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The Top Gear car review:Citroen C4 Picasso/Grand C4 Picasso
For:An adjustable seat for everyone. Great visibility, comfort, economy
Against:A Ford C-Max is a lot better to drive, flappy paddle gearbox
1.6 THP Exclusive 5dr
OK for drivers, superb for passengers. Cheap to run and safe. Honest priorities well executed…
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What we say:
All-new C4 Picasso is comfier and more versatile than the SUV crossovers that are all the rage
What is it?
Citroen’s family stalwart range has had a full renewal. It’s moved onto a new platform from PSA, giving less weight, more strength, reduced thirst and better proportions – in all cases, by a big margin.
But as before, it’s a people carrier with five separate seats (or seven in the stretched Grand Picasso) and a glassy body, giving plenty of space and versatility in a compact footprint. Engine range emphasises diesels, but many buyers will be happy with the 120bhp 1.6 petrol – it also comes as a 156bhp turbo.
The C4 Picasso and Grand Picasso have just been facelifted with new front and rear styling, better infotainment and new powertrains. We haven’t driven one yet, but we can’t see the revisions doing any harm to Picasso whatsoever.
If you’re a driving enthusiast, cram your complaining family into a hatchback instead. MPVs aren’t about smoking through corners. And the Picasso, especially, is built for comfort not for speed. The 120bhp diesel big-seller is fairly smooth and quiet but no fireball. We’d rather have the 1.6 turbo, to be honest.
Cornering is faithful and not at all a grim experience, but it’s hardly athletic, and the gearshift is floppy. The steering might be good on lock, but it’s vague about the centre, which makes it more tiring than it need be to hold steady in your motorway lane. Handy optional driver aids include collision alert, blind spot warning and 360 degree manoeuvring cameras.
On the inside
Plenty of room for five people inside the Picasso: the third-row duo in the Grand may grumble, but at least they’re in. The dash has two big colour screens: a 12-inch display and a 7-inch touchscreen. So you can keep navigation directions on one, while the passengers get control of the other. The windscreen stretches far back into the roof. An optional ‘Lounge’ pack gives a calf rest for the front passenger, and winged headrests for everyone. Tray tables, lots of storage in the dash and under the floor, and 12V plus 230V outlets complete the family-friendly picture.
Cabin material quality and style are a leap ahead from its predecessor’s too (it’l be a really nice surprise if you’re trading up from an old Picasso), and, more to the point, ahead of the Japanese opposition. Excellent ride comfort and quietness add to the relaxed, luxo-cruiser air. In this sense, it’s a genuinely convincing and very ‘French’ upmarket people carrier.
This is a car that’ll fit well into family lives, and its design might engender a little pride too. As for costs, well the significantly lightweight new body and chassis, with clever aero, serves up some impressive fuel figures for a relatively bulky MPV. In fact, one diesel creeps under 100g/ km, but you’ve got to get by on 100bhp. Still, even the 120bhp manual is just 105g/km and 74mpg. Depreciation looks less severe than, say, a C-Max, and because it’s a Citroen are surely deals to be had. The Grand costs around £1,500 extra.