The Numbers

2.0-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel, 110kW, 370Nm, 6spd auto, FWD, 4.5L/100km

The Topgear Verdict

This Picasso, as opposed to those expensive, ugly paintings, offers value for money. It's a lot of MPV, and a surprising amount of style, for the cash

2014 Citroen C4 Picasso

What is it?

You might have guessed it was a car based on the new Robocop's helmet, but you'd be wrong, again. It's Citroen's Grand C4 Picasso, a people mover that attempts to make its owners' silly decision to have too many kids look sexy and stylish. Or, as a Citroen spokesman put it: "It's proof that your life is not over, just because you have children". A bold claim.

Why should I care?

Because TopGear UK magazine gave it a gong as Family Car of the Year, so it must be pretty good. And because it does a remarkable job of making big look almost beautiful. Front on, those slick LED lights make it look a bit concept-car cool, and from behind it looks as petite as the cute DS3. From any other angle it still looks like an MPV, sadly. If you've got a family and you need seven seats you'll probably care slightly more.

What's new about it?

The interior, which is future-tastic. A giant, lush 12-inch screen dominates the centre of the dash and can be personalised to show a save screen of soothing grass, soaring mountains or some dodgy porn pics you've decided to load in for yourself. Below that is a seven-inch touch screen, and the whole thing works seamlessly and looks slick. It's got all the usual tricks - self parking, blind-spot warning and split A-pillars for improved visibility - plus you can actually increase or decrease the size of your windscreen by pulling extendable sun shades down. Clever.

The real highlight, though, is the combination of a lightweight chassis and a super-economical 2.0-litre diesel engine (110kW and 370Nm) with emissions of just 117 grams of CO2 per kilometre and an fuel figure of 4.5 litres per 100km. A Prius V, which is just a bit smaller and a hybrid, has emissions of 101 grams and economy of 4.4L/100km (a comparable diesel Kia Rondo puffs out 170 grams and rates 6.4L/100km).

Can it fit a basketball team, or only if they're all Peter Dinklage clones?

Seating space and comfort are great in the front seats and the second row of three individual pews, but even Dinklage would complain in the pop-up third row of this seven-seater. With those dinky seats in place you also get no boot whatsoever, which somewhat undermines the whole MPV idea.

What's it like to drive?

It's not exciting, obviously, with a 0 to 100km/h time of 9.7 seconds, but it's surprisingly competent in corners, with very little bodyroll, and it's smooth and quiet on the road. You'd probably be shocked at how good it is. We were.

Would you buy this or a Honda Odyssey?

Based on looks alone, it's got to be the Citroen, which is a bit of a bargain at $43,990. But the Odyssey is bigger. A comparable Vti-L will set you back $47620, but if you throw leather seats into your Citroen to match it you're looking at $48,990, so it's line ball. Go with the TG Award winner we say.

Reviewed by: Stephen Corby

Driven: February 26, 2014