Citroen Grand C4 Picasso 1.6 HDi (6-spd) VTR+ 7-seat

December 2007

picture of car from the front

One of the most stylish looking compact MPVs on the market

Ratings

Overall Rating 9Overall rating

Value for money Rating 8Value for money

Space and Practicality Rating 8Costs

Space and Practicality Rating 9Space and practicality

Controls and display Rating 6Controls and display

Comfort Rating 8Comfort

Security Rating 8Car security

Safety Rating 8Car safety


Likes

  • Driver and front passenger visibility is excellent
  • Spacious even when fully loaded
  • Ingeniously designed and highly practical detailed touches
  • Citroen's reputation for offering good deals

Gripes

  • Controls centred around the steering wheel can sometimes prove awkward
  • Electronic gearbox system could be smoother and quicker to react to driver inputs
  • The combination of bright sun and the car's glass roof in summer is a concern
  • Entry-level model could be better equipped

Competition in the compact MPV sector is intense, but Citroen's C4 Grand Picasso has taken the fight to a new level. The fresh-looking seven-seat vehicle brings a welcome and impressive injection of style, flexibility and ingenuity to the market.

Citroen's C4 Picasso range is easily one of the most stylish MPVs on the market, and one of the most unusual. The car's spacious cabin is bathed in light thanks to a huge panoramic windscreen and glass roof. The windscreen stretches above the driver's head, while the A-pillars have been slimmed down to increase visibility. Front quarter windows mean that the traditional MPV blind spot problem has been reduced.

Reminiscent of Citroens of old, the GrandC4 Picasso is full of oddities and quirky features. It has an electronic handbrake that releases automatically when you move away, a button-free central console and a fixed-hub steering wheel that houses all of the major buttons used to control the main display, audio, cruise control and hands-free telephone system.

Citroen's choice of an electronic gearbox for selected variants is the main reason why there is so much space in the cabin. It consists of a steering column-mounted lever and a handbrake button on the dashboard. Not a true automatic but more of a clutchless manual, left in automatic mode the gearshifts can be a little jerky, although drivers can overcome this by changing gears with paddles located behind the steering wheel.

The optional of a self-levelling rear suspension gives the Grand C4 Picasso a smooth and composed ride over a variety of road surfaces but it suffers from a hint of understeer when cornering - understandable for a car of its size with a suspension set for comfort. All in all, it delivers an enjoyable ride and an even more appealing prospect when you consider the quick and easy seat configurations available leaving plenty of room no matter what the arrangement.

Our verdict on the Citroen Grand C4 Picasso 1.6 HDi (6-spd) VTR+ 7-seat

One of the best compact MPVs available and easily the most stylish, some will find the electronic transmission a little disappointing. The best advice is to use the paddle shifters for a smoother experience. The car is good enough to tempt even customers with conservative tastes, and it's ideal for families who want a stylish seven-seat MPV packed with helpful and practical features.

Costs
Costs rating 8

Competitively priced, Citroen is not afraid to offer discounts as well, which means customers that are happy to haggle will get a bargain and a lot of car for their money. Running costs are affordable and the fuel economy is good for a car of its size - especially if you opt for a diesel variant - while all come with a three year warranty.

Space and practicality
Space and Practicality Rating 9

Hugely practical, the C4 has storage compartments throughout the cabin that swallow objects of various sizes easily and securely. The seating system operates like a dream and even with all seven passengers onboard there is still plenty of elbow and legroom. With five seats there is ample boot space available but when all the seats are folded flat it resembles a van, and is ideal for transporting large and bulky items.

picture of car from the rear

Boot space is generous no matter what the seat configuration

Controls and display
Controls and Display Rating 6

The downside of having such an uncluttered central console is that the controls have been grouped together on the fixed-hub steering wheel, which has made the steering wheel busy-looking. Information is grouped together on a digital screen located in the centre of the upper fascia and is easy to read. Drivers have a further option of personalising the display by adjusting the colour settings.

Comfort
Comfort Rating 8

Given that it's a people carrier, Citroen has understandably given the Grand C4 Picasso a much softer ride than the C4 hatchback. It copes well on a variety of road surfaces and seems to float pleasantly along the motorway. The self-levelling rear suspension serves to ensure a comfortable ride for its occupants, although there is still some body roll through corners

Car security
Security Rating 8

To protect against theft and break-in, the C4 Picasso range can be specified with laminated glass side windows, but remember that with the abundance of glass the contents of the cabin are always going to be on show. All models have remote control central locking with deadlocks as well as an engine immobiliser, and the boot and doors lock when the vehicle is moving. An alarm can also be fitted as added security on selected models.

