DS is back in the compact sedan segment after a two-year absence and the discontinuation of the first generation of DS 4 in 2018. A comeback that comes after the brand took advantage of this time to invest in the segment of Urban SUVs with the DS 3 Crossback and large saloons (DS 9).
Design: assertive personality versus fluidity
The first DS 4 launched in 2011 never had the expected success. This second seems at first glance better armed with an exterior style much more assertive than the previous one, which results in a face similar to that of the other models of the brand, with for example a large grille, imposing and worked with specific patterns. This strong personality also requires particular attention to the light signature, made up of L-shaped daytime running lights. More classic style for the A-Class which shares many points of resemblance with the brand’s other models, in particular the Mercedes CLS or the C-Class, which has just been restyled in particular at the level of the grille and the optics.
The character of the DS is confirmed above all at the rear part with a very original rear quarter panel featuring very marked body folds, a strong shoulder and a very horizontal stern. The rear window, for its part, receives a unique treatment through silkscreen printing. Among the other specificities, we note the retractable door handles but also the large diameter rims (19 or 20 inches). The designers at DS have taken great care in the proportions and it shows because their latest born gives the impression of being longer than reality. The whole is undeniably statutory and exudes a real cachet. Next to the French, the lines of the German appear to be simpler, less sought after in any case, but they give off a greater dynamism. It’s up to everyone to make their choice.
Interior: quality or techno
Inside, the distinct philosophy of these two models is even more obvious. In line with its credo, DS claims the mix between luxury and technology. If the first point is clear in particular due to the use of noble materials such as leather, alcantara, wood or aluminum, it is above all the way of working them that makes the difference. image of the upholstery like a watch strap, the presence of stitching or pearl stitch as well as guilloche, a decorative aluminum technique, two specificities of DS.
All the materials that are to be touched are soft or receive a foam treatment. This is the case for the entire upper part of the dashboard, the center console or the particularly well-designed interior doors. Mercedes also takes care of the occupants but the star firm is a bit below with a slightly less neat presentation.
It is ultimately the technology that is the most debated aboard the DS 4. Certainly, it is present with a 10-inch multimedia screen equipped with a new system much more efficient than the current one, which can be ordered. with the “Smart Touch”, a 5-inch screen near the gear lever, a 10-inch color head-up display, but it is the instrumentation of only 7 inches that disappoints, especially in front of the double panel of 10, 25 inches of Mercedes that dazzles. Totally configurable, it multiplies the possibilities of customization with a left part controllable by a pad positioned on the left on the steering wheel while the tactile multimedia can also be controlled by a pad located on the steering wheel, or on the central console. The installation of this slab has direct repercussions on the design of the Mercedes, less massive but above all more modern with in particular its circular ventilation nozzles.
The DS board plays more on the cocoon side since it is particularly enveloping and overflows on the doors, which accommodate the side air vents, and finally (!) The unexpectedly integrated window regulator controls. The whole is more imposing and traditional in the end.
Practical aspects: the DS4 provides
The DS 4 has a larger loading volume than the Class A with 430 against 370 liters.
In terms of dimensions, the DS4 and the Class A display identical measurements with a length of 4.40 m. On the other hand, the DS is wider (1.83 m against 1.80 m) and higher (1.47 m against 1.40 m). Despite this, the trunk is larger on board the DS4 (430 liters against 370 liters for the Class A). And the same is true in their rechargeable hybrid versions which both lose capacity due to the batteries.
The rear roominess is very close, even if the Mercedes offers a greater interior width.
Regarding livability, the DS 4 is also distinguished by interior dimensions very close to those of the German. A good point knowing the difference in external measurements. The A-Class has just an upper interior width of 3 cm.
Equipment: an impressive DS 4
One of the strengths of the DS is its endowment. It offers equipment usually reserved for the upper segment, such as night vision or automatic suspension working in conjunction with a camera. The Mercedes is far from being outdated with for example augmented reality navigation, but a lot of things are optional on the German.
Engine: Class A advantage
Under the hood, the A-Class offers a wider range of engines with three diesels (116 hp, 150 hp and 190 hp) against one for the DS 4 (130 hp), 5 petrol (110 hp, 136 hp, 163 hp and the two sport versions 35 (306 hp) and 45 AMG (421 hp)) against 3 for the DS 4 (130 hp, 180 hp and 225 hp). Both have a plug-in hybrid version of 225 hp in their catalog.
To remember: a well-born DS 4
Even if the road qualities of this DS 4 are not yet known since the tests should take place in the second half of 2021, the new French premium compact clearly has weighty arguments to gain a place in this segment historically dominated by German brands. . We can cite its strong personality, its qualitative interior presentation, its ultra-complete equipment or its well-thought-out practical aspects. It remains to discover the prices in a few weeks with the revelation of the launch version called “La Première” which will give some clues. In the meantime, the Class A confirms to be one of the benchmarks of the category thanks to its technology and its dynamism, but the German must be wary.