► Revamped top-spec Picasso tested
► Updated styling and new equipment
► Does it justify its £28k list price?
If you’re not sold on the concept of a supposedly trendy SUV for the school run, but you still need something practical and spacious, then fear not – there’s still a few MPVs out there that can get the job done.
Luckily, Citroen knows that most people still want something more interesting than a box on wheels for transporting the family around. Consequently, it’s seen fit to give its Grand C4 Picasso a refresh, including new front end styling, some new colours and an updated infotainment system.
Looks pretty sharp, for an MPV...
Before it was facelifted the Grand C4 Picasso looked fresh and modern, and the updates only serve to keep it... well, fresh and modern. The thin LED daytime running lights run into the full-width double chevrons, while the main headlight unit sits below. You may think this an odd concept but it certainly looks the part. There’s a revised grille and bumper, with new trim around the foglights, too.
It helps that top-spec diesel Flair models come with some fantastic-looking (and fantastically named ‘Python’) 18-inch alloys, and a choice of striking colours. ‘Soft Sand’ (aka beige) may sound particularly suitable for a dull people carrier, but it suits the quirky Citroen’s looks – although the new ‘Lazuli Blue’ with contrasting A-pillar that runs into the roof rails offers up a particularly striking look.
So, despite the practical nature of this car, the Grand C4 Picasso will certainly get some attention at the school gates – just remember to keep those wheels away from any kerbs...
Will it cope with family life?
It’d be a pretty terrible people-carrier if it couldn’t ace this part. Fortunately, it’s a genuinely nice place while away the miles. Up front it’s comfortable and spacious; the full-length panoramic sunroof, ridiculously large windscreen and narrow pillars mean the Picasso is basically like a moving greenhouse, but smells nicer thanks to a built-in air freshener.
The middle row of seats can slide individually, recline and fold completely flat, depending on how you wish to configure your car, and few will struggle to get comfortable. The front passenger seat also folds flat for those weekends of flat-pack construction or runs to the dump.
As you might expect, the rearmost seats remain best suited for small children – headroom is fine, but taller passengers will become closely acquainted with their knees in the two back seats.
Citroen’s also updated the infotainment system, so you’ve got a touchscreen that actually responds to touch and a vast 12-inch instrument display that’s fully configurable. How very modern.
There’s all the storage you could possibly ask for, too. The manual model goes without the larger central storage container between the front seats in automatic versions, but it’s still easy for kids to hide all kinds of bits of food and detritus. Perhaps the £2000 leather upholstery is a worthwhile option if you regularly follow your kids around with wet wipes.
Does it drive like a (futuristic) box on wheels?
No, but it wouldn’t be the end of the world if it did, because MPVs aren’t about delicate handling and a thrilling driving experience. There’s more joy to be had in providing comfort for all passengers in this kind of car, and the Grand C4 Picasso does this exceedingly well.
That said, the 2.0-litre BlueHDi diesel is smooth, punchy and very flexible, although the manual gearbox is a bit notchy. Still, it’ll go from 0-62mph in under ten seconds (just) and a hefty 273lb ft of torque means there’s plenty of in-gear go. This version should prove cheap to run, too, benefitting from £30 annual VED and a claimed fuel economy of 65.7mpg.
If you do need to press on a bit, you’ll find that the steering is light and a little devoid of feel – but the front end serves up a decent amount of grip. Predictably, however, the Picasso does roll a fair amount.
How much will I pay for it?
£28,010, which isn’t too bad when you consider the comfort, space and equipment on offer for the money. Not to mention those looks. You could spend more on a Seat Alhambra or top-spec VW Touran, but neither of these cars get anywhere close to the Citroen in terms of styling and interest.
If you haven’t already committed to following the herd by going for an SUV, then yes. The Grand C4 Picasso is a great family car that’s not dull to look at, and it excels in the areas important for an MPV. If you’ve got to give up your sports car for something like this, then this would be a sensible choice.
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