Car safety
Safety Rating 8

All models have seven airbags and are fitted with ABS, EBD and EBA in addition to ESP with traction control - essentially all the standard safety electronic aids. Other carefully thought out features include hazard lights which automatically flash under rapid braking. Unlike most MPVs, the Citroen features four Isofix seats and all seven seats are fitted with three point seatbelts.

Driver appeal
Driver Appeal Rating 7

Opting for the manual gearbox will avoid the frustrations inherent with using the electronic gearbox although most people are likely to choose the automatic option for ease and convenience. When fully-loaded, the Exclusive model, with all of its intelligent technology onboard, will appeal to those who just want to concentrate on driving safely and not be distracted by other worries such as parking. Cruise control with a speed limiter is standard. The various engines perform well, but for a car of this size the larger capacity diesel motors will prove better able and surprisingly frugal.

picture of car interior

The dash is uncluttered at the cost of a messy steering wheel

Family car appeal
Family Appeal Rating 9

The C4 Grand Picasso has it all and will be able to cope with and meet the requirements of everyday family life. Passengers in the second and third row also benefit from excellent levels of side visibility, giving children a good view, which is thought to help with reducing travel-sickness.

First car appeal
First car Rating 6

Given its size, it is unlikely to appeal to first time drivers and it's only the top spec cars that come with all the helpful gadgets - parking sensors, speed limiter. The unconventional interior means it's a car that takes some getting used to, and the electronic parking brake might prove a step too far for a novice.

Quality and image
Quality and Image Rating 7

Hopefully classy models like this Grand C4 Picasso will do much to banish Citroen's less than stellar past regarding durability issues. The car's interior is finished to a high standard, and the upper dash is nicely finished in soft-touch plastics. There are tasteful chrome highlights dotted around the cabin and the doors close with a reassuring thud. There is no strong image associated with the brand, but the French firm's recent efforts go along way to reversing its fortunes.

Accessibility
Accessibility Rating

The MPV features a handy seating system that allows the five rear seats to be quickly and easily folded away under the floor by pulling on a strap. Each seat can be individually manipulated which means that two second row passengers don't have to get out for others to gain access to the third row. A lever on the shoulder of the outer second row makes them fold like a cinema seat and slide forwards.

Stereo and ICE (In car entertainment)

The base model doesn't get an MP3 compatible CD player as standard but the Exclusive gets the complete package: radio/CD player MP3 with six speakers and steering mounted controls. If that's not enough, a Philips branded amplifier plus eight speakers including a subwoofer is available as an upgrade. Another optional pack includes two seven inch screens for rear seat passengers, a DVD player, wireless headphones and remote control.

picture of car in detail

The extensive use of glass bathes the cabin in light

Colours and trim

Available in a range of pleasing colours, metallic and pearlescent paint is available as an option on all models. The trim inside the cabin is finished to a good standard and feels durable and hard-wearing. Citroen has made a big effort to move away from cheap plastics and the quality of the materials used combines to create a classy cabin.

Parking

The amount of technology onboard the Grand C4 Picasso makes parking a doddle - once you've paid for it. Options include an easy to use and trust parking space measurement system that takes the guesswork out of parallel parking. Push the 'P' button and sensors beam back information advising on whether a space is big enough to park in. Certain models can also be specified with front and rear parking sensors but it's a shame rear sensors aren't standard on all models.

Spare wheel

Available as an option for LX, SX and VTR+ trim. Not available with Exclusive trim.

 

Range information

Petrol engine options - 1.8-litre (125bhp); 2.0-litre (143bhp). Diesel engine options - 1.6-litre (110bhp); 2.0-litre (138bhp). Transmission options: five-speed manual gearbox, six-speed electronic gearbox with choice of manual mode with paddleshift gearchange or fully automatic. Trim levels: LX, SX, VTR+, Exclusive

 

Alternative cars

Renault Grand Scenic Boasts refined engines and good safety equipment

Vauxhall Zafira Versatile seven seat cabin but storage space could be better

Volkswagen Touran Conservatively styled but offers a solid and dependable driving experience

Ford S-Max The mid-size MPV with the sportiest driving character and most rounded ownership experience



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December 2007