2014 Citroen Grand C4 Picasso review

  • All-new seven-seat Citroen MPV driven in UK
  • New 148bhp 2.0-litre diesel engine tested
  • On sale January, priced from £19,200

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The Citroen Grand C4 Picasso has become a household name in the seven-seat MPV arena, popular for its quirky looks and practical cabin. This all-new model is aimed at improving on those strengths, offering even more space and flexibility, along with improved efficiency and better dynamics.

A new 148bhp 2.0-litre diesel engine joins the Grand C4 Picasso range with CO2 emissions of just 110g/km. This engine can also be had with a new six-speed auto gearbox, although this raises CO2 output to 117g/km.

An updated version of the previous model's 1.6-litre diesel engine is available in 90bhp (auto only) or 113bhp outputs, with emissions as low as 98g/km. Petrol options are limited to a 118bhp 1.6 or a turbocharged version of the same engine that produces 156bhp.

What’s the 2014 Citroen Grand C4 Picasso like inside?

All round visibility is outstanding, simply because there's loads of glass and the pillars don't get in the way too much.

In the middle row of seats, there’s plenty of head- and legroom across the three individually sliding, reclining and folding seats – even very tall adults can sit behind equally lanky front occupants.

However, if you want to make use of the back seats, those in the middle row will have to slide their seats forward, at which point everyone will feel a little cramped. However, as long as it's just kids at the very back, there's plenty of space.

The rearmost seats are more comfortable than they are in most other MPVs because there's a footwell for your feet. There is also adjustable ventilation in the second and third row as standard across the range.

Access to those rear seats is easier than in most rivals; just pull a lever on the shoulder of an outer middle-row seat and it slides and folds forward.

When you no longer need the third row, you can fold away the seats with just one hand. Once the seats are stowed, boot capacity is a big 632 litres, and the boot has a low load lip and a flat floor. Dropping the middle row of seats keeps the floor completely flat and increases capacity to a cavernous 2181 litres.

On Exclusive trim and above, a 12-inch colour, HD digital readout dominates the top of the dashboard, with a smaller touch-screen below to control all the infotainment functions. Lower-spec cars will still get the smaller screen, but the top-mounted readout is monochrome.

The infotainment screen (which is surrounded by touch-sensitive panels that act as shortcuts to individual systems) requires a bit of getting used to, and the graphics aren’t as good as they should be. It's also frustrating that you have to visit a separate menu just to adjust the climate control – there are no physical buttons.

Every Grand C4 Picasso comes with alloy wheels, Bluetooth and a six-speaker stereo with a USB socket. The next trim up adds a DAB radio, while Exclusive trim brings leather upholstery, a powered tailgate, keyless entry and start and parking sensors. Top-spec models get two-tone leather.

What’s the 2014 Citroen Grand C4 Picasso like to drive?

Reassuringly stable and easy to place on the road, but it’s no benchmark MPV.

We've driven both the automatic and manual versions of the new 148bhp 2.0-litre Blue HDI, and while the engine delivers a strong surge of power, this tends to all arrive at once as the turbo kicks in. In the manual this leaves you with little power if you find yourself at low revs, so you have to keep changing up and down the gears to make good progress. The gearshift is vague and notchy, too.

The auto solves some of these problems because its shifts are smooth in anything but full-on fast driving. However, if you suddenly put your foot down there’s a substantial pause before the transmission kicks down quite sharply. The standard steering wheel-mounted paddles allow you to take control of the gearbox, but the clicky movement of the paddles is particularly unpleasant; most will leave it in auto mode.

The 1.6 diesel is a much better choice. It's ultimately quite a bit slower than the 2.0, but picks up from lower revs and has enough to muscle to haul seven people around in a relaxed fashion.

The ride is decent enough over bigger bumps, although small undulations and grainy, eroded surfaces can leave it feeling quite unsettled. There's plenty of body lean through bends, too.

Still, there's more than enough grip, and the steering is light enough to make town driving easy.

Motorway refinement isn't helped by the sound of the 2.0-litre diesel engine (the 1.6 diesel is much quieter), but wind and road noise are well suppressed, making the Grand C4 Picasso relatively hushed by MPV standards.

Should I buy one?

If you like the looks and you want a proper seven-seater, this is one of the best options. It’s very practical, offers great visibility and is perfectly adequate to drive.

Crucially, the Grand C4 Picasso's low emissions make it attractive for company car buyers, while good standard equipment and competitive list prices will tempt private owners.

Of the engines we've driven, we'd definitely recommend the 113bhp 1.6 diesel; not only is it cheaper to buy and run than the 2.0-litre, it's also quite a bit smoother and quieter.

Just bear in mind that if you regularly need to seat seven, you'll be better off with something bigger, such as a Seat Alhambra.

 

What Car? says...

 

Rivals:
Seat Alhambra
Vauxhall Zafira Tourer

Specification VTi 120
Engine size 1.6-litre petrol
Price from £19,200
Power 118bhp
Torque 118lb ft
0-62mph 12.6 seconds
Top speed 116mph
Fuel economy 44.8mpg
CO2 emissions 145g/km

 

Specification THP 155
Engine size 1.6-litre turbo petrol
Price from £22,760
Power 154bhp
Torque 177lb ft
0-62mph 9.2 seconds
Top speed 130mph
Fuel economy 47mpg
CO2 emissions 139g/km

 

Specification e-HDi 90 auto ETG6
Engine size 1.6-litre diesel
Price from £20,595
Power 90bhp
Torque 170lb ft
0-62mph 14.0 seconds
Top speed 109mph
Fuel economy 74.3mpg
CO2 emissions 98g/km

 

Specification e-HDi 115
Engine size 1.6-litre diesel
Price from £21,955
Power 113bhp
Torque 199lb ft
0-62mph 12.1 seconds
Top speed 117mph
Fuel economy 70.6mpg
CO2 emissions 105g/km

 

Specification e-HDi 115 ETG6
Engine size 1.6-litre diesel
Price from £22,455
Power 113bhp
Torque 199lb ft
0-62mph 12.6 seconds
Top speed 117mph
Fuel economy 70.6mpg
CO2 emissions 104g/km

 

Specification 2.0 Blue HDi
Engine size 2.0-litre diesel
Price from £24,455
Power 148bhp
Torque 273lb ft
0-62mph 9.8 seconds
Top speed 130mph
Fuel economy 67mpg
CO2 emissions 110g/km

 

Specification 2.0 Blue HDi automatic
Engine size 2.0-litre diesel
Price from £25,455
Power 148bhp
Torque 273lb ft
0-62mph 9.7 seconds
Top speed 130mph
Fuel economy 63mpg
CO2 emissions 117g/km

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