DS4 Cross Rivoli E-Tense 225 PHEV review.
For – looks terrific, memorable interior, lively performance, easy cruiser.
Against – memorable interior might be gimmicky to some, pricey, not German.
Competition – Audi A3, Seat Cupra Formentor, Peugeot 308, Vauxhall Astra, Mercedes A250e, Kia Ceed
“Sadly, the price isn’t much of an incentive to dump EV and go PHEV”
My love affair with plug-in hybrids gets more intense after driving this DS4 version with 225 hp, despite the actual battery capacity falling nearly 25% short of the claim.
I managed an average 29.3 miles when filling up the battery compared with the 38.5-mile claim, but this still managed to cover my day-to-day requirements for shopping, local stuff and almost a 34-mile round trip to my golf club. With a bit more regenerative braking practice I reckon I could just about do that without the petrol engine firing up.
DS claims fuel economy of between 232.2 to 183.8 mpg while my WintonsWorld estimate was 160.7 mpg. Let’s face it, all these numbers are pure fantasy because the assumed driving distance is simply arbitrary. The only number that matters is the battery capacity compared with your daily needs. The other important number is the miles per gallon you manage on a long, say, 4-hour journey after the battery is exhausted. I didn’t manage such a trip, but the overall mileage available meter was well over 300 most of the time during my week-long test. Expect about 45 mpg in long-distance cruise mode. And so much better than the average electric car which will drive you nuts on a long run. Sadly, the price of this version of £42,200 isn’t much of an incentive to dump EV and go PHEV.
The car’s interior was luxurious as you’d expect. There was much leather and carefully designed little switches for windows and operational buttons, and a very smart diamond motif across the dashboard. It all felt very premium. I especially loved the head-up display, which projects key numbers like speed and sat-nav directions at eye-level towards the end of the bonnet. There was limited space in the back, and the boot was a weird shape meaning rear-seat folding to accommodate golf clubs. At these prices, I would expect at least the driver’s seat to be electric, four-wheel drive, and the rear door to be powered up and down. There was a little touch screen just in front of the gear selection mechanism to make it easier and safer to use the sound system and various controls.
The paint job and the body-work also seemed top class.
On the road performance was very impressive, quite adequate for anyone normal. The petrol engine cut in with an unobtrusive lack of fanfare, demonstrating its ability to perform almost as quietly as in electric-only mode.
Prices for the DS 4 start at £25,350 for the range of petrol, diesel, and hybrids. The plug-in hybrids start at a pricey £36,100, in Performance Line trim. Don’t forget, hybrids provide an electric motor to work with the petrol engine to add power or economy as the need arises. Hybrids have very little battery-only ability, but the plug-in hybrid in this case has about 30 miles of electric-only ability. All versions have an eight-speed automatic gearbox.
DS is determined move up market.
“The all-new DS 4 interiors feature refined materials including Alcantara, forged carbon and wood, all incorporated via new upholstery techniques, with watchstrap leather, pearl stitching and hidden seams. There’s full HD touchscreen infotainment system supported by over-the-air updates and featuring the IRIS personal assistant with natural voice recognition. To make the system even more intuitive, DS SMART TOUCH provides a small, additional touchscreen below the centre console with customisable shortcuts and handwriting recognition,” DS says, referring to the little touch screen.
The DS 4 Cross has added stuff on the body to point out you’ve spent more money. One option is Advanced Traction Control, featuring sand, snow and mud modes for improved grip when driving off-road. There are two trims available in Cross specification – Cross Trocadero and this Cross Rivoli, which includes state-of-the-art safety features.
What to buy?
The DS brand was set up in 2009 by Citroen in attempt to move into the upmarket high profit sector dominated by Mercedes, BMW, Audi and Lexus. It’s safe to say that so far this hasn’t been much of a success, although most recent sales point to a more positive trend. The range comprises the DS3, 4, 5, 7 and 9 saloons and SUVs. Each category has a bewildering collection of petrol, diesel, hybrid, plug-in hybrids and pure electric options. Now Citroen is part of the Stellantis group which includes brands like Peugeot, Opel, Vauxhall, Fiat, Jeep, Lancia, Chrysler and Alfa Romeo. The DS sales performance has been awful but perked up in the first half of 2022 jumping 10.8% to 23,916 in Western Europe. DS has said this is a long-term project and it will one day be a global brand including sales in the U.S.
At £42,200, this version of the DS4 has fearsome competition, but does have the advantage of being different and in an attractive way. The DS4 Cross Rivoli E-Tense 225 was a lovely looking car and its high-quality interior and cushioned ride made it very easy to live with. There are so many gadgets and attempts to augment the quality of life on the move that DS should, and probably does, offer a day-long course to explain them all. I long for the day when all these features can be summoned with a voice command that will avoid much fiddling around.
DS4 Cross Rivoli E-Tense 225
|DS4 Cross Rivoli E-Tense 225|
|Engine:||1.6 litre 4-cylinder, direct injection turbo|
|Torque max:||320 Nm|
|Torque max:||360 Nm|
|Electric motor:||110 hp|
|Combined power:||225 hp @6,000|
|Power:||180 hp @ 6,000 rpm|
|Torque:||300 Nm @ 3,000|
|Battery:||12.4 Kwh lithium ion; 8 year, 100,000 mile guaranty|
|Claimed range:||38.5 miles|
|WintonsWorld estimate:||160.7 mpg|
|Claimed overall miles per gallon:||232.2 to 183.8 mpg|
|WintonsWorld test range:||29.3 (average after 6 home charges)|
|Charging:||2-1/2 hours with 7 kWh home charger|
|Acceleration:||0-60 mph – 7.5 seconds|
|Top Speed:||145 mph|
|Boot capacity:||390/1,240 litres|
|Competition:||Audi A3, Seat Cupra Formentor, Peugeot 308, Vauxhall Astra, Mercedes A250e, Kia Ceed|
|For:||looks terrific, memorable interior, lively performance, easy cruiser|
|Against:||memorable interior might be gimmicky to some, pricey, not German|