Family buyers demand a lot from their cars. Plenty of space, low running costs and ease of use are the essentials, but the Citroen Grand C4 Picasso is trying to add smart technology and desirability to that list.
In our first UK test, we were impressed by the punchy 2.0-litre HDi version of the new seven-seat Picasso, yet most cost-conscious buyers will plump for this cheaper, more efficient 1.6-litre e-HDi model.
It uses the smooth diesel from the new Peugeot 308, so it has plenty of torque and impressive throttle response. The only time you’ll ever want the 2.0-litre HDi is when the car is fully loaded with passengers and bags.
The benefits of the smaller engine are clear, as it emits just 105g/km of CO2 and boasts fuel economy of more than 70mpg. An 89bhp Airdream version is available, producing 98g/km – the lowest CO2 figure of any seven-seat MPV currently on sale – but it is a fair bit slower.
Whichever model you choose, the Grand C4 Picasso remains refined and comfortable. Road and wind noise are fairly well suppressed, and the soft suspension irons out bumps.
The light steering offers virtually no feel, but combines with a tight turning circle and great visibility to make this big car feel compact. The six-speed gearbox is the only real niggle – there’s a notchy shift between first and second.
The rearmost seats are cramped for adults, too, although there’s plenty of space elsewhere, with maximum luggage capacity of 2,181 litres, and more than 600 litres even with five passengers.
The Grand C4 Picasso’s trump card is the stylish new interior. It does away with conventional buttons in favour of a classy touchscreen and a supersized colour display. Although the build quality still seems a bit flimsy, the look and feel inside is a big step up from Citroens of old.