Friday16 September 2016
You’ll have to work hard to spot the differences between this 2016 Grand C4 Picasso and its predecessor from 2013, but if you look closely you will find them. It’s more a case of evolution than revolution, but it’s still a modern-looking machine.
The key difference is a new suite of safety systems intended solely to keep you and your family as safe as possible as you cart your children and their belongings from pillar to post. Speed limit recognition and lane departure warning both feature, along with a host of other gizmos.
MPVs aren’t renowned for their looks, but the Citroen really is a good-looking beast. With such proportions, it’s never going to be classically pretty, but it has just the right balance of delicate details and clean, minimalist lines.
These have been updated slightly, but you’d have to be something of an anorak to spot them. At the front, there’s a mildly modified bumper and grille, while the rear end now features 3D-effect rear lights. They’re all subtle differences, but if you sit the finished article next to its predecessor, it is a small improvement.
But despite all this, few will ever call the Grand C4 Picasso cool. If you desperately need the space to carry seven, though, this is about as stylish as it gets.
Practicality is the most important quality an MPV can have, and the Citroen has it in spades. It has seven genuinely usable seats, and the two rearmost rows fold down to create a cavernous boot. Even with the middle row of seats in place, the 645-litre load bay should be more than commodious enough.
If you want to get at this space, you’ll have to go through the big, heavy tailgate. In the Grand C4 Picasso, though, it’s no problem.
There’s a sensor under the rear bumper that senses your foot waving beneath it and opens the boot. And if you’re worried about cats passing under the car and setting off the boot lid, don’t – Citroen’s designers have built it so it knows the difference between a foot and an errant feline.
There’s no getting away from the fact the Grand C4 Picasso is a big car, but it does a good job of trying to hide its bulk. The vast expanses of glass and the high driving position mean you can see out easily enough, and it gives you the impression you’re in something slightly smaller than a huge people carrier.
On the road, it’s an easy car to place thanks to well-sorted steering, while the big seats make it a comfortable cruiser. The only fly in the ointment is a noticeable amount of wind noise at motorway speeds, but perhaps that’s to be expected from a massive MPV.
Aside from that, though, it’s relatively refined, with the four-cylinder diesel engine up front passing almost unnoticed at everyday speeds. It grumbles a bit if you put your foot down, but that’s just the nature of diesels.
The Flair trim makes for an enticing proposition when it comes to value, offering a plethora of useful gadgets. A 3D satellite navigation system, for example, is offered, along with a 12-inch digital display and a seven-inch touchscreen control panel.
Parking sensors can be found at both ends, too, and there’s the usual assortment of mobile phone pairing systems.
The Grand C4 Picasso is, of course, a car for people with young children. It’s a hugely competent family bus, capable of ferrying kids around the country in comfort and managing to look half-decent while it does so. And because it’s relatively economical, it’s unlikely to break the bank.
Model: Citroen Grand C4 Picasso Flair BlueHDi 150
Engine: 2.0-litre, four-cylinder turbodiesel producing 148bhp
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Performance: 0-62mph in 10.1 seconds, top speed 129mph
Economy: 64.2mpg combined
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