the 1950s, the Citroen DS was a revolutionary French car, one that was ahead of its time and remains so decades later, it was ground-breaking, innovative, progressive, iconic, but not quite completely world-changing.
Today in 2022 the DS4 is the one who wants to make a French revolution, does it have a chance to do it?
A wealth of materials, metal, leather, wood, fabric, all at a very high level of quality and workmanship (photo: Ronen Topelberg)
The first thing that is clear upon meeting her is that they don't come here to play "what do you remind me of", because she is simply very different.
We won't talk about beautiful or not, because like a cucumber in salt or a gherkin in vinegar and sugar - it's a matter of taste.
But one cannot ignore the fact that it is designed from the valve to the tip of the tampon.
Unlike other manufacturers that need to "look like everyone in the family", DS doesn't have that and its designers have taken advantage of it to the fullest.
The cabin has a mixture of materials, textures, colors and combinations.
From natural wood to metal with a delicate diamond pattern, each seam leads to a certain place, each panel is placed in its place for a specific reason that relates to the rhombuses in the console that correspond to the one in the rear window, which is related to the logo and so on.
It even has designer seats that you won't see anywhere else.
It starts with their appearance, the unique stitching that looks like something you'd order from an upholsterer especially for your car.
The body support is very good, but I can understand some that would lack padding and thickness.
The seats themselves are electric and with a lot of options for hardening and adjusting them, and there are other things, but this is in the accessories sections.
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The smart screen looks like a gimmick, technophobes will be put off, but it is quite useful (Photo: Ronen Topelberg)
Human engineering here has two parts, the technical and the technological.
The technical can be defined as "strange" in some cases;
Direction of air conditioning vents which is done up and down with one handle and left and right with a roller, the window controls which are beautifully sculpted and fit into the door, but are located in an inconvenient way.
And the cup holders, who thought of putting them behind the smart touch screen in a way that they are not accessible and obviously it is a matter of time before something is spilled on it?
The screen itself is interesting for the first few minutes, and at first you don't think it's something that completely changes the operation of the passenger cabin as you know it.
Only after two days of use do you learn to appreciate the possibilities of creating a "home screen" of shortcuts that make life very easy in its operation.
The feature that allows you to "write" on it should only be used when the car is stationary.
They not only look great, they are also very comfortable and that's before we mentioned heating, ventilation and massage (Photo: Ronen Topelberg)
In the technological aspect, it is actually very impressive in cracking lots and lots of systems and subsystems on the one hand, but not in the German approach with fixed menus that "if this is how we chose to do it, it is the best and if you know what is good for you, you will adjust yourself" but with the ability Customization of all components in the display and operation, almost unlimited freedom for the driver to define, regulate, display, sort, make accessible and other such actions.
There's even a whole library of video tutorials explaining how to run all this beauty, worth a binge.
The amount of storage compartments is good, it is good to see at least here the clean design of the compartment and the many gimmicks in it do not come at the expense of usability.
Reasonable space, but the quality you get from the back is also impressive (Photo: Ronan Topelberg)
The DS4 in the "Cross" trim level is loaded with equipment, from the "off-road" design package on the outside to the passenger cabin that contains treats that you won't always find in a category or two above it - not just the panoramic sunroof, not the voice assistant, I'm talking about massage for the seats with 8 programs and 3 levels of strength, seat cooling which was a definite pleasure in August of the Jordan Valley, sharp and accurate Matrix-LED lighting, an expanded and colorful overhead display (which during the test went a bit wrong on two occasions and then came back to work properly after repeated driving - the subject is being tested) and more.
The advanced safety systems include rear cross traffic warning, lane deviation correction including keeping the center of the lane, warning of a vehicle in a "dead zone", automatic braking, adaptive cruise control, speed sign recognition and speed adjustment in the cruise control.
The design takes a price from the structure, the plug drive does not take a price from the volume (photo: Keinan Cohen)
As far as the back seat is concerned, given the large door that leads to it, you would expect to find a very large entry opening, but this is not the case and entry is generally reasonable.
It's just that if you drive passengers on a regular basis, it might be worth giving up the part of the driver's seat that moves back when the car is turned off.
The legroom is good in terms of compactness and the headroom is very good.
There are two charging sockets and air conditioning for those sitting in the back and to her credit it should be noted that there are almost no quality differences in terms of materials between what is happening here and what is in front, it is unclear which ones.
There is not much to dwell on the trunk, a medium volume of 390 liters, a high loading threshold (the price of the batteries below it) and a not generous opening considering the fact that it is a hatchback (the price of the design).
Quick, nothing more.
This is the biggest compliment that can be given to her performance (Photo: Ronan Topelberg)
A quick positioning in the driver's seat reveals a seat that is "inside" the car, the relatively angular hood facilitates the ability to position the corners of the vehicle, and in any case it is equipped with the many accepted sensors.
The rest of the outward visibility is reasonable overall, the A-beams are a bit thick, the rear window is too small for my taste and the side mirrors should be made larger, certainly when the outward visibility is not optimal.
The DS4 has two drive units, one with a gasoline engine only and the other plug-in that we are testing here.
This version combines a gasoline engine and an electric engine with the possibility of charging a 12.4 kWh battery and a declared driving range of up to 59 km on electric power.
We managed to reach 51 km on a hot day with a very active air conditioner. Both versions have the same power - 225 hp and the same gasoline unit - 1.6 liters supercharged, the same gearbox - with 8 transmission ratios and front wheel drive.
