FRENCH motor manufacturer Citroen has a reputation for producing spacious and comfortable people carriers but they have just launched their best ever multi purpose vehicle or MPV with the new Grand C4 Picasso seven seater writes Bryan Longworth.
For this particular Picasso - the family of the late great painter Pablo Picasso who lived in and loved the South of France license his name to Citroen - is the daddy of them all and sets the bar for such vehicles in this sector.
The latest Grand C4 Picasso which is 110kg lighter than its predecessor has a pleasing shape for such a vehicle but its light and airy cabin which has more glass surface than any other vehicle in this segment is the perfect environment for driver and passengers.
Prices start at £19,200 and rise to £27,855 for the Grand C4 Picasso Exclusive+ Blue HDi 150 automatic which was my test car that was loaded with standard kit including radar guided cruise control and anti collision warning system ultrasonic blind spot monitoring device leather seating panoramic glass sunroof and a drivers and front passengers seats with massage function although I was surprised to see xenon headlights were an option even on the top model.
The car was powered by a 150bhp 2.0-litre turbo diesel engine with six speed automatic transmission which had a top speed of 128mph a zero to 62mph time of 10.2 seconds a combined fuel consumption of 61.4mpg and CO2 emissions of 120g/km.
Interior design of the car is really striking with the two third row seats folding flat for extra load space but they could easily be lifted into place although they are only really suitable for small adults or children and with them in place as is often the case with such vehicles there is limited luggage space.
The instrument panel is in the centre of the fascia including the seven inch touchscreen interface and 12 inch information unit plus the speedometer which has a large digital speed display as well as the conventional speedo plus a very effective rear view camera for reversing.
I liked the light steering and firm ride and commanding driving position and the natty drivers seat belt which vibrated when the vehicle moved onto white lines especially on motorways to alert the driver if they have started to feel drowsy and strayed off course which once happened to me on a long motorway journey but fortunately I realised just in time what was happening and corrected the steering with a big lorry getting very close to the near side of the car.
Passengers especially young ones loved the interior of the Grand Picasso because of its nice well designed comfortable seats and all round good vision which provided an ideal environment that was really appreciated on long trips.
With the third row of seats folded as I imagine will happen most of the time with this Citroen there was a massive amount of space that was large enough to fit in a pram without it being folded and that takes some doing.
There was just one thing that irritated me considering this was such a well designed high tech car - the drivers sun visor for when it was pulled right down to shield my eyes from bright sunshine it covered nearly three quarters of the interior drivng mirror making it virtually impossible to see the road behind the car.
Overall the latest Grand C4 Picasso is arguably the most user friendly and enjoyable MPV in this market segment and Citroen deserve praise for producing such an impressive vehicle.
My Verdict: A grand family favourite.
Model: New Citroen Grand C4 Exclusive+.
Engine: 2.0-litre turbo diesel.
Output: 150bhp @ 4000rpm.
Transmission: Six speed automatic.
Top speed: 128mph.
Acceleration: 0 to 62mph 10.2 seconds.
Fuel consumption: 61.4mpg combined.
CO2 emissions: 120g/km.