The DS 4 has a sneaky 5-inch touchscreen for distraction-free gesture control

DS 4
(Image credit: DS)

Premium French auto maker DS has announced a brand new car in the form of the DS 4 - a vehicle which is looking to take on not only compact SUVs, but also premium sedans.

It boasts a bold, angular design in-keeping with the rest of the DS range, and comes equipped with a number of premium tech features - including an intriguing 5-inch display which sits where a traditional gear shift would be.

The DS 4 will initially be available as a plug-in hybrid, with a quoted range of 50km / over 30 miles on the electric motor in EV mode, while a 4-cylinder, 180hp petrol engine will be on hand to significantly extend the driving range between refuels.

You'll be able to pick the DS 4 up in three different models; DS 4, DS 4 Cross and DS 4 Performance Line, with seven colors to choose from.

Externally the car features LED headlights which can move left and right to illuminate round corners, huge 20-inch wheels - which DS claims won't negatively affect ride comfort - and a shapely and athletic stance giving it a strong road presence.

However, it's in the cabin where things get more interesting. Large displays are quickly becoming the norm in new cars and the DS 4 is no exception.

There's a large, central landscape display which sits flush with the dash, and behind the steering wheel you'll find a digital instrument cluster. However, DS has a sneaky third display too, with a 5-inch touchscreen sitting in between the two front seats, just above the gear select buttons and volume control.

DS 4

(Image credit: DS)

This screen - which has been dubbed 'DS Smart Touch' - isn't there to display any information, however. Instead it's DS' solution to providing distraction-free control of the all-new smartphone-like infotainment system that's built into the DS 4.

You'll be able to preset up to six shortcuts, each with their own gesture movement for use on the Smart Touch display. DS says this will allow you to launch your most-used features using your finger on the screen, without the need to look away from the road. It can also be used to move around the interface.

Whether the Smart Touch screen provides the level of control and usability that DS claims remains to be seen, and we'll be sure to put it to the test when we get behind the wheel of the new DS 4.

And a whole lot more

It's not just a sneakily added additional display that the DS 4 has going for it - there's a raft of other tech too.

The DS 4 is equipped with new Extended HUD (heads-up display) which uses augmented reality to display alerts on the road ahead, as well as providing useful information such as the speed limit, driving directions, audio playback and incoming calls.

The viewable area of the HUD is equivalent to 21 inches, allowing the DS 4 to display a range of information in your eye line simultaneously. 

There's an infra-red camera on the front of the DS 4, providing night vision capabilities which can detect animals and pedestrians up to 100m away and alert the driver to the potential hazards.

You'll find another front-facing camera at the top of the windshield, which is responsible for scanning the road surface ahead and automatically adjusting the suspension for a smoother ride.

Then there's a further four cameras - two on either side of the car - offering up blind spot protection and cross traffic alert to ensure you don't roll into moving vehicles when reversing, plus a whole lot more car tech as well.

The DS 4 will go on sale later during the fourth quarter of 2021, with UK availability confirmed for November, but pricing is yet to be confirmed.

John McCann
Global Managing Editor

John joined TechRadar over a decade ago as Staff Writer for Phones, and over the years has built up a vast knowledge of the tech industry. He's interviewed CEOs from some of the world's biggest tech firms, visited their HQs and has appeared on live TV and radio, including Sky News, BBC News, BBC World News, Al Jazeera, LBC and BBC Radio 4. Originally specializing in phones, tablets and wearables, John is now TechRadar's resident automotive expert, reviewing the latest and greatest EVs and PHEVs on the market. John also looks after the day-to-day running of the site.