Citroen Grand C4 Picasso Exclusive e-HDi 115 airdream 6-speed manual
What is it?
PEOPLE carriers are rarely bought for their ravishing beauty or Nurburgring-taming handling.
Instead they’re driven by sensible people concerned with practicality and comfort, just so long as it doesn’t cost too much to run.
That might have been the case previously, but Citroen is changing that, with the new Grand C4 Picasso being a fine looking machine.
Its front end is identifiably Citroen, borrowing cues from the smaller C4 Picasso, while also futuristic. A dramatic set of roof bars appear from the A-pillar and run all the way to back of the car, merging invisibly again with the near-vertical back end.
It’s a long way from the box-on-wheels you might expect.
The body sits atop the new EMP2 platform that will underpin everything from hatchbacks and MPVs thorough to coupes and convertibles at both Citroen and its sister car maker Peugeot. 100kg lighter than the outgoing platform, and helped by an aluminium bonnet and plastic tailgate, it allows the Grand Picasso to grow inside thanks to a wheelbase that’s now the longest in class.
Combined with a lower floor and wider wheelbase the result is a noticeably larger cabin despite no increase in its exterior size.
Twin LCD screens act as a control panel and instrument binnacle, with the upper information panel providing your usual speed and warning information as well as audio details, sat nav instructions and climate information.
The lower touch screen controls everything, although frustration can creep in when the information panel changes simply because you’re switching to Radio 2 or turning the volume up on the radio. A couple of rotary knobs for temperature and volume also wouldn’t go amiss.
A huge windscreen sweeps beyond your head and into the roof creating a real airy feeling, helped by split A-pillars with large glass areas.
The Grand Picasso is a full seven seater, with the second row of seats able to accommodate three adults without any problems, while the third row of two seats is accessible by anybody limber enough to squeeze through.
All the seats slide, twist and fold with ease, with a seven-seater-to-posh-van conversion able to be completed in under a minute.
Most company car choosers will opt for the 115PS e-HDi diesel that promises to deliver 70.6mpg while emitting just 105g/km of CO2, giving a BIK burden of just 17% for company tax payers in the 2014/15 tax year.
With the smooth six-speed manual gearbox fitted, it’s the best balance of performance and economy, but a super-frugal 90PS option avoids road tax entirely with a BIK rate of just 14%.
A more powerful 150PS BlueHDi engine is at the expense of economy, but it’s the only engine available with Citroen’s excellent six-speed auto box. Two petrol engines are available, putting out 120 and 155PS.