Styling is a bit less boxy than a traditional MPV, to give more of a hatchback look to the exterior.
There is a pioneering element to the Citroen C4 Picasso. The current car, newly launched in summer 2013, is the third generation in a series of Picasso-badged models dating back to 1999. The first was the Xara Picasso, then came the C4 Picasso that was the predecessor to this one. This car pioneers Citroen’s new EMP2 chassis (Efficient Modular Platform two-wheel-drive) that will be central to a new generation of Citroen and Peugeot models now starting to appear on the scene, including a seven-seater version of the C4 Picasso which makes its UK debut early in 2014.
Citroen aims to woo customers away from key rivals such as the Renault Scenic and Ford C-Max, so the C4 Picasso has been substantially overhauled in this latest model. The new chassis is just part of the story. The body is four cm shorter and four cm lower than before, giving it a sleeker and more appealing silhouette. Weight has been shaved off throughout the car to make it 140 kg lighter, in pursuit of better fuel economy and lower CO2. The windscreen is a panoramic design, stretching right up and back into the roofline, to give the car excellent forward vision and pull lots of light into the interior. The boot is bigger than rivals’ and adjustable for size by varying the back seat position.
The C4 Picasso comes with a choice of petrol or diesel engines, six-speed manual or six-speed auto gearboxes and four trim levels: VTR, VTR+, Exclusive and Exclusive+. The likely best seller is this 1.6 litre e-HDi diesel with a power output of 114 bhp, 70 mpg economy and 105 g/km of CO2 output. Prices for the range start from around £17,500 and rise to around £24,500.
Styling is a bit less boxy than a traditional MPV, to give more of a hatchback look to the exterior. Slim LED daytime running lights add a distinctive touch to the front end. Unusually for an MPV this size you can have a powered tailgate and the cabin is designed with creature comfort in mind, including optional massaging seats.
Don’t expect to be wowed by the C4 Picasso’s performance. It does a good efficient job, but it is no ball of fire, and the driving experience is relaxed and efficient but not quite engaging enough bring a smile of entertainment to your face. We chose to test it in diesel form, because that is what Citroen expects 90 per cent of UK buyers to choose.
Acceleration is relatively leisurely, and steep hills can make it feel a touch under-powered, but mostly the 1.6 litre e-HDi engine does an efficient job. The top speed is 117 mph and 0-62 acceleration takes nearly 12 seconds, so it isn’t particularly quick off the mark. It is very economical, though, with a 70 mpg combined fuel figure, and only 105 g/km of CO2 output. The gearbox has quite a slick action but the ratios are set for economy and there are times when you find yourself having to stir the box to get the car moving.