In 1999 i was working for a Citroen dealer and I remember eagerly awaiting the arrival of our first Xsara Picasso. Honestly it was an acquired taste with marmite styling but was well priced and was a good drive.
18 years later and Citroen’s current offerings in the compact MPV segment is the Citroën C4 Picasso and Grand C4 Picasso. We’ve had the current Grand C4 Picasso for a week and It’s amazing to see the progress between the first Picasso and this one.
One of our first impressions was how well built it is. It feels very good, high quality materials inside and out with a very high standard of fit and finish.
As soon as it was delivered the kids piled in. Inside, you feel immediately at home. It’s very modern and elegant with acres of room. Seats are roomy and very comfortable and the whole experience is very pleasant indeed.
Ours test car was very well specified with just about every toy you could think of. The Grand C4 Picasso has a host of safety features to protect you with everything from Vision 360 (parking sensors and cameras all around) to Parking Assist (parks itself), Adaptive Cruise Control, Active Lane Departure Warning, Active Safety Brake, Driver Attention Alert and Active Blind Spot Monitoring, Emergency Collision Alert and so much more. If you want to feel safe, this car firmly ticks that box. You won’t be surprised to hear that this car has a 5 star Euro NCAP rating.
The inside is fabulous. It’s glamorous, spacious and really cool. It’s the right amount of quirky to be a true Citroen but isn’t being daft. For example, the gear selector in our automatic is on the steering column, on the right. It’s reminiscent of a ‘50’s american car but is also perfectly placed and means the space between the front seats is clear. Instead, Citroen have added some storage, perfect.
Our car had the ‘Dune Beige’ Ambience trim level which the brochure says is for ‘customers who place a premium on well-being and comfort.’
It comes with the Relax Pack as an optional extra and incorporates extra-support headrest at the front of the car and a front passenger seat with an electric powered leg rest. The Dune Beige design scheme comprises Yatago Grey cloth, special protective mats and an ambient fragrance dispenser. It is also available with two-tone black and amber full Nappa Leather upholstery. So there!
It even had fully customisable ambient lighting throughout the cabin and massaging front seats. I’m not joking, it was absolutely lovely.
That’s only half of the story though. So, we know the Grand C4 Picasso is very pretty on the outside, luxurious and spacious on the inside, but how does it drive?
Now, i’m a fan of French cars generally, particularly when it comes to ride quality. Having said that, i have a pet hate that drives me crazy. Lots of cars that have MacPherson strut front suspension (the Grand C4 Picasso has) have a common trait. When riding over a speed bump or reasonably significant bump in the road that causes the suspension to compress, then extend quickly as you come of the speed bump, there’s a knock at the end of the suspension travel. It drives me mad because it’s unnecessary.
The Citroen Grand C4 Picasso ride quality is outstanding. It is honestly one of the nicest riding cars I have driven in a long time and was a genuine pleasure to drive. It literally floats over the road surface, shielding you from the horror of our poorly maintained roads. Citroën say it’s because of the Advanced Comfort® programme, which is at the forefront of each new vehicle design and aims to enhance the comfort of each and every current Citroën vehicle. They’re not lying.
The 1.6L diesel engine is both economical and powerful, benefitting from direct high-pressure injection and a new-generation high-yield turbo, it offers a remarkable driving experience right from low engine speeds, with 95% of torque available from just 1,500rpm.
Our test car had one of the best automatic gearboxes i have ever used. The gearbox is the latest generation EAT6, 7 speed automatic and is simply fantastic. It’s incredibly smooth, doesn’t jump around, hunting for gears like some automatics do. You can’t feel it change gear, it’s so smooth, the transition is seamless.
The gearbox is actually very clever. It has a double epicyclic gear train with 2 brakes and 3 clutches. It’s controlled by it’s own ECU and has been specifically designed for reduced maintenance, improved performance and durability. In simple terms, what this means is that the gearbox is very clever but don’t worry because it’s strong and designed for reduced maintenance.
There’s is much more to tell you but we don’t have space and you’ll just get bored. I haven’t told you about the 3D Citroën Connect Nav system, which is combined with an updated 7-inch touchscreen. This new system also enhances the functionality of the 12-inch HD screen on the upper part of the dashboard for example.
Our advice is simple, go and book a test drive, you won’t be disappointed.