what is the plug-in hybrid offer worth?

ESSAI DS4 E-Tense 225 – Since the dawn of “automotive” times, an inferiority complex has hovered over French industry in the face of that across the Rhine, which is always better endowed with engines. The new DS4, which opposes the German compact type A3, Series 1 and Class A, does not escape this cruel parallel, on paper, in thelack of sports motorization. But if it is impossible to compete with the Audi S3/RS3, BMW M135i and Mercedes-AMG A35/45, its mid-range offer makes sensewith at the top of this hierarchy a plug-in hybrid offer combining more or less the average power offered on the other side of the border, on this segment.

Power isn’t everything

First of all, no need to look for any competitor to this DS4 PHEV on the side of BMW, the 1 Series still refusing this type of block, despite an eligible platform. Audi, for its part, declines its A3 TFSIe according to 204 hp (350 Nm) and 245 hp (400 Nm)when Mercedes allocates 218 hp (450 Nm) to its Class A. The DS4 therefore responds honourably, on paper, via a 4-cylinder 180 hp supported by a 110 hp electric motor to cumulate 225 hp. Unfortunately, its low torque value (360 Nm), prevents it from following the pace imposed by its rivals on the exercise of 0 to 100 km / h, despite a similar weight. By knocking it down in 7.7 s, it is narrowly beaten at the post by the entry-level 40 TFSIe of the A3 (7.6 s), but above all by a very fit Mercedes (6.6 s). despite a lower power level.

Rate studied

In short, this rechargeable hybrid DS4 is far from shining with its performance, even retained in the Performance Line + finish, that of our test. What to regretabsence, in its catalog, of the PHEV variant accumulating only 180 hp under the hoods of its Peugeot 308 cousins ​​and Opel Astra, just as dynamic, more accessible and more generous in 100% electric range. On this last point, the DS4 E-Tense 225 is on par with the Audi A3s by promising to rally environ 60 km WLTP, but Class A outclasses them by easily crossing the 70 km WLTP mark. A Mercedes that charges dearly for its technological refinements (€45,599 minimum) when the DS4 PHEV is more affordable by €5,000, from €40,500.

Exceptional refinement

To make the difference, the French bet on other assets. Starting with his interior presentation, much more sought after than on board the “Teutonnes” where too many plastic elements litter their dashboards. The DS4 takes care of its occupants in terms of colors and materials, not hesitating to cover its cockpit with Alcantara, alternating with leather. It also stands out in detail by using, for example, specific stitchingor to aluminum inserts with “clou de paris” guillochage. Small attentions with which the Germans do not bother, especially in the passenger compartment of the Audi A3.

Ergonomics to review

Conversely, the DS4 suffers froman ergonomics sometimes risky to want too much to let the charm act. Its passengers will rail in particular against the controls for the window regulators, placed far too high, or even facing the difficulty adjusting central airflows which requires the handling of two different commands (horizontal and vertical). Tiring in the long run. A sacrifice on the altar of style, for the sake of discretion of the ventilation system called DS Air. More significant, although more conspicuous on the center console, the DS Smart Touch screen provides access to pre-recorded infotainment functions, without having to reach for the main touch screen. This one, although of the latest generation, still struggles in terms of responsiveness, compared to German standards. It’s better on the side of thevery complete head-up display with flawless readability thanks to its 21″ XXL format, the most generous in the segment.

Confort Pullman

A comfort that is added to that distilled, for all the occupants, by the running gear, thanks to a high-flying piloted suspension. Without offering the filtration of the double-butted suspensions of Citroëns, it offers a better compromise by perfectly controlling body roll. Peace of mind on board is also ensured by the silent operation and the smooth transitions of the hybrid system, between thermal and electric block, but also by the welcoming quality of the seats. It will be necessary to swallow several hundred kilometers before fatigue points the tip of his nose, at the wheel of the DS4. But also in the additional seats, and even in the back where the habitability is very correct. On this point, the trunk volume is largely a reference, compared to the German ones, thanks to a cubant hold of 390 l. A value all the same 40 liters lower than that of the 100% thermal DS4, due to the size inherent in the electrified traction chain.

At forced load

Plug-in hybridization gives hope for very low consumption figures. Far from the 1.3 l/100 km WLTP officially advanced, it will be easy to go below the average 4l/100 km by playing the game of daily recharging, if weekly journeys are limited to around forty kilometers in urban and peri-urban areas. Do not expect to achieve consumption scores as low as with the 130 hp diesel, the only offer of this type on the DS4. However, our mixed journey (motorways, national and departmental) has given us a average 6.5 l thanks to system regeneration. A more than correct measurement for a vehicle offering 225 hp and which, in the end, is close to the average consumption of the 100% thermal DS4 of equal power. But, once again, the PHEV model has the ability to drastically regulate this appetite if its owner plays the charging game to do without fossil fuel as much as possible. Not motivated, abstain…

Verdict

Well placed pricing speaking, compared to the German competition PHEV, the French shines above all by its incomparable interior refinement and the top notch comfort that it distils, without harming the dynamism. It is however not a thunderbolt, but the management of its hybrid mechanics offers a nice pleasure and can generate a very low average consumption depending on the pace of movement of its owner. Again, this plug-in hybrid is not recommended for big wheels.

Opel Astra: technical sheet

Acheter
Essai DS4 E-Tense 225 Performance Line +
Version tested: €43,000 (Ultimate)
From: €35,550

Average consumption manufacturer/test average (l/100km): 1.3/6.5
CO2/bonus : 30/1 000 €
Battery recharge time : 7 hours on a mains socket, 2 hours on a Wallbox
Fiscal power : 10 CV
Manufacturing country : Germany
Guarantee : 2 years/unlimited (batteries: 8 years/160,000 km)

Range offered

Essence : from 130 to 225 hp, from 31,800 to 45,300 €
Diesel : 130 hp, from €33,800 to €43,100
Hybrid : 225 hp, from 40,500 to 49,800 €

Conduct

Engine : 4-cylinder, turbo, 16 valves, gasoline direct injection, variable valve timing, 1,598 cc, DPF + permanent magnet synchronous electric motor, 12.4 kWh lithium-ion battery
Transmission : front-wheel drive, 8-speed automatic
Powerful (hp at rpm): 180 hp at 5,500 + 110 hp (electric), 225 hp cumulative
Couple (Nm at rpm): 360 cumulative
Weight (kg) : 1 653
Long.xlarg.xhaut. (m) : 4,40×1,87×1,47
Wheelbase (m) : 2,67
Turning diameter : 10,8
Tank : 40 liters
Max speed (km/h): 233 km/h (135 in electric mode)
0-100 km/h : 7’’7
series tires : 205/55 R 19
Test tires : Michelin Primacy 3

Vivre

Chest of 5 (l): 390

main concurrent

  • Audi A3 40 TFSIe, 204 hp, from €39,670
  • Mercedes A 250e, 218 hp, from €45,599

WE love

  • French refinement
  • outside line
  • Driving pleasure
  • Imperial comfort

We love less

  • Lack of punch
  • Interior ergonomics sometimes questionable

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