What Car? Car of the Year awards 2009 - MPV

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  • 16 categories of awards
  • All the winning models featured here
  • What Car? Car of the Year 2009 revealed
What we were looking for A car: that¹s brilliant at dealing with kids and their clutter, but also makes things easy for grown-ups. Practicality, safety and affordability are vital.

The contenders
Best buy under £16,000
Toyota Verso 1.6 VVT-i T2
List price £14,890
Target Price £13,810
Best web price £13,486 (www.uknewcars.com)

Best buy £16,000 – £20,000
Citroen Grand C4 Picasso 1.6 HDI SX EGS
List price £18,692
Target Price £15,829
Best web price £14,039 (www.drivethedeal.com)

Best buy over £20,000
Ford S-Max 2.0 TDCi Zetec
List price £21,483
Target Price £18,877
Best web price £16,015 (www.drivethedeal.com)

The winner is…
Citroen Grand C4 Picasso 1.6 HDI SX EGS
List price £18,692
Target Price £15,829

Citroen's Grand C4 Picasso is definitely that — grand. It's not just big, either; it's also versatile, stylish, easy to drive and affordable.

We're all looking for ways to make family life easier, but home robots aren't affordable for us mere mortals yet, and we can't all call on Supernanny.

Help is at hand, in the shape of the Citroen Grand C4 Picasso. No MPV does a better job of transporting you, your brood and your gubbins better, which is why it's won this category for the third year in a row.

Seven in comfort
Space is important, of course, and the Picasso has enough for seven to sit in comfort, even if those in the middle row are in child seats. That's because the Picasso's seats are more accommodating than most rivals' and everyone has plenty of space to stretch their legs. Headroom is generous, too. Large door openings make it easy to get children — and their child seats — in and out, and it's a doddle to get into the rear pair of seats because those in front slide and fold out of the way first.

With all the seats in place the boot is small, but the rear pair tumble in an instant to leave a huge, flat area with a low floor that makes it easy to load. It's just as easy to fold down the middle row, too, which leaves a cargo space big enough to make van drivers jealous.

There's more to the Picasso's cabin than just practicality. With a huge front windscreen, deep windows and slim pillars all-round, it's refreshingly airy and both you and the kids have a great view out.

As well as a wealth of useful cubbies for your clutter, the interior has plenty of design flourishes and lots of smart materials. The quirky layout takes a bit of getting used to, but once you've familiarised yourself with the fixed-hub steering wheel, steering column-mounted gearshift and pushbutton handbrake, it's second nature.

Our choice of engine is the 108bhp 1.6 HDI, which provides enough grunt to lug the family around and is both refined and economical. It's particularly efficient with the optional EGS transmission, which actually lowers CO2 emissions and fuel economy over the manual model's. You can leave it in automatic mode if you want it to take the strain around town and, once you get up to speed, you can expect to average 53.3mpg.

We're the first to admit the Picasso isn't the best car in this class to drive. However, the light steering helps in tight parking spots, and the fine high-speed ride and excellent refinement make it more likely that the little 'uns will fall asleep on a long trip. Family oriented cars don't get any better than this.

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What Car? Car of the Year awards 2009 - Hot hatch


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