Long-term tests

Citroen C4

Injury left publishing director James Burnay unable to drive the latest Citroen C4 Picasso people carrier. But it still impressed with its flexibility...

  • Looks: Picasso is one of the most attractive MPVs around. The unfussy lines really do it credit.<br><br>Glass area: Panoramic sunroof lets in loads of natural light, and all-round visibility is superb, too.
  • Gearbox: the auto often hunts for gears, and is too sluggish.<br><br>Distraction: dashboard lights reflect in the windscreen, which can be distracting and annoying.

After the Citroen C4 Picasso saw off the challenge of the Mazda 5 and Ford S-MAX to be crowned Best MPV at Auto Express’s New Car Honours 2007 (Issue 972), I was really looking forward to a 2.0 HDi EGS Exclusive model joining our long-term test fleet.

Unfortunately, a sporting injury has landed me with an ankle in plaster, so I haven’t spent as much time driving the Picasso as I would have liked. But that doesn’t mean the Citroen has been sat idle.

Kevin Madden, general manager of Auto Express’s website, needed something big to ferry his young family on an old-fashioned English holiday to Devon – and he found the Picasso to be more than up to the job. It had all the practicality desired to accommodate three kids of varying ages, plus two adults.

The luggage was swallowed up easily (right), the children loved the optional DVD system, and the impressive number of cabin compartments stored everyone’s holiday bits and bobs. The air-conditioned cubbies were a real boon for keeping drinks cool, and with all its rear seats folded, the Picasso doubled up as the ideal seaside changing room.

Prior to Kevin taking the car, my wife and I had offered friends a lift home from our ante-natal meeting. Unfortunately, I think my fellow father-to-be was a bit over-zealous in erecting the passenger-side third-row rear seat – resulting in the rails getting buckled and the chair sticking mid-way.

Kevin took the car to EMG Epsom in Surrey the morning he was due to set off on holiday, and the helpful staff laid the distressed seat flat again. But they also told him that the rails would need to be replaced – so a return trip to the dealer has been booked.

Still, even in my relatively short time at the wheel, I have been impressed with the Picasso. The optional panoramic sunroof lets loads of natural light into the cabin, while the climate control vents in the rear give passengers – mostly pregnant women at the moment – the convenience of selecting their own temperature.

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