First Drive: Citroen Grand C4 Picasso

Citroen expects the seven-seat Grand C4 Picasso to outsell its five-seat sibling by a ratio of 2:1

Citroen expects the seven-seat Grand C4 Picasso to outsell its five-seat sibling by a ratio of 2:1

0
Have your say

Sums, according to Citroen: to turn five into seven, simply count to six, then add 17.

Frazzled? Allow me. Six months on from the launch of the latest C4 Picasso five-seat MPV, Citroen has unveiled a version with space for seven passengers. It’s called the Grand C4 Picasso and to make room for a third row of seats, the car has been stretched by 17cm.

Citroen’s people have also fiddled with the front, sculpted the sides and tweaked the tailgate to distinguish it further from its smaller sibling. The end result is a car that’s longer, narrower and lower than the old Grand Picasso, and one that suits the futuristic new Picasso look better than the shorter car.

That’ll please Citroen, since it expects the seven-seat car to outsell the five-seat car by a ratio of 2:1. Best-selling of all is tipped to be the (deep breath now) Grand C4 Picasso e-HDi 115 Airdream manual VTR+, so let’s start with that.

The badge is big enough to merit a seat to itself, but what it boils down to is a mid-spec Grand Picasso with a 114bhp, 1.6-litre turbodiesel engine under the bonnet that emits just 105g/km of CO2, so you won’t get clobbered for VED.

But if low running costs capture your heart, it’s the looks that catch the eye. The Grand Picasso is one of the most striking seven-seaters to hit the market since Renault put all manner of creases in the fourth-generation Espace. I know, I know, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and all that, but everyone present at the car’s UK press launch liked the cut of the big Picasso’s jib.

Slim LED running lights give the Grand Picasso a fresh face, and the way the roof bars merge with the body of the car at the front and rear pillars is particularly neat. Above the waistline, the Grand Picasso resembles a greenhouse – Citroen claims a class-leading 5.7 square metres of glass – which translates to a very bright cabin.

The dashboard is a masterclass in minimalism. Most of the car’s functions – heater, stereo, satnav – are accessed via a seven-inch colour touchscreen, which then relays information to a foot-wide colour display. Once you’ve seen satnav on the big screen, you won’t want to go back to your wee smartphone again.

One gripe, though – changing the air-con settings can only be done via the dual displays, which means you can’t fiddle with the temperature while the satnav is on. I’d have preferred old-school heater dials on the dashboard.

That minor grumble apart, the Grand Picasso is, well, grand. The 114bhp diesel does a fine job of hauling the car’s bulk around (Citroen says the new car weighs up to 110kg less than its predecessor) and goes about its business quietly and smoothly. I remarked to my co-pilot that I thought the six-speed manual shift had a nice “snick-snicky” feel to it, but she had no idea what I was talking about. I hope you do.

Citroen has struck a fine balance between comfort and road-holding. There was a bit of roll but no shortage of grip, even on Buckinghamshire roads still muddied from recently-abated floods, and the Grand Picasso was never anything but cossetting, even when I careered across an unseen speed bump at way over the recommended 10mph.

With a few deft flicks of his hands, a man from Citroen HQ demonstrated how to slide, fold and unfold all six passenger seats in under a minute, proving that a) Citroen hasn’t scrimped on practicality, and b) having a French accent automatically makes everything you do immeasurably cooler.

About those seats – I’m 6ft 2ins and, although I managed to get comfy in the third row, it meant sliding the middle row seats almost as far forward as they would go. In other words, there’s next to no hope of squeezing seven of me into the car. Seven averagely-tall grown-ups, or five beanpoles and two pre-teens, should have no trouble, though. Worth noting is that all three seats in the second row are the same width, so there’ll be no arguing about who has to squeeze into the middle.

If you plan to travel with seven aboard a lot of the time, you might appreciate the extra punch offered by the 2.0-litre, 150bhp diesel, which we drove in 
six-speed manual and automatic versions. It breezes along effortlessly on a big dollop of torque and still manages a claimed 67mpg and 110g/km.

Or, if you have more children than you know what to do with and lie awake at night fretting about household budgets and the ice caps, may we point you in the direction of the 90bhp diesel, which returns 74mpg and 98g/km CO2, making it, says Citroen, the only non-hybrid seven-seater to be exempt from VED.

There are a brace of petrol engines, one with 118bhp and the other with 148, but even Citroen doesn’t expect to shift many of these, and they were not available at the press launch.

With the back row seats tucked away, the boot swallows up to 793 litres, and all passenger seats fold flat for really long loads. Cubby holes abound, although the fuse box bites a chunk out of the glovebox.

Standard fare on the VTR+ includes 16-inch alloy wheels, front fog lights, dual-zone climate control, reversing sensors, a front passenger seat that folds flat, and fold-down tables on the back of the front seats.

The poshest Grand C4 Picasso, badged Exclusive+, comes with little luxuries such as a motorised tailgate, ceiling-mounted air vents for back-row passengers, massage seats at the front and an electronic foot rest for the front seat passenger, although I couldn’t get it to work without crushing my toes on the underside of the glovebox.

