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2021 DS 4 E-TENSE plug-in hybrid: specs, trim levels and prices

DS' new luxury plug-in hybrid hatchback is available in standard, Performance Line and SUV-esque Cross form, with prices starting from £36,600

The DS 4 E-TENSE is on sale now, with first deliveries set to begin later this year. The upmarket plug-in hybrid hatchback is available in three distinct versions: the standard DS 4, the SUV-styled DS 4 Cross and the more athletic looking DS 4 Performance Line.

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One of many electrified compact premium models arriving at the moment, the DS 4 E-TENSE’s rivals include the Audi A3 and Q3 TFSI e, the Volvo XC40 Recharge T4 and T5 and the BMW X1 xDrive25e, plus the Mercedes A 250 e and the Mercedes GLA 250 e.

It’s also the latest electrified model in the premium French brand’s line-up after the plug-in hybrid DS 7 SUV and DS 9 saloon, as well as the DS 3 electric SUV.

A pure electric version of the French brand’s hatch-cum-crossover will eventually be available in 2024, likely using the same powertrain as the forthcoming Vauxhall Astra-e. However, details on pricing, battery and range for the zero-emissions version of the DS 4 have yet to be disclosed.

Keep scrolling for more information, or to get our verdict on what the DS 4 E-TENSE is like on the road, you can read our full review here.

DS 4 E-TENSE powertrains and range

The plug-in hybrid E-TENSE’s powertrain consists of a 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine and electric motor, producing a combined total of 222bhp and offering an electric range of around 35 miles thanks to a 12.4kWh battery.

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The plug-in version of the DS 4 can also return up to 183.8mpg, while emitting as little as 34g/km of CO2. An eight-speed automatic gearbox is the only transmission choice.

Like any plug-in hybrid, you’ll need to top up the battery regularly to achieve close to the claimed fuel economy figure. A 7kW home wallbox will fully recharge the DS 4’s battery in just two hours, while using a three-pin plug will increase that time to around seven hours.

The now familiar petrol-electric PHEV powertrain is the same as you’ll find in other DS models like the DS 7 Crossback E-TENSE large SUV and DS 9 E-TENSE luxury saloon, as well as other Stellantis Group models such as the Peugeot 3008 Hybrid, Vauxhall Grandland Hybrid and Citroen C5 Hybrid.

Trim levels and specifications

All plug-in hybrid E-TENSE versions of the DS 4 feature Active Scan Suspension (more on that below) as standard, as well as a seven-inch digital driver’s display and 10-inch central touchscreen running DS’s Iris infotainment system.

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While the base DS 4 isn’t available with the plug-in hybrid powertrain, it is an option if you go for the Trocadero trim. Prices start from £36,600, with Trocadero models featuring 19-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels and a chrome finished front grille.

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Above that is the Rivoli trim, which gets you upgraded alloy wheels, black leather interior trim, Matrix LED headlights, plus a number of additional safety features, including ‘DS DRIVE ASSIST’. This enables Level 2 semi-autonomous driving and incorporates Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop and Go, among other systems. Prices for the DS 4 E-TENSE in Rivoli trim start from £40,100.

In addition, both these versions of the DS 4 are available on the SUV-styled Cross model for an extra £600, though the changes here are completely visual with the addition of roof bars and black exterior trim – the ride height is unchanged.

The Cross can be given a modicum of off-road ability by specifying the optional Advanced Traction Control, however, which incorporates modes for tackling sand, snow and mud, along with hill-descent control. All DS 4 Cross models also get the extended head-up display setup.

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Alternatively, Performance Line cars get a more “athletic look”, plus LED lights and a parking camera, Alcantara upholstery and the same 10-inch touchscreen. Above that sits the Performance Line+, which brings extra infotainment features, a head-up display and various semi-autonomous drive functions. The DS 4 in Performance Line and Performance Line+ trim starts from £34,600 and £38,100 respectively.

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For a time, the DS 4 E-TENSE was also available in the generously equipped La Premiere launch edition trim, which is no longer available to order. These models featured Nappa leather upholstery, the extended head-up display, plus cooling, heating and massage functions for the driver’s seat. Customers could also specify an optional 14-speaker Focal sound system and the DS night vision system, with a choice of two paint colours – Lacquered Grey or Pearl Crystal – as well as 19 or 20-inch alloy wheels.

Design, interior and tech

All versions of the DS 4 have what its maker describes as "a digital interior". A key feature is 'invisible' air vents, named 'DS AIR' by the brand. It uses compact air vents mounted high up in the cabin, with hidden blades. DS says this removes the need for vents to be integrated into the dashboard, allowing it to be more flowing and less cluttered. Materials used inside to give a high-end luxury feel include various types of leather, Alcantara, forged carbon and wood.

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Interior technology includes an extended head-up display with augmented reality, intended to minimise the amount of time the driver needs to take their eyes off the road. Using an optical illusion, this system will seemingly project information on the road ahead as you look out the windscreen, following your gaze in the process. Information projected will include your current speed, driver-aid indications, navigation directions, warning messages or music track names. The head-up display will also be used for the car's infrared night-vision system, which is available as an optional extra.

All E-TENSE versions of the DS 4 come equipped with the company’s Active Scan Suspension. The system operates via a camera on the windscreen to monitor the road ahead for bumps or cracks, adjusting the car’s suspension in response to any imperfections it detects.

The design of the DS 4 was inspired by the company's Aero Sport Lounge concept, which was unveiled in February 2020, but never got to make a public debut due to cancellation of the Geneva Motor Show. It measures 4.4 metres long, 1.83 metres wide and 1.47 metres high. Up front, there's a new light signature embedded in the slim LED matrix projector headlights, as well as LED daytime running lights, with wheel sizes up to 20 inches  available, too.

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Welcome one and all, I’m Ellis the news reporter on Auto Express, the brand’s former online reviews editor and contributor to DrivingElectric. I’m proud to say I cut my teeth reporting and reviewing all things EV as the content editor on DrivingElectric. I joined the team while completing my master’s degree in automotive journalism at Coventry University and since then I’ve driven just about every electric car and hybrid I could get my hands on.

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