Road Test: Citroen Grand C4 Picasso Exclusive+ e-HDi Airdream
Sector: MPV Price: £25,655 Fuel: 70.6mpg CO2: 105g/km
Inspiration for car cabins can come from all sorts – in fact only last month a designer has unveiled a car with a stained glass interior inspired by Durham Cathedral – but a “loft-inspired interior” could leave buyers confused whether to expect something akin to a Kevin McCloud extravaganza or crammed full of Christmas decorations and old suitcases.
But for the Grand C4 Picasso such grand design is the key to one of the tenets of its appeal.
Launched last summer in the wake of its smaller C4 Picasso sibling – both of which use the brand’s latest EMP2 (Efficient Modular Platform) architecture – the seven-seat model puts clear distance between the two with differentiated design at the front, side and rear, and – importantly – with a longer wheelbase that sees the rear wheels moved back by 55mm.
In practical terms that 55mm not only brings the third row seats but also class-leading cabin space in rows two and three and enhanced access, in particular for row three through larger doors.
Meanwhile the second row uses three independent seats with sliding bases and tilting backs, while third-row passengers benefit from their own air vents.
The upshot of all of this is that not only does the seven-seat model feel much larger than the five-seat but it’s also infinitely more practical. And it also steals a march on other seven-seat models, with the third row of seats offering more head room for taller passengers. Meanwhile if you fold all the seats over, you gain a load space of up to 2.75m in length.
There’s also a plethora of storage too, including compartments under the front seats and underfloor cubbies in row two.
Gadgets and gizmos abound too and include the standard specification 7-inch touchpad to control in-car functions such as dual-zone air conditioning, navigation, and the 12-inch panoramic HD screen that shows driving data and can even be programmed with a pic of the kids – if you’ve not had enough of them already. There are even massaging seats and “Relax” footrests available.
A comprehensive line-up of diesel engines is available. We tested the mid-spec e-HDi 113bhp diesel unit. With strong acceleration and 105g/km and 70.6mpg it’s not hard to see why this is a popular choice, although a BlueHDI unit has now been launched with 113g/km, 65.7mpg combined and 148bhp, providing some veritable food for thought.
What set the Grand C4 Picasso out the most for me though was its light and airy feel, from the panoramic roof to the expansive windscreen that stretches over the driver’s head and the masses of glass throughout. Definitely something in keeping with Citroen’s lofty inspirations.
The Grand C4 Picasso is not the sharpest handling of MPVs but in terms of the fundamental MPV criteria of practicability and spaciousness it excels whilst firmly stamping the model with the brand’s trademark quirkiness.