The DS marque’s expansion in the UK has so far been more leisurely than relentless, mostly because the cars offered haven’t been in the main premium user-chooser battlegrounds. But the arrival of the new DS 4, a genuine rival for both the Audi A3 and BMW X2, puts Stellantis’s ‘savoir faire’ marque on course to double the size of its UK foothold and eclipse brands like Jaguar and Lexus for outright sales volume.
For a brand whose annual sales will run to 4000-odd units after deliveries begin at the turn of the year, the 4 comes with a plethora of models – trim levels (in ascending order) with exotic names such as Bastille, Trocadero, Rivoli and the range-topping La Première. All are surprisingly well equipped, featuring things like standard automatic transmissions, flush door handles and LED matrix headlights.
There are also three body looks – a chrome-heavy standard offering just called DS, a DS Performance Line with sporty black wheels (and the shiny body bits in black) and a DS Cross, which has the same suspension and ride height as the others but the prominent skidplates and roof bars of a crossover to take the fight to the likes of the BMW X2. DS is determined to cover every base.
There are also five powertrains (three petrol, one diesel and one petrol plug-in hybrid) distributed across the model line-up and even those that don’t plug in are electrified in the sense that they use integrated starter-generators to augment their off-the-mark efficiency.
It’s all a bit bewildering at first, especially if you’re not holding a brochure, but potential 4 customers (who can order cars now and get them from January) can be pretty sure there’s a model that targets them directly. We tested two versions, the Puretech 130 and the E-Tense 225 PHEV, majoring on the second not least because DS’s people say it will be the popular one in the UK.