Subtract such needless fripperies from the equation, though, and the Grand C4 Picasso adds up to a very accomplished people mover. Frazzled? Allow me. Six months on from the launch of the latest C4 Picasso five-seat MPV, Citroen has unveiled a version with space for seven passengers. It’s called the Grand C4 Picasso and to make room for a third row of seats, the car has been stretched by 17cm.

Citroen’s people have also fiddled with the front, sculpted the sides and tweaked the tailgate to distinguish it further from its smaller sibling. The end result is a car that’s longer, narrower and lower than the old Grand Picasso, and one that suits the futuristic new Picasso look better than the shorter car.

That’ll please Citroen, since it expects the seven-seat car to outsell the five-seat car by a ratio of 2:1. Best-selling of all is tipped to be the (deep breath now) Grand C4 Picasso e-HDi 115 Airdream manual VTR+, so let’s start with that.

The badge is big enough to merit a seat to itself, but what it boils down to is a mid-spec Grand Picasso with a 114bhp, 1.6-litre turbodiesel engine under the bonnet that emits just 105g/km of CO2, so you won’t get clobbered for VED.

But if low running costs capture your heart, it’s the looks that catch the eye. The Grand Picasso is one of the most striking seven-seaters to hit the market since Renault put all manner of creases in the fourth-generation Espace. I know, I know, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and all that, but everyone present at the car’s UK press launch liked the cut of the big Picasso’s jib.

Slim LED running lights give the Grand Picasso a fresh face, and the way the roof bars merge with the body of the car at the front and rear pillars is particularly neat. Above the waistline, the Grand Picasso resembles a greenhouse – Citroen claims a class-leading 5.7 square metres of glass – which translates to a very bright cabin.

The dashboard is a masterclass in minimalism. Most of the car’s functions – heater, stereo, satnav – are accessed via a seven-inch colour touchscreen, which then relays information to a foot-wide colour display. Once you’ve seen satnav on the big screen, you won’t want to go back to your wee smartphone again.

One gripe, though – changing the air-con settings can only be done via the dual displays, which means you can’t fiddle with the temperature while the satnav is on. I’d have preferred old-school heater dials on the dashboard.

That minor grumble apart, the Grand Picasso is, well, grand. The 114bhp diesel does a fine job of hauling the car’s bulk around (Citroen says the new car weighs up to 110kg less than its predecessor) and goes about its business quietly and smoothly. I remarked to my co-pilot that I thought the six-speed manual shift had a nice “snick-snicky” feel to it, but she had no idea what I was talking about. I hope you do.

Citroen has struck a fine balance between comfort and road-holding. There was a bit of roll but no shortage of grip, even on Buckinghamshire roads still muddied from recently-abated floods, and the Grand Picasso was never anything but cossetting, even when I careered across an unseen speed bump at way over the recommended 10mph.

With a few deft flicks of his hands, a man from Citroen HQ demonstrated how to slide, fold and unfold all six passenger seats in under a minute, proving that a) Citroen hasn’t scrimped on practicality, and b) having a French accent automatically makes everything you do immeasurably cooler.

About those seats – I’m 6ft 2ins and, although I managed to get comfy in the third row, it meant sliding the middle row seats almost as far forward as they would go. In other words, there’s next to no hope of squeezing seven of me into the car. Seven averagely-tall grown-ups, or five beanpoles and two pre-teens, should have no trouble, though. Worth noting is that all three seats in the second row are the same width, so there’ll be no arguing about who has to squeeze into the middle.

If you plan to travel with seven aboard a lot of the time, you might appreciate the extra punch offered by the 2.0-litre, 150bhp diesel, which we drove in 
six-speed manual and automatic versions. It breezes along effortlessly on a big dollop of torque and still manages a claimed 67mpg and 110g/km.

Or, if you have more children than you know what to do with and lie awake at night fretting about household budgets and the ice caps, may we point you in the direction of the 90bhp diesel, which returns 74mpg and 98g/km CO2, making it, says Citroen, the only non-hybrid seven-seater to be exempt from VED.

There are a brace of petrol engines, one with 118bhp and the other with 148, but even Citroen doesn’t expect to shift many of these, and they were not available at the press launch.

With the back row seats tucked away, the boot swallows up to 793 litres, and all passenger seats fold flat for really long loads. Cubby holes abound, although the fuse box bites a chunk out of the glovebox.

Standard fare on the VTR+ includes 16-inch alloy wheels, front fog lights, dual-zone climate control, reversing sensors, a front passenger seat that folds flat, and fold-down tables on the back of the front seats.

The poshest Grand C4 Picasso, badged Exclusive+, comes with little luxuries such as a motorised tailgate, ceiling-mounted air vents for back-row passengers, massage seats at the front and an electronic foot rest for the front seat passenger, although I couldn’t get it to work without crushing my toes on the underside of the glovebox.

Subtract such needless fripperies from the equation, though, and the Grand C4 Picasso adds up to a very accomplished people mover.

VITAL STATS

Car Citroen Grand C4 Picasso e-HDi 115 Airdream manual VTR+

Price £21,195

Engine 1.6l diesel, 4cyl

Performance Max speed 117mph; 0-62mph 11.7s

Economy 70.6mpg

CO2 emissions 105g/km

Back to the top of the page