Mechanically, the 2016 Grand Picasso is virtually identical to the model it replaces, but that is no bad thing. We’ve always been fond of the big Citroën's dynamics traits, and on our demanding B-road test route the revised model once again proved itself to be an accomplished package.
Despite having a rather supple ride, the Picasso demonstrated impressive high-speed stability, body control and all-corner grip. With the car's direct – albeit uncommunicative – steering and grippy Michelin Pilot Sport 3 tyres, we often found ourselves forgetting that we were in such a large vehicle. Granted, it’s certainly not as engaging as a Ford S-Max, but it’s an impressively capable MPV nonetheless.
At lower speeds, things are a little less compliant. Over small imperfections, the usually supple Citroën often felt unsettled, and the 2.0-litre diesel engine fitted to our test car sounded disapprovingly gruff at low revs. Thankfully, once speeds increased the engine’s tone settled to a distant thrum, but wind noise around the A-pillars and wing mirrors was somewhat annoying on longer journeys.
Aside from a new automatic option on the 1.2-litre Petrol PureTech, the range of engines also remains the same for 2016. As with the previous model, we suspect that the mid-range 118bhp 1.6-litre diesel will be the most popular with buyers thanks to its impressive frugality and low running costs. But for just £1200 extra it’s tempting to tick the box for the 148bhp 2.0-litre unit tested here.
However, we’re not convinced that the 2.0-litre engine is worth the premium. In day-to-day use, the diesel is smooth and responsive for a motor of its type, but once pushed harder it starts to show some shortcomings. When pulling from low revs it takes time to get into the meat of the rev range, and once it finally manages to produce peak torque, it’s all gone within what feels like the blink of an eye.
Inside, the Picasso is relatively unchanged from last year’s model. It still gives the impression of being the most spacious car in the class thanks to its extended windscreen and low-set dash, and the 12.3in central screen is a real treat for drivers. There are also plenty of storage spaces dotted around the cabin, and soft-touch materials give a real sense of quality.
The 7.0in touchscreen has been revised to incorporate a new Connect Nav system, Mirrorlink smartphone software and Apple CarPlay. It’s certainly an improvement over the last unit, and the ability to pinch and swipe makes navigating the screen feel more intuitive. However, the touch-sensitive buttons around the edges of the screen are still ambiguously labelled, so you have to study them to make sure you’re pressing the right one, and once pressed, the system is slow and often unresponsive.
Ergonomically, though, the Picasso is still the brilliantly versatile machine that families have come to love. The middle row seats slide back and forth independently of one another, giving great access to the rear, and the third row can also be folded flat to provide a sizeable boot. Front and rear head room remains impressive despite the vast panoramic sunroof, and the stowage areas on the centre console are ideal for keeping valuables out of sight.