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First drive: Citroen Grand C4 Picasso. Image by Citroen.

First drive: Citroen Grand C4 Picasso
It's been a while since a seven-seat MPV grabbed our attention. Here's the new Citroen Grand C4 Picasso.

   



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| First Drive | Munich, Germany and Salzburg, Austria | Citroen Grand C4 Picasso |

Overall rating: 4 4 4 4 4

Citroen continues to churn out great designs, this time in the form of its new large MPV - the Grand C4 Picasso. The seven-seater sets out to prove that practicality can merge well with style, and the French brand has also thrown some new, more economical diesel engines into the mix.

Key Facts

Model driven: Citroen Grand C4 Picasso e-HDi 150
Pricing: expected to start from 19,200
Engine: 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged diesel
Transmission: six-speed automatic, front-wheel drive
Body style: seven-seat MPV
Rivals: Ford Galaxy, Renault Grand Scenic, SEAT Alhambra
CO2 emissions: 117g/km
Combined economy: 62.7mpg
Top speed: 130mph
0-62mph: 9.7 seconds
Power: 150hp at 4,000rpm
Torque: 370Nm at 2,000rpm

In the Metal: 5 5 5 5 5

Citroen has taken the large MPV format and given it a very healthy dose of style with its new Grand C4 Picasso. Proportionally, the large seven-seat version of the popular Picasso looks less awkward than the five-seat model, particularly at the rear. The front-end has a striking headlight design that includes a thin bank of LED daytime running lights that form the end of the grille, which itself comprises of just two chrome strips that extend out from the Citroen chevron logo. Thin A-pillars - which are split to improve visibility - frame the huge panoramic windscreen, which is a standard feature on all models.

On the inside, the view from the driver's seat is simply excellent. The seating position might not be quite at SUV level, but it is high enough to give a good view of the road and is helped greatly by the amount of glazing, which enables the driver to enjoy a virtually uninterrupted view of what is going on around them. Information is relayed to the driver via a centrally mounted 12-inch screen, which, on higher trim lines in full HD quality, is one of the sharpest and highest quality units seen in any car on the road today. Lower down is another, smaller seven-inch screen that handles functions such as the climate controls and optional satellite navigation. The resulting combination is a cabin with a very low button count considering how much is on offer. The only criticism of this is that the air conditioning controls for example aren't tactile switches that can be adjusted just by feel, meaning the driver must take their eyes off the road, albeit momentarily.

Driving it: 4 4 4 4 4

Naturally a car like the new Grand C4 Picasso isn't going to have performance and handling as prioritised characteristics, but to give the car its dues, it does manage to make driving and manoeuvring a car of its size an easy task. Parking is stress-free thanks to the generous all-round visibility - and that's before you take the optional parking assistance systems into account. An impromptu photo-stop on the test route subsequently helped to demonstrate the Citroen's good turning circle, which is just 11 metres - handy to have if you're dropping the kids to school for example.

In terms of town driving, which according to Citroen is where the Grand C4 Picasso is used most, it comfortably glides through traffic. And it posed no difficulties in contending with some of the steep, tight mountain roads on our drive through Germany and Austria. Most buyers are likely to opt for the e-HDi 115 diesel engine, which provides ample power for everyday driving along with good fuel economy and low emissions.

The biggest revelation though is the automatic gearbox, which is a vast improvement over previously offered versions. This all-new six speed automatic delivers far smoother gearchanges both up and down the gearbox and the engineers seem to have the setup just right when it comes to timing those shifts. Overall the suspension is compliant, even over poorer road surfaces and the noise insulation is good.

What you get for your Money: 4 4 4 4 4

Many of the desirable features on this new Grand C4 Picasso, such as the huge panoramic windscreen and versatile seating arrangements, come as standard, so really it just comes down to whether you choose to splash out on the more powerful BlueHDi 150 engine and also on which trim level you want to live with. The VTR+ model does give quite an array of quality options and this is likely to be the most popular choice amongst buyers.

Worth Noting

The new Grand C4 Picasso is a far more upmarket looking car in comparison with its predecessor, but don't let that fool you into thinking that it's all just flashy styling. There are a lot of real-world practicalities in it too - the wheelbase has been stretched out meaning there is now more room on the inside even though the car hasn't really changed its external dimensions. The middle row of seats has increased legroom, while access to the rear two seats won't pose a problem for kids jumping in and out, and they are still capable of comfortably seating two adults. The added benefit in the seating arrangements is that all the seats are individual units and those in the middle row can each move forward and back. Dropping the two rear seats into the in-floor boot space is also quick and easy.

Summary

Citroen has once again proved that it can do the large MPV thing very well. Not only have the looks been taken care of, the practical side of the Grand C4 Picasso demonstrates some well thought out design. Improvements in the efficiency of the range of engines on offer may not make a huge difference to the household coffers but as a complete package it certainly makes for one of the more interesting cars in its segment.


Dave Humphreys - 26 Sep 2013



  www.citroen.co.uk    - Citroen road tests
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2013 Citroen Grand C4 Picasso. Image by Citroen.2013 Citroen Grand C4 Picasso. Image by Citroen.2013 Citroen Grand C4 Picasso. Image by Citroen.2013 Citroen Grand C4 Picasso. Image by Citroen.2013 Citroen Grand C4 Picasso. Image by Citroen.

2013 Citroen Grand C4 Picasso. Image by Citroen.2013 Citroen Grand C4 Picasso. Image by Citroen.2013 Citroen Grand C4 Picasso. Image by Citroen.2013 Citroen Grand C4 Picasso. Image by Citroen.2013 Citroen Grand C4 Picasso. Image by Citroen.



2013 Citroen Grand C4 Picasso. Image by Citroen.
 

2013 Citroen Grand C4 Picasso. Image by Citroen.
 

2013 Citroen Grand C4 Picasso. Image by Citroen.
 

2013 Citroen Grand C4 Picasso. Image by Citroen.
 

2013 Citroen Grand C4 Picasso. Image by Citroen.
 

2013 Citroen Grand C4 Picasso. Image by Citroen.
 

2013 Citroen Grand C4 Picasso. Image by Citroen.
 

2013 Citroen Grand C4 Picasso. Image by Citroen.
 






 

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