Our cars: Citroen Grand C4 Picasso hello

  •  Our 2014 MPV of the Year joins long-term fleet
  •  Citroen Grand C4 Picasso will be tested for a year
  •  Run by chief photographer, John Bradshaw
  • Citroen's service light was a false alarm

    Citroen's service light was a false alarm

  • Grand C4 Picasso's gearbox is notchy, but much more refined than in John's last long termer

    Grand C4 Picasso's gearbox is notchy, but much more refined than in John's last long termer

  • Three people and three bikes fitted into the Grand C4 Picasso - but only just

    Three people and three bikes fitted into the Grand C4 Picasso - but only just

  • Grand C4 Picasso's seats are a doddle to fold flat - when they're working

    Grand C4 Picasso's seats are a doddle to fold flat - when they're working

  • Citroen's fuel filler cap prevents costly misfuelling

    Citroen's fuel filler cap prevents costly misfuelling

  • Handy wheel to the left of the driver makes it easy to adjust our Picasso's seat and get comfortable

    Handy wheel to the left of the driver makes it easy to adjust our Picasso's seat and get comfortable

  • The 113bhp 1.6 diesel isn't just cheaper than the 148bhp 2.0 - it's also more refined

    The 113bhp 1.6 diesel isn't just cheaper than the 148bhp 2.0 - it's also more refined

  • C4 heads off on holiday in the hands of a colleague

    C4 heads off on holiday in the hands of a colleague

  • Picasso's vast boot - even in five-seat configuration - meant no need to drop the seats for a tip run

    Picasso's vast boot - even in five-seat configuration - meant no need to drop the seats for a tip run

  • Our chief photographer can't see the point in the Picasso's 'panoramic' windscreen

    Our chief photographer can't see the point in the Picasso's 'panoramic' windscreen

  • Sat-nav graphics are clear and crisp, but the blue 'route line' of the planned journey is far too thin

    Sat-nav graphics are clear and crisp, but the blue 'route line' of the planned journey is far too thin

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The Citroën Grand C4 Picasso is our 2014 MPV of the Year, so you may think it doesn’t have a lot left to prove. On the contrary, spending 12 months with a car we already think is terrific is the best way to confirm our opinion. We’re likely to put around 20,000 miles on our Picasso during that time, so at the end of it we’ll have a comprehensive idea of how it really performs.

Our engine is the 113bhp 1.6-litre e-HDi with six-speed manual gearbox. It might not sound that powerful, but it’s more than enough to pull this big MPV along – even with seven people inside.

All Grand C4 Picasso models get a seven-inch central touch-screen, rear parking sensors, all-round electric windows, climate control, a DAB digital radio and Bluetooth. We went for the high-spec Exclusive trim, which adds a huge 12-inch high-definition instrument display, a reversing camera, 17-inch alloy wheels, a ‘Juke Box’ hard-drive system for your music and a handy rechargeable torch in the boot.

My last two long-termers have come in common-as-muck silver, so I was happy that we spent an extra £520 for the lustrous Ruby Red metallic paint. We also added Park Assist for £600, 3D-effect rear lights for £250 and a space-saver spare wheel for £75. The total cost was £24,700.

My first impressions of the way the car drives are positive. You have a reasonably commanding view of the road ahead, thanks to all that glass around the cabin, and the visibility behind and to the sides is brilliant. The comfortable motorway ride also means that the bright, airy cabin is a relaxing place to be on longer journeys.

The performance is as you’d expect from a relatively small diesel engine, but it’s entirely acceptable given the price. The same can be said for the handling – it’s by no means as spirited as the BMW I’ve just said goodbye to, but it’s fit for purpose. Official fuel economy for our 1.6 diesel is 70.6mpg, and while I’ve seen nowhere near that yet, a solid 50mpg or more seems the norm.

Still, the best thing about the Picasso is of course the space inside. It is supremely roomy in the front, but adults sitting in the second row will be just as comfortable. It also does a decent impression of a removals van - with the second and third rows folded down, there’s a flat load bay with nearly 2200 litres of space. Now I just need to think of something big enough to fill it.

Overall, the Grand C4 Picasso’s made a great first impression. The previous big Picasso became something of a household name in seven-seat MPV circles, so I’m looking forward to seeing this version cement that reputation.

Logbook
Citroën Grand C4 Picasso 1.6 e-HDi 115 Exclusive

Buying information
List price £23,225
Target Price £21,814
Extras Park Assist (£600); Ruby Red metallic paint (£520); 3D-effect rear lights (£250); space-saver spare wheel (£75)

Running costs
Test fuel economy 50.8mpg
True MPG 54.4mpg
Official fuel economy 70.6mpg
CO2/tax liability 105g/km/17%
Contract hire £262
Cost per mile 41p
Insurance group 18
Typical quote £562

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