05 January 2007

And then there were five...

Citroen's five-seat C4 Picasso is more than just a chairectomy

Citroen C4 Picasso

Following the C4 Picasso's critical success - from us, mainly, and we're tough to please - Citroen has continued its assault on the MPV market with this: the five-seat C4 Picasso.

No, they haven't just removed a row of seats and claimed it as a fresh model. Although it sits on the same platform as its seven-seat brother, the five-seater has a brand new body shape. And we reckon it looks pretty tasty... for an MPV, at least.

The front end has been completely reworked, with chunky air intakes swathed in black mesh. The quarterlights have been revised, too, while keeping the wraparound glass styling.

And that new beltline is as daftly Gallic as anything Citroen has produced since the DS - all wavy curves and angled lines. Combined with the saloon-style rear end, it gives the five-seater a more determined, purposeful stance than the larger Picasso.

The five-seater will initially be offered with a choice of two petrol and two diesel engines. The 1.8-litre petrol block will be mated to a manual five-speed 'box, while the more powerful 2.0-litre model has the option of a six-speed electronic box or a four-speed auto.

Diesel lovers can choose either a 100bhp 1.6-litre HDi with that five-speed manual, or a 138bhp HDi with a six-speed auto' or electronic 'box. We've tested the seven-seater with the less powerful diesel engine and it wasn't short on puff, so there should be plenty of torquey pull on this baby version.

If you're wondering how the five-seater fits alongside the Xsara Picasso in Citroen's line-up, a spokesman says the new model is a more luxurious, spacious MPV, while the Xsara caters to the budget market.

With the same attention to detail as the impressive seven-seater, and the option of a full-length glass roof and seat-back video screens, we can't argue with that assessment.

The five-seater C4 Picasso should reach UK shores in April this year. There's no firm word on prices yet, but we reckon it'll weigh in about £500 cheaper than its seven-seat equivalent.

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