Citroen Grand C4 Picasso vs rivals: Style and substance

Hi-tech new Citroen Grand C4 Picasso goes head-to-head with seven-seat rivals from Renault and Kia

It wasn’t long ago that MPVs like the Citroen Grand C4 Picasso were little more than boxes on wheels, designed to deliver as much interior space as possible.

However, the family car class has become hugely fragmented, with buyers able to choose from traditional hatches, rugged off-roaders, practical estates and trendy crossovers. So the latest people carriers are out to prove they have style as well as substance.

Citroen Grand C4 Picasso review

Kia Carens review

Renault Grand Scenic review

Citroen’s new C4 Picasso is already a road test winner in five-seat guise. With its bold styling, the new seven-seat Grand C4 aims to inject desirability into the sensible MPV market. But it faces tough competition from the latest Kia Carens. All-new from the ground up, the Kia has impressed with its quality and value.

The newcomers also have to take on the recently revised Renault Grand Scenic. Still a strong contender, the Scenic is the cheapest car here and has the biggest boot. So which of this trio is going to start 2014 in winning ways?

Citroen Grand C4 Picasso group test photo 3

Seven up

Most buyers in this class only use the third row of seats occasionally. None of the cars in this test has space in the back for adults to sit comfortably – for that you’d need a SEAT Alhambra or Ford Galaxy.

However, the extra flexibility is a big part of this trio’s appeal. The Renault has most room, but the Citroen isn’t far behind. The Kia is a bit tighter, although there’s enough room for kids.

Fold or remove?

Rather than folding flat, the Scenic’s middle-row seats tumble forward and can be removed altogether. This gives you a bigger van-like space, but they’re heavy to lift out and you’ll need somewhere to store them.

Premium features

The Grand Picasso features hi-tech kit normally found on luxury cars. Exclusive+ models get collision warning and blind spot monitoring, plus radar cruise control – although the adaptive cruise regularly shut down when traffic in front slowed on test.

The Carens 3 comes with some luxury kit, too, including a heated steering wheel and heated electric front seats. Opt for Renault’s £650 Technology Pack, and you get a rear parking camera and lane departure warning.

The Verdict

Citroen Grand C4 Picasso group test photo 4

1st place - Citroen Grand C4 Picasso

The C4 Grand Picasso’s innovative looks and cabin combine with a practical seat layout and decent luggage space to create a compelling MPV. A comfortable driving experience and clean engines are the icing on the cake, however Exclusive+ trim is expensive and electrical glitches remain a concern.

The 1.6-litre eHDi 90 Airdream emits just 98g/km of CO2 and Citroen claims average economy of 74mpg. Fitted with the company’s ETG6 automated manual gearbox, it costs £20,595 in VTR trim. 

2nd place - Renault Grand Scenic

With lots of passenger space and plenty of clever storage, the Grand Scenic’s cabin is just as practical as the Citroen’s, while the dCi engine blends strong performance and low emissions.

It’s good value, too. But the slightly dated cabin and non-fold-flat seats consign it to second place.

3rd place - Kia Carens

Like the Renault, the Kia wasn’t far behind our winner. It’s slightly smaller than its rivals, but with loads of standard kit and a well built, functional cabin, it should be your choice if ultimate space isn’t priority number one. What also pegs it in third place are relatively high emissions.

Figures

 Citroen Grand C4 Picasso Exclusive+Renault Grand Scenic 1.6 dCi DynamiqueKia Carens 3 1.7 CRDi SatNav
On-the-road price/total as tested£26,855/£28,425£23,395/£27,820£24,845/£24,845
Residual value (after 3yrs/30,000)£10,527/39.2%£8,984/38.4%£7,876/31.7%
Depreciation£16,328£14,411£16,969
Annual tax liability std/higher rate£911/£1,822£794/£1,587£1,036/£2,072
Annual fuel cost (12k/20k miles)£2,176/£3,626£1,896/£3,160£2,133/£3,554
Ins. group/quote/road tax band/cost25/£400/C/£3 024/£417/C/£3016/£/E/£125
Service costs£499 (3yrs/35k miles)4yrs free£329 3yrs
    
Length/wheelbase4,597/2,840mm4,573/2,770mm4,525/2,750mm
Height/width1,638/1,826mm1,671/1,845mm1,605/1,805mm
Engine4cyl in-line/1,997cc4cyl in-line/1,598cc4cyl in-line/1,685cc
Peak power148/4,000 bhp/rpm128/4,000 bhp/rpm134/4,000 bhp/rpm
Peak torque370/2,000 Nm/rpm320/1,750 Nm/rpm330/2,000 Nm/rpm
Transmission6-spd man/fwd6-spd man/fwd6-spd man/fwd
Fuel tank capacity/spare wheel55 litres/sealant60 litres/sealant58 litres/space-saver
Boot capacity (7/5/2 seats)165/632-793/2,181l464/564-702/2,063lN/A/492/1,650 litres
Kerbweight/payload/towing weight1,705/545/1,700kg1,563/560/1,300kg1,591/544/1,500kg
Turning circle/drag coefficient10.8 metres/N/A11.3 metres/0.32Cd11.0 metres/0.30Cd
Basic warranty (miles)/recovery3yrs(60,000)/3yrs4yrs(100,000)/4yrs7yrs (100,000)/1yr
Service intervals/UK dealers20,000 miles (1yr)/19618,000 miles (1yr)/24820,000 miles (1yr)/170
Driver Power manufacturer/dealer pos.24th/27th21st/9th7th/10th
Euro NCAP: Adult/child/ped./stars86/88/68/591/76/42/594/76/64/5
    
0-60/30-70mph10.4/9.5 secs10.4/10.2 secs11.2/11.9 secs
30-50mph in 3rd/4th3.9/7.4 secs4.4/6.9 secs4.4/5.9 secs
50-70mph in 5th/6th8.6/12.4 secs8.5/10.7 secs8.0/12.7 secs
Top speed/rpm at 70mph130mph/2,000rpm121mph/2,000rpm119mph/2,000rpm
Braking 70-0/60-0/30-0mph57.6/40.0/9.6m51.7/36.5/9.1m51.9/40.0/10.4m
Noise levels outside/idle/30/70mph72/44/61/72dB60/43/60/70dB71/47/59/71dB
Auto Express econ (mpg/mpl)/range34.6/7.6/41939.7/8.7/52435.3/7.8/450
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined54.3/74.3/65.7mpg55.4/70.6/64.2mpg47.9/61.4/56.4mpg
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined11.9/16.3/14.5mpl12.2/15.5/14.1mpl10.5/13.6/12.4mpl
Actual/claimed CO2/tax bracket219/113g/km/17%191/114g/km/17%214/132g/km/21%
    
Airbags/Isofix/rear parking sensorsEight/yes/yesEight/yes/£275*Six/yes/yes
Climate control/leather/heated seatsYes/part (full £2k**)/noYes/£1,800**/£1,800Yes/yes/yes
LED running lights/stability/cruise ctrlYes/yes/yesYes/yes/yesYes /yes/yes
Met paint/xenon lights/keyless go£520/£750/yes£495/£750/yes£495/no/no
Sat-nav/DAB radio/BluetoothYes/yes/yesYes/£220/yesYes/no/yes

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