From £19,9658
New Grand C4 Picasso majors on space and practicality, while not being completely devoid of engagement, and it's a vast improvement on the old model

Our Verdict

Citroën Grand C4 Picasso
The car shares some of its styling features with Citroën's premium DS models

Citroën aims to add pizzazz to practical family travel. Does it succeed?

Darren Moss
16 January 2014

What is it?

The expected best-seller in the new Citroën Grand C4 Picasso range.

The latest version of Citroën’s large seven-seat MPV is longer, narrower and lower than the old model, and sits on the French firm’s EMP2 platform. Company officials say the platform has not only allowed them to save weight, some 110kg, but also enabled the car's engineers to make the chassis stronger and stiffer overall. 

It’s also permitted Citroën to lower both the engine and the floor, resulting in more space inside than ever before. With five seats in place there’s 632 litres of storage space, rising to 793 litres with the second row of seats pushed forward.

Fold them flat, and the available space rockets to 2181 litres. That’s almost 10 per cent more than that offered by the Ford S-Max, an MPV we currently rate as the class leader.

What's it like?

Impressively spacious, for a start. The cabin is light and airy, thanks in part to the large panoramic sunroof that dominates the centre of the space.

The third-most row of seats are hidden beneath the boot floor, while the second row of seats can be pushed forwards or removed altogether to create more space. There’s ample room in the second row for two adults, but fitting three shoulder to shoulder here will spark complaints on long trips - such is the case with mid-sized MPVs like this.

Up front, space isn’t an issue. Both driver and front passenger get comfortable seating, while the refreshed interior of the Picasso is a real shining point. 

Avoid the monochrome screen setup found on lower trim levels and instead opt for the full HD colour screen, and the central infotainment display is a real treat for drivers.

Its dual-screen layout might be a tad more distracting than the traditional instruments most drivers are used to, but it’s easy to navigate with well-designed menus and layouts.

The e-HDi 115 diesel engine we tried sits in the middle of a three-strong diesel launch range. Below it sits an e-HDi 90 Airdream engine with 91bhp and headline-grabbing figures of 98g/km of CO2 and 74.3mpg.

At the top of the range comes a 148bhp BlueHDi 150, which is Euro 6 emissions compliant and comes with a Selective Catalytic Reduction system.

The 114bhp e-HDi 115 is a strong, but quiet engine. There’s minimal noise intrusion in the cabin, and the only vibrations from the 1.6-litre unit come at idle. It’s an excellent puller, too, accompanied by good mechanical refinement throughout the rev range. 

A six-speed manual transmission was fitted to our test car, but a six-speed automated manual is also available. The manual has well-spaced ratios, with none of the notchiness between first and second we found on our road test car. 

Steering is a little light for some tastes, but soon firms up with speed. We’d like more feedback, but such is the common drawback of modern electrically assisted systems. 

At speed, there’s also a surprising amount of wind noise from the A-pillars and around the wing mirrors, but not to a level that becomes an annoyance.

The real advantage of the new EMP2 platform comes with the Grand Picasso’s ride, which is vastly improved over the old model. Where the outgoing car would lurch and roll through the corners, the new Grand Picasso stays flat.

The ride quality is acceptable too, and seemingly not compromised by the 18-inch wheels fitted to our test car.

Should I buy one?

There’s no doubt that the latest Citroën Grand C4 Picasso is a real contender in the large MPV market.

Is it good enough to take the crown from the S-Max? No, because the large Ford still offers more driver involvement than the Picasso.

But the advancements made to improve the Citroën’s ride and cabin have resulted in a light, airy car with plenty of personality and a definite sense of style.

The Grand C4 Picasso isn’t ready to take the class crown, but it’s a worthy contender.

