Citroen Grand C4 Picasso MPV (2013 - ) review
Read the Citroen Grand C4 Picasso (2013 - ) car review by Auto Trader's motoring experts, covering price, specification, running costs, practicality, safety and how it drives
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Say what you like about the styling of this car, but it’s certainly distinctive. Those sleek, feline LED daytime running lights blend smoothly with the twin chrome lines that make up the Citroen chevrons, while the actual headlamp clusters are tucked away beneath them. The bold roofbars extend the length of the car, finishing only at the rear lights, with their strong ‘C’-shaped graphic. There’s no denying that this is a big car (4.6-metres long and two wide) but the designers have cleverly managed to disguise much of its bulk.
It’s the interior that really matters in an MPV, though and there’s no denying that the Grand Picasso excels here. The driving position is excellent, thanks to comfy, fully adjustable seats and a steering wheel which can be adjusted for both reach and rake. You might expect that it’d be difficult to see out of such a big car, too but this isn’t the case. The panoramic windscreen gives an outstanding view of the road ahead and the large glazed area means that it’s easy to see what’s going on around you. This also means that there is loads of light in the cabin, resulting in a cabin which never feels gloomy, even with the dark plastic dash and the kid-friendly black-upholstered seats. This car can be specced with plenty of toys, too, including a 12-inch panoramic HD screen which shows the car’s vital statistics, sat-nav display, music and even a picture of the driver’s choosing. The front seats can also be had with screens in the headrests to keep the nippers in the back entertained.
This is the Grand C4 Picasso’s trump card. Not only will it fit seven with ease but it can also accommodate pretty much any combination of people within that number, too. The middle row of seats can fit three child-seats side-by-side, each chair can be slid, folded and contorted in various directions independently. In the back, the third row of seats fold flat into the boot floor, leaving a 645-litre boot (700 with the middle row of seats pushed as far forward as they can go) and with all the seats folded, a van-like 2.75-metre load bay emerges. The boot-lid is usefully flat, while Citroen claims that the boot opening is the widest in the class, making it easy to get the kiddie’s paraphernalia in and out. In general, there’s plenty of leg room for all, but those in the third row of seats will struggle on long journeys if they’re any bigger than small children.
Ride and handling
This is a big car and as such, it’s never going to get your heart racing in the corners. Body roll is, however, controlled impressively well and while the steering is a touch over-light and vague, this does, especially when combined with Citroen’s 360 Vision camera system (which gives you an all-round view of the car) make it very easy to manoeuvre at low speeds; especially for such a big car. The ride, too, impresses, staying composed and comfortable at both low and high speeds. It even copes well with our rutted British roads.
So far, we’ve only driven the 148bhp 2.0-litre and the 1.6-litre, 118bhp diesels. Mated to the six-speed manual 'box, the former made a convincing case for itself. Its 273lb/ft of torque arrives at 2,000rpm and pulls strongly throughout the rest of the rev-range – it gets from 0-62mph in 9.7 seconds when fitted with the manual transmission. When attached to the new six-speed automatic gearbox, however, it did feel noticeably more sluggish, more so than its 9.8-second 0-62mph time would suggest. The gearbox is slow to kick down and, even when manipulating it with the wheel-mounted paddles, it doesn’t always do what you want it to at the first time of asking. The smaller-capacity, lower-powered diesel is likely to be a bigger seller, however, thanks to its more affordable purchase and running costs. It performs adequately and is impressively refined once it gets going, but can sound quite strained and breathless when worked hard.l; We only tried it with the less-than-perfect automatic gearbox, however, and we suspect it'll work better with the manual 'box.
In order to appeal to families, Citroen has made sure that the Grand C4 Picasso won’t cost much to run. The likely big seller in the range, the 118bhp 1.6-litre diesel manages 72.4mpg, in automatic guise (70.6mpg with the manual 'box) and emits between 103- and 106g/km depending on the wheel/gearbox combination. The 2.0-litre diesel will cost more to tax, thanks to its CO2 emissions of between 113- and 120g/km (except the manual fitted with 17-inch wheels, which emits just 110g/km). The super-efficient 99bhp 1.6-litre diesel is the cheapest to run thanks to its 99g/km emissions and it will return 74.3mpg. There are two petrol engines available, but these are likely to be of limited appeal to British customers, due to their higher tax bands and fuel usage.
The Grand C4 Picasso is too new for there to be any meaningful reliability data for it. Despite Citroen’s poor reliability rating, however, Warranty Direct’s Reliability Index website rates the company’s cars as ‘Good’ and is well into the top half of the manufacturer’s ratings.
Euro NCAP hasn't tested the Grand C4 Picasso as yet, but they have tested its little brother, the five-seat C4 Picasso, with which it shares much of its basic architecture. This car was awarded five stars, scoring 86% for adult occupant protection and a very impressive 88% for child-occupant protection. All versions of the Grand C4 Picasso come with a multitude of airbags, as well as stability control and seatbelt reminders.
Even basic VTR models come pretty generously equipped, with dual-zone climate control, 16-inch alloys, cruise control and a plethora of infotainment features. This includes the seven-inch touchscreen, DAB radio, USB, Bluetooth, all of which can be controlled by the steering-wheel mounted buttons. VTR+ models add rear parking sensors, while Exclusive versions benefit from the 12-inch HD display and the kids pack (meaning a mirror to see the passengers with and integrated sun-blinds in the rear windows). Top-of-the-range Exclusive+ models get 3D-effect LED rear lights, a motorised tailgate, a panoramic sunroof and a half-leather interior. There are plenty of options, too, such as a full leather interior and the 360 Vision Park Assist system.
The Citroen Grand C4 Picasso is a very good MPV. It’s spacious, versatile, comfortable, good-value and efficient. If you carry six passengers on a regular basis then it has lots to recommend it. Alongside these very worthy reasons to invest in one, it’s also, to our eyes, at least, a good-looking thing, which will turn heads wherever you go. Alongside the DS3 and the five-seat C4 Picasso, it’s probably the best car Citroen makes at the moment.