Citroen: 2014 C4 Grand Picasso HDi Intensive review

Citroen: 2014 C4 Grand Picasso HDi Intensive review

DSC_0020While driving up the ‘fun’ section of State Highway 29 in Citroen’s new C4 Grand Picasso, it was reinforced to me that kiwi buyers should be considering options other than a Sports Utility Vehicle for their family carrying needs.

DSC_0018While carrying the requisite seven in comfort, the Citroen does what many SUVs cannot, its genuinely good to drive, it rides with little compromise, and it offers huge value in the process.

MPVs have not exactly been a new car sales star in recent years, and even Citroen resorted to selling refaced Mitsubishi SUV and Crossover models to plug the gap in its range.

Now it is trying to convince buyers into something more DSC_0015practical, and with the Grand C4 Picasso I think they are on to a winner.

Compared to the previous model the new Picasso is longer, wider and lower in the floor – teamed with space ship like looks inside and out, it has uniqueness most family carriers don’t. Load carrying ability is up, with captivity maxing out at 700 litres with the second row in its forward most position.

The third row of the Picasso has space few vehicles with off DSC_0033road pretensions could match.

There are two model grades on option, a sharply priced Seduction at $42,990 and an Intensive model at $49,990.

Both variants come with satellite navigation, black panel night-time instrument lighting, 7 inch touch screen, daytime running lights, front fog maps with cornering function, automatic air conditioning, electrically adjustable mirrors with heating and fold in function, and seven individually adjustable seats.

The Intensive variant gains half cloth/half leather upholstery and 18-inch alloy wheels, as opposed to the Seduction, which has full cloth and 17 inch alloy wheels. In the safety stakes, it also gets a 360-degree onboard camera system, including front and rear parking sensors, parking assistance system, blind spot monitoring and hands free access and start.

The seats deserve their own mention. Each seat can be adjusted a myriad of ways, but the real fun is in the front. Both front seat feature a simple but surprisingly effective pulsing massage function, while the passenger seat has an electrically extending leg rest, allowing premium economy DSC_0030levels of comfort for your better half.

There is just one driveline option for the vehicle – but it is a good one. The 2-litre Blue HDi turbo-diesel has a long list of green credentials, but for all that puts out 110kW at 4000rpm, and a chunky 370Nm of torque, and drinking as reported, 4.5L/100km in the Seduction model. Even with a reasonable load of passengers onboard, the unit is enough to make the Picasso a sprightly performer.

Where the vehicle has really advanced is in the transmission. Gone is an automated manual, replaced with a genuine six-speed automatic. Often the achilles heel of French vehicles, this one works surprisingly well, smooth and appropriate in its choices.

Two downsides – the stop/start system was sometimes a little erratic in its choices, while the selector – a light plastic arm forward of the steering wheel, feels flimsy and vague. Selecting correctly could at times be a little hit and miss.

The clever-but-simple award goes to the Picasso’s extra storage area in the lower centre console. The lid flips open to form a tray, and inside are multiple USB and power output options. In a world where most in the family will have a phone and or tablet in need of charging, this is genius.

Whether the rest of the vehicles ergonomics are going to work for you is probably down to your taste in technology. The infotainment, climate and a few other selected controls are operated through a large touch screen on the lower dash area, while the instrument cluster is also a screen in the centre of the dash. You can choose multiple looks, gauge combinations, or even have pictures on display.

I like the touch screen control idea – but it does take some getting used to particularly for the likes of temperature selection.

But then all cars are going this way so we need to learn!

Pros:

  • Ride and handling is top notch
  • Seating is clever and the vehicle is roomy
  • Find a seven-seat SUV that consumes this little fuel
  • Looks cool – for an MPV

Cons:

  • MPVs are not as cool as SUVs
  • Transmission selector is vague and feels cheap
  • Some may not like touching screens for controlling systems

Price Seduction: $42,990

110kW 2.0l turbo diesel engine with 6 Speed Auto Transmission

Features:

  • 7 individual seats
  • eMyway satellite navigation
  • Rearview camera with rear parking sensors
  • 7″ touch screen
  • LED daytime running lights
  • Automatic headlights
  • Automatic rain-sensing wipers
  • Automatic dual zone air-conditioning
  • Bluetooth with audio streaming
  • Push button start
  • 17″ alloy wheels
  • Intelligent traction control
  • Connecting Box (AUX Jack, 2x USB )
  • 8gb Jukebox for music storage
  • Electronic parking brake
  • 7 x three point inertia reel safety belts
  • Tyre pressure sensors
  • Zenith panoramic windscreen
  • Cruise control and speed limiter
  • Generous storage compartments
  • 704lt boot
  • 4.5l / 100 km fuel economy

Price Intensive: $49,990

Additional equipment to the Seduction

  • 360° Camera
  • Parking assistance system
  • Front parking sensors
  • 12″ panoramic HD screen
  • Blindspot monitoring
  • 18″ alloy wheels
  • Half leather trim
  • Massaging front seats with electric lumbar support
  • Front passenger electric leg rest
  • Relax headrests on front and row 2
  • Satin Grey roof bars
  • 3D tail lights
  • Dark tinted rear windows
  • Row 2 sun blinds
  • Headlight washers

DSC_0020

Words:

Pictures: Robert Barry

 

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