It’s not easy designing a people carrier that is practical and boasts eye-catching good looks and many manufacturers have failed in spectacular fashion, but Citroen seems to have achieved the impossible with its latest Grand C4 Picasso.
The seven-seater, which is priced from £19,200 to £27,845, looks great from any angle thanks to its sleek lines, rounded front end, elegant light clusters with 3D-effect tail lamps, integrated roof bars and stylish alloys.
There are four trim levels to choose from – VTR, VTR+, Exclusive and Exclusive+ - and a selection of diesel or petrol engines with either manual or automatic transmissions.
The new Grand C4 Picasso has also shed the pounds and now weighs up to 110kgs less than its predecessor and with that weight loss comes improved efficiency and reduced carbon emissions. In fact, some models boast combined fuel efficiency of 74.3mpg and CO2 emissions of just 98g/km.
Harnessing a new Efficient Modular Platform 2, the vehicle offers class-leading proportions, which creates a combination of cabin space, versatility and accessibility.
The interior is very simplistic in its layout and design with two large colour touchscreens being the main focal point. From these screens the car’s impressive array of features such as climate control, sat nav, audio, multi-media, Bluetooth connectivity and the car’s settings can all be controlled in just two touches.
Obviously versatility is of paramount importance on any multi-purpose vehicle and access to the three rows of seats needs to be an easy process without pulling and pushing levers and tugging at seat backs. Thankfully, on the Grand C4 Picasso all seats can be raised or lowered in a matter of seconds one-handed.
Another vital factor when buying a people carrier is its safety record and the latest model has been awarded the maximum five stars in the Euro NCAP tests.
The Grand C4 Picasso is available in eight body colours and all versions are fitted with alloy wheels as standard. And despite its larger-than-life proportions, it can still fit into a standard single garage.
Citroen predicts 90 per cent of buyers will choose a diesel model and that 75 per cents of sales will come from the fleet market. The most popular model is likely to be the e-HDi 115 with six-speed manual transmission.
I tested out the e-HDi 115 in Exclusive trim priced at £23,255 (£24,700 with options) with a six-speed manual transmission on a road route incorporating dual carriageways, winding country lanes and busy town centres.
Sprinting was never going to be the Grand C4 Picasso’s finest hour but it can achieve a 0-62mph dash in a creditable 12.1 seconds and a top speed of 117mph. The car is powered by a 1.6 diesel engine and develops 114bhp and 270Nm of torque along the way.
Citroen claims the test model is capable of delivering combined fuel economy of 70.6mpg and 105g/km of carbon emissions, although we fell well short of that figure achieving just 55mpg. However, we did spend a lot of time in standing traffic which would have had a detrimental effect on the readings.
The overall performance was impressive for such a large vehicle. It accelerated smoothly through the gears and there was always a constant supply of power on tap.
The road-holding was good and despite its size, tight bends could be attacked with confidence.