Car group tests

Volkswagen Touran vs Citroen Grand C4 Picasso

Is the new Volkswagen Touran the best seven-seat MPV for a growing family? Or does Citroen’s Grand C4 Picasso still reign supreme?

Any new contender in the seven-seat MPV class needs to be good, as the Citroen Grand C4 Picasso has had the top spot sewn up in our annual New Car Awards for two years. But could this all be about to change?

• Best 7-seater cars to buy right now

Volkswagen hopes so, as its new, second-generation Touran packs plenty of tech to try to topple the Citroen. Plus, the clever MQB platform that underpins everything from the Golf to the Passat should bring a big boost when it comes to packaging.

But the C4’s clever mix of space, style and efficiency has stood the test of time since launch in 2013. Also, the Exclusive+ model tested here has a lot of kit. Our SE Family spec VW is more pricey and not as well equipped, but scores with its premium image.

Head-to-head

Third row seats

Both cars feature a third row of seats that rises out of the boot floor in one easy movement. Yet the Citroen has the edge on space, with more leg and headroom.

The Touran’s rearmost row is fine for small children, but a big hump in the roof hits headroom for taller passengers. Access to the rear of both is aided by tilting and sliding second row chairs.

Design

Park these MPVs side-by-side, and it’s clear they share similar dimensions and proportions. Yet while the Picasso is distinctive and different, the Touran is a bit bland. Sharp creases and some neat detailing give it a more dynamic look than before, but it still fades into the background.

Emissions

It’s the newer car, but the VW still emits more CO2. Entry 1.6 TDI models claim 110g/km, while the 2.0 TDI DSG emits up to 126g/km. By contrast, the Picasso 1.6 HDi claims 99g/km, and the flagship 148bhp 2.0-litre emits 115g/km (or 105g/km in manual guise).

Verdict

First place: Citroen Grand C4 Picasso

It’s another victory for the Grand C4 Picasso – with its blend of affordability, versatility and style, our reigning MPV of the Year fends off the challenge from the Touran on almost all fronts. It doesn’t drive quite as nicely as the VW with its MQB underpinnings, but the Citroen is softer and delivers more comfort, while the performance deficit in the real world is only marginal.

Second place: Volkswagen Touran

Unfortunately for VW, its new Touran falls short of the Citroen in most areas that matter for an MPV. It’s not quite as practical, or as efficient, while the Picasso has a bit more design flair. The newcomer feels composed on the road, with a punchy engine and slick gearbox, but that’s not enough to counter the higher price and running costs, so it slips into second place.

Other options for similar money...

New: BMW 218d Gran Tourer Luxury

Price: £29,090Engine: 2.0-litre 4cyl, 148bhp

If you like the idea of a premium seven-seater, BMW’s 218d Gran Tourer offers similar pace and a sporty drive to match the Touran. Luxury spec is well equipped, but it’s a bit more expensive than the Volkswagen, at £29,090. 

Used: Land Rover Discovery Sport SE

Price: from £29,500Engine: 2.0-litre 4cyl, 178bhp

Don’t mind buying used? Drivers after something more stylish than an MPV who need seven seats only occasionally should check out the ‘5+2’-seater Discovery Sport. At this price it’ll be an entry-level SE, but it still scores on practicality and style.

Figures

 Citroen Grand C4 Picasso Exclusive+ 2.0 BlueHDi 150Volkswagen Touran SE Family 2.0 TDI 150
On the road price/total as tested£27,110/£30,380£28,215/£29,055
Residual value (after 3yrs/36,000)£10,980/40.5%£11,371/40.3%
Depreciation£16,130£16,844
Annual tax liability std/higher rate£1,028/£2,056£1,183/£2,365
Annual fuel cost (12k/20k miles)£1,235/£2,058£1,313/£2,188
Ins. group/quote/road tax band/cost25/£693/B/£2017/£660/C/£30
Cost of 1st/2nd/3rd service£400 (3yrs/35,000)£15.99pcm (2yrs)
   
Length/wheelbase4,597/2,840mm4,527/2,791mm
Height/width1,625/1,826mm1,659/1,829mm
Engine4cyl in-line/1,997cc4cyl in-line/1,968cc
Peak power/revs 148/4,000 bhp/rpm148/3,500 bhp/rpm
Peak torque/revs 370/2,000 Nm/rpm340/1,750 Nm/rpm
Transmission 6-spd man/fwd6-spd man/fwd
Fuel tank capacity/spare wheel55 litres/sealant58 litres/sealant
Boot capacity (7/5/2 seats)165/793/2,181 litres137/703/1,857 litres
Kerbweight/payload/towing weight1,705/545/1,700kg1,552/628/1,800kg
Turning circle11.0 metres11.5 metres
Basic warranty (miles)/recovery3yrs (60,000)/1yr3yrs (60,000)/1yr
Service intervals/UK dealers12,000 miles (1yr)/19610,000 miles (1yr)/223
Driver Power manufacturer/dealer pos.20th/9th22nd/30th
Euro NCAP: Adult/child/ped./stars86/88/68/588/89/71/5
   
0-60/30-70mph9.8/9.2 secs9.4/8.6 secs
30-50mph in 3rd/4th4.0/6.9 secs3.8/6.3 secs
50-70mph in 5th/6th7.9/10.9 secs8.5/11.6 secs
Top speed/rpm at 70mph 130mph/1,900rpm129mph/1,850rpm
Braking 70-0/60-0/30-0mph 48.5/35.8/9.4m54.3/37.0/10.4m
Noise outside/idle/30/70mph65/44/55/65dB78/54/64/71dB
Auto Express econ (mpg/mpl)/range45.5/10.0/550 miles42.8/7.0/546 miles
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined 64.2/76.3/70.6mpg53.3/72.4/64.2mpg
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined 14.1/16.8/15.5mpl11.7/15.9/14.1mpl
Actual/claimed CO2/tax bracket166/105g/km/19%177/116g/km/21%
   
Airbags/Isofix/park sensors/cameraSix/yes/yes/yesSeven/yes/yes/£170
Automatic box/stability/cruise control£1,350/yes/yes£1,300/yes/yes
Climate control/leather/heated seatsYes/£2,000*/£2,000*£445/£2,075/£385
Met paint/xenons/electric tailgate£520/£750/yes£595/£1,000^/£630
Sat-nav/USB/DAB radio/BluetoothYes/yes/yes/yesYes/yes/yes/yes

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