Petrol fans only have one choice, a 1.6 with 118bhp. It’s lively enough, but most buyers will go for one of the diesels due to their lower running costs and stronger mid-range pull. The flexible 108bhp 1.6 unit is the pick of the bunch, but the 148bhp 2.0-litre provides more pace.
At higher speeds, the C4 Picasso is smooth and composed, filtering out all but the worst bumps. However, the ride is crashy around town and there's too much float over undulating roads. This slackness of the suspension also means a lot of body sway through corners, but it grips well. The lightweight steering makes parking easy, but offers little feel.
The engines are smooth and cultured, and wind noise is kept to a minimum. In fact, the only black mark is the suspension, which tends to thump over bumps and cracks at low speed. Manual models have a dash-mounted gearchange that's reasonably smooth, and the optional electronic paddle shift is okay provided that you ignore its jerky automatic mode and change gear yourself.
The C4 Picasso is priced to compete with models like the Ford S-Max, Toyota Verso and Volkswagen Touran. Massive discounts are available, but you’ll need one to compensate for the car’s weak residual values. Running costs are very competitive, with the eHDi diesel-engined models averaging more than 57mpg.
One of the most striking things about the Grand C4 Picasso is the classy feel of its interior. The upper dash is made from soft-touch plastics, and it’s only in the third row that the materials start to get a bit brittle. According to owners in the 2012 JD Power Customer Satisfaction Survey, the car's reliability is average.
Front-seat occupants are protected by twin front and side airbags, while window airbags cover the first two rows. Stability control is also standard across the C4 Picasso range. Deadlocks are fitted to make life difficult for thieves and optional laminated side windows further boost safety and security.
Most of the Picasso’s functions are controlled via buttons on the fixed-hub steering wheel - those buttons are very small and cluttered together. They aren’t very clearly marked, either. However, most drivers will be able to get comfortable because there's plenty of adjustment, and all-round visibility is good thanks to a vast glass area and slim windscreen pillars.
The C4 Grand Picasso can seat up to seven people, with three comfortable middle-row seats, which slide back and forth individually. This arrangement also gives you bags of options when you want to fold the seats down, which, incidentally, is a doddle to do and leaves you with a huge, perfectly flat loadbay. Even with all the seats in place there's space for a couple of soft bags in the boot, and there are lots of useful cubbies.
The entry-level Edition trim provides most of the kit you need, including air-con, cruise control, rear parking sensors and four electric windows. Bluetooth is the only thing missing, but it’s an affordable option. Platinum trim provides it as standard, along with tinted windows, climate control and automatic lights and wipers.
Order a brochure, find your nearest dealer or book a test drive
The 1.6 diesel is our pick of the engine line-up, and we think VTR+ is worth the extra over VTR, making this our favourite model.