As for Mina, with the electric boost running out, it's a bit difficult for the gasoline engine to impress (Photo: Ronan Toppelberg)
As long as the battery is charged and both engines are working together, the DS4 is a reasonably nimble car.
Agile, not sporty, there's no sticking your head to the armrest and catching your breath, but the pace is peppered and the combination of the electric motor with the gasoline one creates quick reactions of quick response to the accelerator pedal and then the gasoline engine joins in when it's in its effective range.
Its big problem, as with all plug-in chargers with a relatively large battery, is that when the battery runs out, you are left with the gasoline engine, which has to carry an extra weight of 234 kg, which means carrying everywhere the equivalent of the weight of two average adults and a child. This also means an engine that makes an effort and does That in a noise that is far from stimulating.
The 8-speed gearbox works great with the engine, the gear shifts are smooth and pleasant, and it's quite clear, when you want something pleasant - there is no substitute for a good planetary gearbox.
There were two times during the test when a combination to D was accompanied by a slight shaking of the car, I was not able to reproduce it with a combination of uphill jumps, level, descent, in different combinations of the drive systems and so on.
In sport mode, the roll angle is neutralized, but the DS4 is really not sporty (photo: Ronen Toppelberg)
As a car that doesn't even try to pass itself off as sporty, the DS4's expectations on a twisty road are quite modest.
She does not disappoint and answers them exactly in this way - mildly.
The steering wheel is very quick, but there is no precision in the way it puts the nose into a turn - it is not a BMW.
There's really nothing to talk about about weight, whether it's under acceleration, in its turn or braking - the weight is almost the same, so it's impossible to know exactly what's going on below.
The road behavior is with a distinct tendency to trust and predict.
As long as you are in a normal driving mode, the roll angles will reduce the desire to drive fast and if you overdo it, it will widen the turn with the nose.
Switching to sport mode improves the business in terms of supporting the body and reducing roll angles, as well as the speed and precision of the steering wheel, mainly due to adding "weight" to the steering wheel.
Brakes in a car like this, with an energy recovery system in braking, what is called regenerative braking, tend to exhibit a graded and unnatural braking character, where at the beginning of the move it is the electrical system that converts the energy to recharge the batteries and only after that comes mechanical braking.
So here it is, too, with a somewhat stressful initial move where there is no initial "bite" of power.
The ride comfort and noise insulation are excellent (Photo: Ronan Topelberg)
On all types of roads and highways, and even on a single dirt road, the ride comfort remains excellent.
This arrangement of the camera that scans the front cabin and adjusts the operation of the brakes, similar to the one we already met on the DS7, works exceptionally here as well.
and allows her excellent ride comfort despite the 19-inch rims.
The noise insulation is excellent throughout the speed range, making it an easy, comfortable and pleasant car to drive a lot and long distances.
The only place where it does it less well is the neutralization of the engine sound, sorry, the engine noise which, as mentioned, penetrates easily into the passenger compartment and its sound is not particularly evening.
As usual, fuel consumption in a plug-in car can be completely different depending on the nature of use.
For those who do not exceed those 50 km a day and charge the vehicle upon arriving home, arriving at a gas station will be very rare. In our moderate use of the test days, the consumption was 12.8 km per liter.
Likely a minus, but again, may very well not reflect vehicle use under other conditions.
Each version has a matching exterior finish, in the CROSS these are terrain-like elements such as the black skirts (Photo: Ronen Topelberg)
The concept of luxury or the concept of a premium brand is a very elusive field.
There will be those for whom this identification must be associated with the emblem on the front, and it doesn't matter to them whether it is a BMW 1 Series that shares a platform with a Mini or an Audi A3 that is actually a very fancy Volkswagen Golf.
DS is trying to penetrate this world without any real tradition and it is not an easy challenge, Lexus has been on this path since 1989, Volvo has been on this journey for years, Genesis started it in recent years and there are no shortcuts in this story.
But there is also another audience towards which DS is aimed, one that defines luxury as exclusivity, as a product that does not necessarily carry a glorious history, but brings with it added value from somewhere else.
It could be a Tesla with technology, innovative image and performance and it could be a DS with a product that packs into what the other manufacturers call an "entry model" the best it has to offer.
Not as revolutionary, daring and innovative as the original, but trying to keep the spirit of the avant-garde (photo: manufacturer's website)
Although it still has a long way to go to be in the first line of these brands in terms of perception, and I also have a fear that it will fall in love with gimmicks and forget that in the end it also needs to be a good car and not just a platform for tricks - the bottom line is that this DS4 is the first time that a product that carries This symbol gives a feeling that here, it has what it takes to look at the Germans in the white of the LED lights and not to blink.
In a price range that starts at NIS 219,000 and goes up to NIS 279,000 for the test car, it is a car that can be better or worse in one or another section than its competitors, and the discussion about what you get here for this amount compared to what other companies in its group give misses another point, that DS in general and DS4 in particular has managed to carve a refreshing niche for itself in this crowded market without trying to be someone else - and there are quite a few people that is exactly what they are looking for in a world where cars become clones of clones.
It is not certain that being sold in quantities serves the part of remaining unique for her (Photo: Ronan Topelberg)
On the technical side: DS4 plug-in CROSS RIVOLI
gasoline, plug-in hybrid, front
automatic, 8 gears
Fuel consumption (test):
12.8 km per liter
Audi Q3, BMW 1 Series, Mercedes A Class,