Citroën Grand C4 Picasso e-HDi 115 Exclusive

Price £23,255; 0-62mph 12.1sec; Top speed 117mph; Economy 70.6mpg (combined); CO2 105g/km; Kerbweight 1320kg; Engine 4 cyls, 1560cc, diesel, turbocharged; Power 114bhp at 3600rpm; Torque 119lb ft at 1750rpm; Gearbox 6-spd manual

Join the debate

Comments
6

16 January 2014
"Is it good enough to take the crown from the S-Max? No, because the large Ford still offers more driver involvement than the Picasso." - But the Citroen is far more up-to-date, and has considerably more efficient engines than the S-MAX, which is a facelifted version of a car from 2006. To my eyes, the Grand C4 Picasso is more stylish as well, but I realise that's subjective. These things generally matter more to those who buy seven-seaters than "driver involvement" though, and I strongly disagree with the above quote stating that the S-MAX is better simply because of how it drives. It's near irrelevant in this sector to the majority of buyers.

By the way, why won't it let me have paragraphs?

16 January 2014
Motormouths wrote:

"Is it good enough to take the crown from the S-Max? No, because the large Ford still offers more driver involvement than the Picasso." - But the Citroen is far more up-to-date, and has considerably more efficient engines than the S-MAX, which is a facelifted version of a car from 2006. To my eyes, the Grand C4 Picasso is more stylish as well, but I realise that's subjective. These things generally matter more to those who buy seven-seaters than "driver involvement" though, and I strongly disagree with the above quote stating that the S-MAX is better simply because of how it drives. It's near irrelevant in this sector to the majority of buyers.

By the way, why won't it let me have paragraphs?

I wholly agree, also the S-Max is a class above, competing with the C8. The only S-Max's I have ever seen have all had 'Addison Lee' in the back window. So driving involvement would be absolutely zero in the grander scheme of things.

I just wish the standard C4 had a touch more of this car's look and feel inside and out. I think this looks superb and the model I saw at the dealer recently was wonderful inside. (take note Kia, this is how to do an upmarket interior).

16 January 2014
I agree it isn't as important than the car itself, although it will help. I don't think this is the stylish car that everyone seems to think it is. The 5 seater is ok, seen a few on the road already, but this one isn't as coherent

16 January 2014
Does it really have the option of a dual clutch transmission?

If so, surely this is BIG news as it would mean the end to all the awful automated manuals PSA have offered so far.

As for how this car drives, and if the S-Max is a better drive, i doubt it means much to most MPV buyers. And whilst i havent driven a C4 Picasso, i have driven an S-Max, and its hardly a great drive by normal car standards even if its still the best driving MPV.

17 January 2014
So, we have another MPV, a car that can have a big difference between laden and unladen weight and that for the comfort of all those passengers needs to have a good ride. A vehicle that could benefit from a well-developed self-levelling suspension system. If only there was a manufacturer that could develop such a system and put it into production-perhaps something based on some sort of oil or hydraulic and pneumatic springing?
Of course if such a system had been developed it could have been applied to a full range of cars, even licensed to other manufacturers like Rolls Royce or Mercedes Benz for use on large cars.
And it could help the company image- give it a reputation for quality engineering and innovation that would be hard to match.And it would be that much prized marketing bonus, a Unique Selling Point. Any company that had ever had such a system would be foolish to give it up, it would be like Audi dropping Quattro 4wd, Subaru dropping boxer engines and 4wd, Toyota dropping hybrids, Porsche dropping sports cars or Jaguar dropping big sporty luxury saloons.
Oh well,it's not like anything that a European or specially a French maker might come up with. It probably seems more sensible to sponsor a WRC team, a string of wins and great cars in that must be more valuable than anything- look what it has done for Lancia!
No, a decent well developed self levelling hydro-pneumatic suspension system that would well suit an mpv could never be designed in France.That's something for the Germans, or the Japanese or maybe those people with the new 'designer' reputation the Koreans, even the Chinese?
Anyway, good luck on Citroen with their new mpv, it seems nice.

17 January 2014
When transporting four children around all you really need is something comfortable & economical and practical.
I'm not looking for sports car levels of performance when running the family around so long as the engine can deliver some midrange pull on the hilly bits and not feel underpowered when fully laden on the motorway. We had an S Max while our own MPV was in the garage for a few weeks and to be honest I liked driving it but it made the children feel sick a lot. So back to the Citroen this looks like it would fit in with our needs just fine and I quite like the styling too.

 Offence can only be taken not given- so give it back!

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