French MPV painted an excellent picture

Roadtest: Hugh Maguire steers back to 2013 this week

French MPV painted an excellent picture

Are there not enough MPV’s? Well obviously not, with almost every manufacturer trying to get a share of the growing MPV market there is a constant flow of newcomers on the market.

The mid-sized MPV market is now very competitive with almost all major manufacturers and many smaller ones offering something to the potential MPV buyer.

Of course, Citroen are not newcomers to this market and have successfully sold the previous model Picasso for many years.

The all new 2013 model is packed with the latest in automotive technology and Citroen have put to good use the knowledge they have gained over the years in this market segment.This car has been a huge success for Citroen both here and worldwide.

A Citroen C4 Grand Picasso is now also available The model I am testing this week is the top of the range 1.6 litre HDI Exclusivewhich although it is a more expensive version, it does really give a flavour of what is available throughout the range especially in terms of the new on-board goodies.

First Impressions.

It certainly is a striking looking MPV, with very Avant-Garde styling, highlighted by the huge swept back front windscreen. The whole effect is to create a very modern looking vehicle with a large glass area, and trendy good looks.

Behind the Wheel.

To those of you who are unfamiliar with Citroen products the first step into the drivers seat may prove a little daunting as there is a host of buttons and switches, and a central touch screen with multiple functionality. Many controls, for items such as the stereo system, on-board computer, voice activation, cruise control, phone (if fitted) are all on the central hub of the steering wheel. This does take some getting used to particularly for those not used to seeing so many functions contained around the steering wheel. That said once mastered, and it won’t take long you soon see it works very well indeed allowing minimum distraction and easy access to all the cars features. T

All versions get, ESP, ASR, ABS with EBD, adaptive airbags, drivers knee airbag, roof curtain airbags (front and row two), trip computer, and the usual electrics.

I really cannot list everything that is standard on the Exclusive version, but to give you an idea here are just some of the goodies featured: 17 inch Anaconda alloys, dual zone climate control, ambient lighting pack, refrigerated glovebox, auto wipers, auto lights, sunblinds, 7 inch touch screen, above that is the centrally mounted (something I don’t like) 12 inch HD Screen for instruments, ( which as they are digitally generated can be made to look analogue or digital with a choice of colours. It can even display your photos!), Satellite Navigation, Keyless entry, reversing camera, and much more.

The cabin is bright and roomy and really offers excellent space for up to 5 adults. The 3 seperate ISOFIX compatible rear seats also recline, and I like the little aircraft style fold down picnic tables with a light. The 537 litre boot is a good size and can be expanded by folding down any of the three rear seats.

Performance.

The 1.6 litre Hdi diesel engine produces 115 bhp and is a very quiet, lively free revving unit. It is mated to a nice 6 speed manual gearbox.

Performance is actually pretty good and it has a good spread of mid range torque.

On the economy front it proved frugal too burning just 5.8 litres per 100km over very mixed driving conditions. With class leading C02 emissions it is cheap to tax at €190.00.

Road Behaviour.

As with all Citroen’s ride and handling is very good. Ok you won’t be chucking this car into a corner with the sort of gusto reserved for a sporting saloon, thesteering lacks feel and there is a bit of body roll but it holds the road very well and the suspension set-up offers great passenger comfort.

Inside it’s also very quiet and refined. So much so that you really cannot tell it’s diesel powered.

Verdict

The C4 Picasso 1.6 Hdi Exclusive costs €28,995. I really liked the car, and frankly I am not a lover of MPV’s at all. I mean I understand why people have them, but as a car enthusiast I really don’t find them appealing. However with each new model, they are shaking off their mini bus image and becoming better and better to drive and so it is with the C4 Picasso.

It is really stylish, beautifully equipped and the goodies in the higher spec versions will have the kids entertained on even the longest of trips.

Yes if you must have an MPV you really need to take a closer look at the new C4 Picasso, quite simply, it’s excellent!