What Does DS Mean In A Car?

Many modern automatic vehicles have different drive modes compared to their manual counterparts. Some of these drive modes will leave you scratching your head, especially if you are new to modern automatic cars.

However, according to some spirited drivers, these drive mode feels sluggish without the ability to squeeze out extra power from the machine under the hood. That’s where the DS drive mode comes into the game. But what does DS mean in a car?

Whether you are asking what does DS mean in Mitsubishi, Honda Odyssey, or your specific car model, this article will provide an answer to that. By the end, you’ll know the exact meaning and application of DS and the differences between D and DS drive modes.

What Does DS Mean In A Car

How many drive modes are there?

Comfort, Snow, Track, Eco, and Sport mode are the most common car drive modes. However, it’s important to note that car manufacturers call their drive modes different names. For instance, some car manufacturers may call their comfort mode a normal or standard mode.

The same applies to other drive modes. Some car manufacturers call their snow mode a winter mode. The number of functions that will be affected when you switch to a different mode varies from manufacturer to manufacturer. But generally, switching between different gear modes affects the exhaust, steering, traction control, suspensions, dynamic stability control, and the engine.

Let’s look at these drive modes in-depth and see how they function.


As explained above, some car manufacturers consider comfort mode normal or standard mode. This mode offers everyday driving and a comfortable experience. There will be a power steering assist, and the suspension components will be in comfort settings.

Eco mode

The Eco mode is designed to save fuel. When you switch to an Eco mode, the car will save more gas by limiting the throttle response and maximum power output. The Eco mode is available in both manual and automatic transmission cars, but they are not available in sports cars.

Snow mode

Some car manufacturers call it winter mode. This drive mode aims at one thing – ensuring better traction. In this mode, the stability control system will intervene earlier to maintain optimum grip and control of the car.

Sport mode

Sport mode is also referred to as power mode. Sport/power mode offers a sporty driving experience at the expense of your driving comfort and fuel economy. When you switch to Sport mode, you’ll gain more throttle response, stiffer suspension settings, open exhaust valve for a racer sound, and more control over the wheel.

Track mode

Often referred to as Corsa and Sport Plus, they are mostly found on sports cars. When switched to Track mode, the vehicle optimizes its performance for better handling on a racetrack. This often compromises the driver/passenger’s comfort and fuel economy.

When driving in Track mode, the vehicle switches off the dynamic stability control (DSC), dynamic traction control (DTC), and anti-lock braking system (ABS). The steering becomes heavier, the suspension stiffer, and the throttle offers the most aggressive response.

EV mode

The EV mode is a unique drive mode for plug-in hybrid cars. When you switch to EV mode, you are telling the vehicle not to use the internal combustion engine. Instead, it should rely on the electric motor until the hybrid battery is depleted or until you turn off the EV mode.

While these are the popular drive modes, you can come across other drive modes like custom, off-road, and B gear modes. If you want to know more about B gear, I published an article that explains B gear meaning, applications, and functions. Check it out.

d s gear toyota

What does ds mean in a car?

DS means drive sport. It is designed to make your ride more aggressive, making you feel like a spirited driver. While this mode makes you feel like a god behind the wheel, giving you a more exciting racing sensation, it lessens your ride comfort.

You can switch to drive sport mode using the toggles on the steering wheel or the gear selector. Meanwhile, you can’t turn on the DS from a standing point. It can only be turned on while driving. So, you can drive off with a D and switch to DS after a minute or as long as you want.

Not all modern cars feature the DS mode. But if you have this function in your vehicle, here is what you should expect when driving in DS mode.

When driving with DS mode, performance is prioritized even at the expense of ride comfort and fuel economy. The DS mode is for spirited drivers who lay their hands on automatic transmission and want to turn their car into a road beast with a sporty performance.

When you switch to DS mode, the steering weight will increase, the suspension components will become stiffer, and the traction control system will switch off. This gives you more control over the wheel for better acceleration and fast gear changes.

Should I drive in D or DS?

Are you wondering about D vs DS on Mitsibushi or any other car model, which is best?

D mode is the normal driving mode in automatic cars, where the transmission changes gears from the lowest to the highest gear based on how you accelerate the vehicle. On the other hand, DS is a sport mode that gives the vehicle a racing sound and aggressive throttle response.

The D drive mode is the normal, comfort, or standard driving mode, which offers a comfortable and seamless driving experience.

Does DS mode use more gas?

DS drive mode puts more strain on the engine since it’s always on the high revs. As a result, the DS drive consumes more gas for better throttle response. Constantly driving with DS means constant visits to the gas stations. And the higher fuel consumption is not environmentally healthy.

Is it ok to shift from D to S?

Yes, you can safely shift between Drive (D) to Sport (S) and even into neutral without any harm. You can also shift into L if you are driving on the lower gears. However, you cannot move into reverse or park while going forward or shift into drive or park when reversing.

You can only shift between drive, reverse, and park when the vehicle is not moving.

I mentioned L above. What does L mean in a car? The L on your gear selector stands for ‘Low.’ It is used when you want the engine high but keep the speed low, between the first and second gear.

Can I drive my car in S mode?

You can safely drive with the sport (S) mode all the time if you want. However, I do not recommend it for everyday driving because it puts more strain on the engine and transmission to squeeze out a little bit of power to meet your driving demand. Plus, driving with sport mode consumes more gas.

What is the best mode to drive a car in?

There’s no best drive mode to drive your car. Every car drive mode is designed to meet a specific function. If you want to save more fuel, Eco is the best mode for you, but if you want an extra thrilling and aggressive driving experience, Sport is the best mode to activate the beast in your car.

Driving modes tailor specific characteristics to meet the driver’s demand at any given time. So, the best mode for someone always trying to save some cash on gas won’t be the same for a spirited driver who is always trying to overtake every car on the road.

Final Words

To sum it up, DS means drive sport. Switching to DS alters the vehicle’s suspension, steering, and throttle to offer a better throttle response. It is one of the most popular driving modes in modern cars.

While DS mode makes the car faster and more aggressive, it is essential to note that it does this at the expense of the fuel economy and your driving comfort.

Osuagwu Solomon

Osuagwu Solomon is a certified mechanic with over a decade of experience in the mechanic garage, and he has over five years of experience in the writing industry. He started writing automotive articles to share his garage experience with car enthusiasts and armature mechanics. If he is not in the garage fixing challenging mechanical problems, he is writing automotive repair guides, buyer’s guides, and car and tools comparisons.

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