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Citroen C4 Picasso review (2013 onwards)
Citroen C4 Picasso: summary
Swanky new looks, an efficient engine line-up and a massive weight saving make Citroen’s new C4 Picasso people carrier a strong proposition
What: Citroen C4 Picasso
Where: Lisbon, Portugal
Date: June 2013
Price:£17,500 - £24,500 (estimated)
Available: summer 2013
Key rivals:Ford C-Max, Renault Scenic, Vauxhall Zafira, VW Touran
We like: Styling inside and out, refinement, weight savings improve every area of the car
We don’t like: Handling not as good as rivals, diesel engine noisy when revved
Citroen C4 Picasso: first impressions
The popularity of crossover 4x4s has put pressure on the MPV segment in recent years, so there’s a lot riding on the new C4 Picasso for Citroen. European buyers tend to want a bit more style and are prepared to sacrifice efficiency and practicality to some extent to get it.
Modern super-efficient SUVs like the Mazda CX5 deliver this in spades, so Citroen has had to give its more conventional Picasso people carrier model a serious overhaul to keep it competitive, morphing the car to suit users’ needs.
A wide spread of pulling power from the transmission means you don't have to trouble the transmission
The good news is it looks sharp. The production car has remained fairly faithful to the Technospace concept car’s design, and its more defined creases mean this is an MPV you wouldn’t mind driving.
Looks are only part of the recipe though. Although typical C4 Picasso drivers might care less about how the car handles, now that the C4 Picasso is more practical and more efficient than ever, can it claw back lost ground to cars like the Nissan Qashqai?
Citroen C4 Picasso: performance
We got to sample the 115hp 1.6-litre turbodiesel engine, which will make up close to 50% of the new C4 Picasso’s sales, as well as the less obvious 155hp turbo petrol.
Around town it's comfortable and shrugs off speed bumps
The diesel unit is capable enough and pulls smoothly, even if it is noisy at the top end. 0-62mph comes up in 11.8 seconds, which is more than adequate for the school run, and a useable mid-range allied to a light but fairly positive six-speed manual gearbox with well-spaced ratios means cruising is easy.
The less obvious 155hp petrol choice is surprisingly quick, completing the 0-62mph benchmark in 9 seconds flat. A wide spread of pulling power from the small turbo motor (maximum torque of 177lb ft is available between 1,400 and 4,000rpm) means you don’t have to trouble the transmission, but again, if you do, the six-speed manual unit is enjoyably positive to use.
Although not present at the launch, Citroen’s six-speed auto is available on the 90hp and 115hp diesel versions.
Citroen C4 Picasso: ride and handling
With the new C4 Picasso Citroen has managed to save 140kg over its predecessor (it actually weighs the same as the current, smaller C3 Picasso…) and this has had a strong positive effect on both ride and handling.
It’s been designed to carry people in comfort, so the Picasso isn’t the most involving or rewarding car to drive quickly. That said, body roll through faster bends and the ride over undulating surfaces are both well controlled.
Around town it’s comfortable, too, and generally shrugs off speed bumps, vicious manhole covers and potholes – although we did notice an inconsistent harshness over some unkind cracks in the Tarmac.
Big strides have been made with styling inside the cabin
Citroen has pushed the wheels to the extremes of the car’s footprint, lengthening the wheelbase and reducing overhangs to improve body control and ride comfort. It’s also helped agility, while the car is now more manoeuvrable than ever, with a 1-metre smaller turning circle.
That said, the steering is slow – but it does make the C4 Picasso feel stable at motorway speeds, with no sudden lurches from the body when changing lanes. It’s a welcome trait if you’re going to be carrying little ones on board.
Citroen C4 Picasso: interior
As with the outside, big strides have been made with styling inside the cabin. Citroen call it a ‘loft-style’ interior, thanks to the huge panoramic roof and massive glass area. With more room inside, too, it does make it a relaxing place to be.
The new dash looks much more up market – clad with soft-touch materials it features a seven-inch touchscreen interface for the car’s infotainment system, while the gauges and dials are displayed on a larger, 12-inch HD display up top. The latter can be configured to show anything from sat-nav to cruise control or speed limit settings alongside the standard readouts.
The 90hp turbodiesel retruns 74.3mpg combined, making it the most fuel-efficient option in its class
Although the car is 4cm shorter and 4cm lower than before, boot space is actually increased by 40 litres to 537 litres – the best load capacity in class, according to Citroen. This expands to 630 litres with the rear seats folded.
While it might not be the most engaging or capable car to drive, individually adjustable rear seats and optional features such as a powered tailgate and parking assist system should at least make it easy to live with on a daily basis, which is what cars like the C4 Picasso are all about.
Citroen C4 Picasso: economy and safety
The reduced mass has also helped improve efficiency, with the 90hp e-HDi turbodiesel returning 74.3mpg combined with 98g/km CO2 emissions, making it the most fuel-efficient option in its class. The 115hp diesel returns 70mpg combined with 104g/km CO2 emissions.
All diesel units get stop-start – except for the standard 90hp HDi mated to the manual gearbox – including the 110g/km 150hp ‘BlueHDi’ turbodiesel coming later this year.
The C4 Picasso gets a number of safety features, including a lane departure warning system that will vibrate the driver’s seatbelt if the car should stray out of its lane. Alongside this, there’s also a system which tightens the seat belts if the car senses impending danger, hopefully reducing the affects of a crash. There’s also a blind spot monitoring function available.
Citroen C4 Picasso: the MSN Cars verdict
Citroen has upped its game with the new C4 Picasso, improving usability, and importantly, the car’s looks. It’s still not the most inspiring car to drive, but it is fit for purpose. On the whole it rides well and the massively improved styling is a big bonus.
Add to that competitive pricing – with the range kicking off at an expected £17,500 and the most popular 115hp diesel version slated to cost £20,255 – and the new C4 Picasso is worth considering if you’re after a practical and parsimonious five-seat people mover.
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