New Citroen C4 Picasso THP 155

We drive the new range-topping petrol-engined Citroen C4 Picasso

Overall Auto Express Rating

3.0 out of 5

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Citroen expects petrol models of the C4 Picasso to only make up 10 per cent of sales, and when the diesels are so good and such excellent value it’s quite easy to see why. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with this turbocharged engine – in fact its refinement and acceleration are better than the 113bhp diesel– it’s just that the e-HDi offers a better all-round package, and is guaranteed keep running costs down in the long run.

The new Citroen C4 Picasso has the kind of exciting, radical looks you don’t tend to find in the MPV class and this range-topping THP 155 petrol model is promising to be the most exciting to drive, too.

It boasts 40bhp more than the C4 Picasso e-HDi diesel we drove previously and its turbocharged performance promises acceleration from 0-62mph in nine seconds – around three seconds quicker than the diesel. With a new chassis underneath, which has shed around 140kgs over the old C4 Picasso, it feels nippy but it’s this engine’s flexibility and smoothness that impress most.

On the move it’s incredibly quiet and feels keen to accelerate whenever you put your foot down; you won’t be hunting through the gearbox constantly to find the torque as it produces its maximum between 1400 and 4000rpm.

You’d hardly say it’s ever a sporty or exciting drive, though – a fact compounded by the handling which feels predictable and safe rather than thrilling. Admittedly, there’s a lot less body roll than on the previous model and the steering is better weighted and more responsive but you’ll be having more fun behind the wheel of a Ford C-MAX.

The C4 Picasso performs well in terms of refinement, with barely any wind, road or tyre noise making it into the cabin during a steady 70mph cruise. The ride is firmer than some buyers will want but it’s far from uncomfortable, even on some of the larger 18-inch alloy wheels.

Many of these complaints are fairly minor, though, and the C4 Picasso performs well where it matters most – practicality. The 537-litre boot is the biggest in its class and can be extended to 630 litres by sliding each one of the third row seats forwards individually. Alternatively, they can be folded flat in to the floor for a huge 1,709-litre load area. With each of the rear seats being the same size, it also makes fitting three child seats very easy. With these kinds of dimensions, the C4 Picasso could be a big hit with families.

The cabin itself feels very upmarket, with trimmings of gloss black and chrome throughout. All Picassos get a seven-inch colour touchscreen, too, while higher-spec models even get a huge 12-inch high-def screen above that.

Citroen is expecting the THP 155 to be about £300 cheaper than the equivalent e-HDi 115, but because of the petrol’s CO2 emissions of 139g/km it costs around £100 a year more to tax than the diesel. You’ll have made your money back on road tax alone, and that’s without taking in to account the fact the diesel boasts fuel economy of 70.6mpg while the petrol can only manage 47.0mpg.

The new C4 Picasso is good-looking, good to drive and extremely practical but for financial reasons we’d say opt for one of the diesels – particularly the e-HDi 115.

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