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Citroen Grand C4 Picasso

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8/10

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Road Test

Citroen Grand C4 Picasso Driven

Driven December 2013

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Citroen calls the Grand C4 Picasso a seven-seat MPV, but I reckon they're underselling it. This is an eight-seater.

The storage bin between driver and passenger, though presumably designed for diabetes-spec soft drinks bottles and boiled sweets, is quite large enough to hold at least a medium-sized child. True, it wouldn't be hugely comfortable - or hugely safe - but still more comfortable and safe than transporting your child in a quadricycle. And, hey, what kid doesn't want to ride up front?

The GC4P (as Citroen doesn't call it) would blanch at the child-in-a-bin suggestion, you feel. This car cares too much about its passengers. More than any other MPV on the market, this feels a car designed from the rear seats, not around the driver. The instrument cluster - housed on the higher, larger of the two display screens - lives in the middle of the dash rather than in front of the driver, allowing rear-seat passengers to see by exactly how much Mum or Dad is breaking the speed limit, while the cabin is airy enough to induce an agoraphobic attack. Under the glass roof, it is gloriously glassy in the back: Citroen says the GC4P has an unrivalled 5.7 metres of glazing, which is quite a bit more than my house. Though the rearmost two seats are small, as they always are on these 5+2s, they're still big enough for small people on long journeys, or long people on small journeys. And even those squeezed into the third row get their own ventilation controls. This stuff makes small people happy.

To drive? One-word review: fine. Not great, definitely not awful, just a respectable seven-seat MPV. It leans a bit if you throw it into a corner and the manual 'box is a bit sticky, but if you want the option of a slick-shifting, non-leany car, you should really stop having children. The Picasso rides well, the 148bhp diesel is strong and frugal and, frankly, what more do you require?

Perhaps the Grand Picasso's only real flaw is that it's almost too honest at offering what you need, not want. Just as your watch can survive a 100-metre deep-sea dive despite you never subjecting it to more than an energetic bath, so we like the idea that our family car could tackle the Nürburgring even if it'll never be tasked with anything dicier than the Northampton ring road. The GC4P is painfully realistic, and all the better for it.

Sam Philip

Verdict: A seven-seat people carrier that carries seven people, and does it very well. Not sporty, not revolutionary, but best in class.

Stats: 1997cc 4cyl turbodiesel, FWD, 148bhp, 273lb ft, 65.7mpg, 113g/km CO2, 0-62mph in 9.8secs, 130mph, 1705kg, £26,855

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