What Car? Green awards 2008 - MPVs
The gongs just keep coming for Citroen's Grand C4 Picasso. It's a two-time winner of our MPV of the Year Award and now it has taken a category win in our Green Awards.
With our chosen 1.6-litre diesel engine, CO2 emissions are way below those of the other contenders. Choose the EGS paddle-shift gearbox and it gets even cleaner, cutting the CO2 output from 155g/km to just 150g/km.
With an average fuel return of 49.6mpg, it'll also be less of a burden on the planet's oil reserves, while the NOx and particulate count won't have you running out of fingers.
The Citroen's talents run much deeper, though - it's packed with ideas that help make it the best MPV you can buy. The windscreen has super-skinny pillars that give an unrivalled view out, while the top of the windscreen extends over the heads of the driver and front passenger, flooding the cabin with huge amounts of natural light.
The cabin itself is spacious, with the front five seats providing ample room for a quintet of lofty adults. Because there's a recess in front of the two third-row seats for your feet, two more adults can also squeeze in without the usual indignity of sitting with their knees around their ears.
It's the car's flexibility that really wins the plaudits, though. The three seats in the middle row can be slid, reclined and folded individually, and each is big enough to take a child seat.
When all seven seats are needed, the two rearmost simply pop out of the boot floor. When cargo takes preference over commuters, all of the seats can be folded flat into the floor.
True, the Picasso's comfort-oriented set-up means it's not the most engaging car to drive. There's plenty of grip, but the body lollops around too much in bends and the steering feels remote. The Grand C4 Picasso is slick and refined, however, and wind and road noise are low. It has plenty of pull, too, so doesn't struggle when fully loaded.
Importantly in a car designed to ferry families, the Citroen is also stuffed with safety equipment, achieving a five-star rating in Euro NCAP crash tests. Factor in the affordable prices, huge discounts and sharp looks, and you have an unbeatable package.
There is a reasonable selection of used Grand C4 Picassos on the market, with the 1.6-litre diesel with an EGS semi-auto gearbox in steady supply.
Prices start around £11,700 for an 07-plate SX on 7500 miles, while an VTR+ model of the same age and on 13,000 miles will cost more like £12,700.
Best buy £16,000-£18,000
Citroen Grand C4 Picasso 1.6 HDi SX
Target Price £17,420
Average economy 49.6mpg
Green verdict All the practicality you could want with minimal impact on the planet
Best buy up to £16,000
VW Touran 1.9 TDI S 105 (+DPF)
Target Price £15,958
Average economy 47.1mpg
Green verdict BlueMotion technology makes the Touran one of the greenest MPVs
Best buy £18,000+
Ford S-Max 2.0 TDCI 140 Zetec
Target Price £19,130
Average economy 45.6mpg
Green verdict It would be almost perfect if it had a particulate filter
With thanks to the Eden Project: www.edenproject.com