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´╗┐Citroen C4 Picasso review

The new Citroen C4 Picasso follows the lead of the Nissan Juke and Range Rover Evoque by opting for a seriously eyecatching design. Look underneath the skin, though, and youll find that the new C4 Picasso rides on a completely new platform that helps shed 140kg from the old cars kerbweight. Whats more, its shorter and lower but with a wheelbase thats 57mm longer to increase the amount of space in the cabin and a bigger boot than ever. A 1.6 eHDi 90 engine provides amazing 74.3mpg fuel economy, but we think the pick of the range is the eHDi 115 unit, which provides reasonable performance while still claiming 70.6mpg.

Our choice: Exclusive eHDi1 15

Citroen has certainly made sure that the new C4 Picasso stands out, with razorthin daytime running lights flowing in to a fullwidth chromed double chevron grille. Its got sporty new proportions, too, at 40mm lower and 40mm shorter than before, while keeping the same width. The squat, groundhugging stance is more reminiscent of a hatchback than of an MPV, making the C4 Picasso look like nothing else in this class. The interior also looks stylish and upmarket, with all models getting a seveninch colour touchscreen in the centre console. There are classy Citroen DSinspired touches, too, like dualcolour leather seats.

So far weve driven the 1.6 eHDi 115 and petrolpowered THP 155. Clearly the diesel model makes more sense, with its reasonable acceleration, quiet engine note and seriously impressive running costs. Thats not to say the petrol isnt without its benefits, though, offering a 062mph time of 9.0 seconds thats significantly quicker than any other model in the range. Its a nice, smooth engine, with less rattle and vibration than the diesels. Handling is reasonably good, with far less body roll and more direct steering than the old Picasso. Its far from perfect, though the Ford CMAX is still the car to have if dynamics are high up on your list of priorities.

The Citroen C4 Picasso rides on an entirely new platform called EMP2. It has been developed with Peugeot and will underpin the majority of all their future models. With that much invested in this platform, its certain to have been extensively tested for reliability, as have the range of engines used in the C4 Picasso. Most have been used elsewhere in Peugeot and Citroen models with little issue. Thankfully the interior feels more solid than Citroens of the past, although the twoyear, unlimitedmileage warranty and a thirdyear dealer warranty thats limited to 60,000 miles seems a little shabby compared with Kias sevenyear warranty.

Despite being shorter and lower than before, Citroens engineers have been smart with the interior packaging to make the C4 Picasso a more practical car than the outgoing model. The wheelbase has grown by 57mm, freeing up more legroom in the rear seats, and each of the three chairs is the same size. Thats useful for carrying three tall adults and also makes it easy to fit three baby seats. Each slides and folds flat individually, while boot capacity is up from 500 litres to 537 litres. If you slide all the seats forwards you can increase this to 630 litres, and folding them all flat pushes the total luggage space up to 1,709 litres.

1 Most reasonably priced cars do come as standard with less powerful engines and prices reflect this. The HDi 90 doesnt appear shockingly slow on paper and would suit small families who prioritise fuel economy over high performance.

2 The majority of brands still only offer a 3 year warranty so as a justification for losing a star, its a little irrelevant when Fords and Volkswagens offer 3 year warranties and can easily gain 5 stars without this criticism.

3 I can imagine that the C4 Picasso could be sharper to drive. But it doesnt claim or imply to be a drivers car, a hot hatch or low slung sporty saloon. Whats more, the 5 star rated VW Golf could be sharper as were forever told the Focus is best in class to drive, yet this has no impact on its rating despite it being a slightly less family orientated car than the Picasso.

Sorry to be a grump but the motoring press predetermination of rating for cars that arent Ford or have German roots is really annoying. Especially when the reviews for some cars such as the Picasso struggle to fault the car.

My bet is that Peugeots new 308 will be raved about but given 4 stars to keep the Golf firmly on top.

Its just Ive driven a Citroen C4 GP, new Scenic and the now old shape Clio too in the last few years and theyve been thoroughly brilliant in their niche.

AE dont seem to appreciate the purpose the car is built for. Why would Citroen of all brands put all their investment into making their MPV the best handling in class? Instead theyve compromised between the two, very well it seems. Plus Im not sure a Picasso would make the shortlist of buyers looking for a sharp driving experience.