The Grand C4 Picasso is available with 1.6-litre or 2.0-litre diesel engines or two 1.6-litre petrols, one turbocharged (THP 155) and the other direct injection. The latter is the entry-level model in terms of cost, whereas the 1.6 THP produces 154bhp.
We tested a 1.6 HDi in mid-level VTR+ spec with the semi-automatic gearbox, which is optional on the 1.6-litre cars but fitted as standard to the 2.0-litres.
The cabin creates such an all-round sense of luxury that you start to worry if money has been saved in other areas to pay for it. So you crank the 107bhp engine, pull the funny little gear stalk back into manual mode, pull the right-hand gear paddle and set off.
The first thing that hits you is how refined this 1.6 diesel is and, seconds after that, how staggeringly slowly it drags the Picasso from place to place. There’s extra weight compared to the old Picasso. We took 13.4sec to get it from rest to 60mph, while Citroën says the old Picasso would hit 62mph in 11.9sec. Top speed is 107mph.
Citroën offers five- or six-speed manual gearboxes, a six-speed auto or six-speed paddle-shift automated manual.
The six-speeder’s compact column-mounted controls — combined with the steering boss switches pioneered in other C4s — mean there’s no need for a centre console. But if you have a choice, avoid it. Seamless shifting is possible, but needlessly difficult. It’s also uncomfortably jerky in automatic mode.