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Citroen C4 Picasso 1.6 HDi Ambiance Car Review | October 23, 2006

Driven October 2006

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The general design of the dash is simple and stylish, and it's useful too. There are two upward-opening bins either side of the instrument console, the passenger-side one filled mostly with CD changer if fitted.

There is also a capacious central downward-opening refrigerated bin that will hold a large 1.5-litre bottle of water or three smaller bottles. This is only present if the semi-auto 'box is fitted, which also frees up a lot of floor space between the front seats. Feels very spacious.

There is also a good-sized glovebox, and wide, capacious bins in the doors. These light up automatically when you put your hand in them. This optional lighting package also includes strip lights across the headlining behind the sunvisors and along the doors and within the door handle pockets, plus footwell lighting and downward wash lights from the large wing mirrors.

The interior lighting concept is extremely attractive and appealing. Getting the picture yet? This interior is a master work.

Now, to the seats. In the front, they are super-comfortable; soft, wide, body-hugging and fitted with comfy armrests and large headrests (there are headrests on all seven seats, in fact). The middle row has three seats of equal width (no squabbling among the kids to avoid the uncomfortable middle pew) and they fold forward easily and slide on runners to allow wide access to the rearmost row of seats.

Back here, third-row occupants have plenty of view sidewards through generous rear windows and the leg and headroom isn't bad. All three middle row seats and the front passenger seat have Isofix child seat mountings.

The rearmost row is simple to fold and erect, the work of a moment, just pull a strap. The floor is flat when the seats are stowed and that leaves an enormous boot. All of the seats fold nearly flat, leaving a huge load bay big enough to scare your average Transit van.

The second row seats move forward and back on runners to give the rearmost passengers more legroom and also recline into a sleep-friendly position.

What else? Plenty. There is a four-way air-conditioning system, where both outside middle-row passengers have individual fan controls and extremely effective air vents in the B-pillars.

There are aircraft-style pull-down trays in the back of the front seats. These have cup holders and in some models are lit with special reading lamps. Sun blinds are fitted to all rear side windows and the rear screen.

At the back, the boot light doubles as a removable torch which recharges when in position. There are big cubby holes behind the rearmost seats when they're erect. Also, the glass of the rear hatch opens separately, to help with access to the load area in tight spaces, and a button in the boot lowers the air suspension at the rear to reduce the loading height.

Orders are being taken now for the C4 Picasso, which goes on sale here early next year. It comes in LX, SX and Exclusive trim and will be priced between £15k and £20k.

It's a fantastic car, maybe the best in its class - be afraid Touran, C-Max et al. And knowing Citroen, it'll be launched with an offer. Oh, and did I mention that it's good to drive, too? Thought so.

Bill Thomas

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