Volkswagen Touran vs Citroen Grand C4 Picasso vs Ford S-Max

Does the new VW Touran MPV have everything it needs to beat the best rivals from CitroΓ«n and Ford?

Words By What Car? team

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Volkswagen Touran with Citroen Grand C4 Picasso and Ford S-Max

Our verdict

Each of these cars has different strengths. The CitroΓ«n Grand C4 Picasso is great value all-round and the Ford S-Max is the most comfortable and refined but, crucially, the VW Touran is the most practical. It has the best third-row space, the easiest seats to fold and adjust, the most convenient boot, the best safety standards and the most flexible driving position.

Not only that, the most important cost factors are not far from those of the Picasso, so it’s easy to see why the new Touran edges the competition. It’s not perfect – the performance could be improved upon and it’s a shame you have to pay extra for satellite navigation – but in every other way it promises to be an extremely easy family car to live with.

Still, if you value the strengths already mentioned in the S-Max and Picasso then neither should be discounted out of hand. The Picasso is likely to be your best bet if a low purchase price is a priority, plus it has the best standard equipment list here, it’s decent enough to drive, and it has a really stylish-looking, airy-feeling interior.

Similarly, while it's a shame that the S-Max isn’t cheaper for cash buyers or business users, it is impressively quiet, drives with considerable verve for an MPV, and will easily cope with the heavy-duty chores of family motoring. If it was just a little more practical and smarter inside it would have finished higher up the order.

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Also consider:

1st – Volkswagen Touran

For Best interior space and versatility; classy dashboard; great finance deals

Against Could be better equipped, 1.6 TDI engine is a bit lacklustre

Verdict Not quite faultless, but in the areas that matter most, it’s the best of the mid-size seven-seaters

Rated 5 out of 5

Read the full VW Tiguan review

2nd – CitroΓ«n Grand C4 Picasso

For Cheapest to buy and run; stylish and airy interior

Against Awkward dashboard layout; average to drive

Verdict The best bet if cash purchase price is a priority

Rated 4 out of 5

Read the full CitroΓ«n Grand C4 Picasso review

3rd – Ford S-Max

For Great to drive; strongest performance

Against Least efficient; not as roomy as the Touran

Verdict Still a fine buy, especially on finance

Rated 4 out of 5

Read the full Ford S-Max review

Specifications: Citroen Grand C4 Picasso 1.6 BlueHDi 120 Exclusive

Engine size 1.6-litre diesel

List price Β£24,750

Target Price Β£19,907

Power 118bhp

Torque 221lb ft

0-60mph 12.1sec

Top speed 117mph

Fuel economy 50.5mpg

CO2 emissions 106g/km

Specifications: Ford S-Max 2.0 TDCi 150 Zetec

Engine size 2.0-litre diesel

List price Β£26,595

Target Price Β£24,938

Power 148bhp

Torque 258lb ft

0-60mph 10.6sec

Top speed 123mph

Fuel economy 43.6mpg

CO2 emissions 129g/km

Specifications: Volkswagen Touran 1.6 TDI Bluemotion Tech SE

Engine size 1.6-litre diesel

List price Β£25,260

Target Price Β£21,446

Power 109bhp

Torque 185lb ft

0-60mph 12.6sec

Top speed 116mph

Fuel economy 51.5mpg

CO2 emissions 116g/km

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