The interior layout, fit and finish
It's with the interior that the DS 4 really puts on a show. The design is simple yet has more of a sense of occasion than you'll feel in the equivalent Audi A3 or BMW 1 Series. It's also very uncluttered, with the few buttons that do exist, such as the window switches on the driver’s door or the physical controls for the air conditioning, blending seamlessly into the design.
It feels solidly put together, too – in fact, some of the materials used even eclipse those in the A3, especially the soft-touch materials on top of the dashboard and the leather that adorns most of the other surfaces you often touch, including the steering wheel. That’s not to say that there are no hard, scratchy plastics, but they won’t be in your immediate eyeline, and the overall effect easily outshines the Volkswagen Golf inside.
You get a large 10in touchscreen infotainment display that responds quickly to all of your prods and swipes. It’s an impressive system that’s been designed to act like the screen of a smartphone. For example, you can easily personalise menus by simply pressing and holding on the screen then dragging menu icons to where you want them.
As with many other systems, the DS 4's infotainment system goes without traditional buttons and dials. However, in an effort to ensure that it's not too distracting to use on the move, there's a separate smaller, touchscreen just in front of the armrest.
The idea is that, after you've set it to display function icons – such as for the sat-nav – where you want them, you can quickly select them through muscle memory alone. We still prefer the rotary controller of BMW's iDrive system, but DS's approach is surprisingly intuitive and works much better than other solely touchscreen systems.
DAB radio, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring and Bluetooth connectivity is standard across the range, but Bastille + and Performance Line models do without sat-nav (it's an expensive option on these trims).
You’ll have no issues with front visibility, with thin window pillars making it easy to see out at junctions, plus bright LED headlights are standard throughout the range. Rear visibility isn’t quite as good, though, due to large pillars that restrict the view when you look over your shoulder. Fortunately, all versions get rear-parking sensors and a rear-view camera to help with parking manoeuvres.