With its remarkable combination of handsome good looks, a light, spacious and versatile interior, and the wide application of innovative and useful technology, the arrival of Citroen’s exciting new seven seat C4 Picasso raises the benchmark in the UK’s fiercely fought Compact MPV sector.
The C4 Picasso is a car full of superlatives for its class: the biggest windscreen forms part of the largest glazed area; the least cluttered dashboard design is complemented by the most innovative use of lighting sources; the simplest folding rear seating system contributes to the largest boot volume; there are class-leading levels of elbowroom and the best all-round visibility, while for added reassurance the C4 Picasso has recorded the highest EuroNCAP score for adult occupant protection.
Citroen’s new C4 Picasso further leads the way by introducing a whole host of unique and innovative class firsts. A parking space measurement system, Hill Start Assist, air quality sensor and scented air freshener, Lane Departure Warning System, self-levelling suspension and paddleshift gearchange all make their debuts.
Refreshingly stylish inside and out, the C4 Picasso combines design flair and individuality with innovation and clever thinking throughout. Built to the highest standards, and exhibiting a level of attention to detail that exudes quality, the C4 Picasso is arguably the most complete Compact MPV available, yet at the same time it reinforces Citroen’s reputation for offering great value for money, with recommended retail prices starting from under £15,000.
With its sleek, aerodynamic lines, its huge sweeping panoramic windscreen and purposeful front end, topped off by the distinctive chrome chevron design displayed by recent Citroens, the C4 Picasso really stands out from its rivals.
On the inside, the most immediately striking feature is the deliberately uncluttered look and feel in the front, achieved by removing the handbrake and, on most models, the gear lever. These are replaced by a dash-mounted automatic electric parking brake and a paddleshift gearchange and mode selector stalk behind the steering wheel.
This modern design approach helps create the clear, fluid and simple dashboard layout. Many of the usual buttons that litter other MPVs are cleverly incorporated into the C4 Picasso’s innovative fixed centred controls steering wheel, while separate, individual controls for the vents and air conditioning are conveniently positioned at either end of the dash. Key driver information is communicated via a centrally located multi-function screen that can be customised to offer a choice of colour settings.
The C4 Picasso is cloaked by a huge expanse of glass, creating a light, bright and attractive environment for all on board. The wide angle panoramic windscreen, which is the biggest in the class, rises up and over the heads of the front seat occupants, providing a field of vision that has never before been seen in the class and is double that of a standard MPV.
Combined with the slim design of the windscreen pillars and the large rear quarter light windows, this huge panoramic windscreen ensures that the C4 Picasso offers the best all-round visibility of any Compact MPV. This is complemented by the availability of the largest sunroof in the sector.
Light, both natural and artificial, plays a key role in the relationship between the occupants and the vehicle. There are up to 32 different light sources onboard, ranging from the innovative use of subtle strip lighting in the doors, headlining and dash to the door bins that are automatically illuminated when a hand is placed inside them, plus a boot light that doubles as a hand-held torch. There are even welcome lights in the door mirrors that bathe the ground with light when approaching the vehicle in the dark.
The abundance of natural light accentuates the sheer space available in the cabin. The three rows of individual seats can comfortably accommodate up to seven passengers, providing class-leading elbowroom for all. And passengers in the third row benefit from extra legroom thanks to the design of the recessed floor.
But it is the remarkable ease with which the rear two rows of seats can be reconfigured that impresses most. Thanks to their unique design, all five seats can be folded down to create a flat load surface in a matter of seconds by simply pulling on the release straps.
Placing the C4 Picasso a further step ahead of its competitors, this simple system is also the secret to the effortless third row access. The outer second row seats operate like cinema seats – on lifting a lever, the cushion flips up against the backrest and then the whole seat slides forwards, giving plenty of room to step into the rear.
Reinforcing its versatile nature, the C4 Picasso offers the largest boot space in the class when in the most common five seat configuration, with an available 576 litres beneath the luggage cover. This can be extended to a massive 1,951 litres with the second row seats folded away.
To stow away everyday paraphernalia there are a number of useful cubby holes dotted around the interior, which can include a 5.4 litre ‘coolbox’ in the centre of the dashboard, underfloor storage space in the boot and two illuminated dash-top compartments.
Comfort is by no means neglected for practicality, and the availability of dual-zone automatic air conditioning, with individual air-flow controls in row two, guarantees that occupants will be able to relax in the perfect travelling conditions. Particularly useful for short stops on hot days, a ‘rest’ function allows the air conditioning to continue to operate for eight minutes after the engine is switched off.
For added occupant well-being, the C4 Picasso can be equipped with an air quality sensor that monitors the levels of outdoor pollution and will automatically switch the airflow to ‘recycle’ if high levels of pollutants are detected. As with its C4 stablemate, a built-in air freshener with a choice of scents, including a new tobacco-neutralising fragrance, is also available.
Citroen’s new Compact MPV is positively brimming with neat touches. Depending on specification, there are aircraft-style trays on the back of the front seats, which can conceal integrated reading lights or video screens for the DVD player. All models feature a clever sun visor system on the panoramic windscreen, which incorporates a sliding blind and flip-down visor to protect the front seat occupants from glare on sunny days, as well as an automatic fuel flap.
The C4 Picasso introduces a number of advanced features to the class, each designed to make the driving experience safe and stress-free. A parking space measurement system helps drivers to locate a space when parallel parking, and is the first such system on the market, while the standard fitment of Hill Start Assist eases pulling away when stopped on a slope.
The impressive list of equipment offered goes on to include front and rear parking sensors, cruise control and speed limiter, a high quality hi-fi system developed with Philips, and a NaviDrive colour satellite navigation system with built-in telephone and voice recognition facility.
Citroen places a great emphasis on safety so it is no surprise that EuroNCAP has already awarded the C4 Picasso a maximum 5 star adult occupant protection rating. ABS with EBD and EBA, ESP with traction control and seven airbags are standard on all models, while a Lane Departure Warning System and Xenon dual-function directional headlamps are also available.
Four Isofix seats, a child mirror in the front, anti-pinch functions on the windows and an electric child lock system reinforce the safety features on this family car. Meanwhile, keeping the vehicle and its contents secure, laminated side windows, an alarm, remote control central locking with deadlocks and automatic locking of the vehicle when in motion are all available.
To provide a purposeful blend of roadholding and comfort, the running gear of the C4 Picasso has been redesigned from that of the C4 on which it is based, to take into account the extra demands placed on a seven seat Compact MPV.
In another class first, top-of-the-range models are fitted with self-levelling pneumatic rear suspension. By maintaining a constant ride height, regardless of load, this system benefits handling and safety. It also allows the height of the rear sill to be raised or lowered independently for easier loading.
Depending on model, buyers can select either a 5-speed manual transmission, or Citroen’s advanced new 6-speed electronic gearbox system. With a choice of manually-operated paddleshift gearchange or an automatic mode, this hi-tech system offers the benefits of ease-of-use and lower fuel consumption.
The new C4 Picasso range is powered by a choice of four engines: 127hp 1.8i 16V and 143hp 2.0i 16V petrol units, as well as 110hp 1.6HDi and 138hp 2.0HDi diesel powerplants. Both diesel engines are fitted with Diesel Particulate Filter Systems while CO2 emissions are as low as 150g/km. Fuel economy for all four versions is impressive, with the 1.6HDi capable of returning some 50mpg on the combined cycle.
With its arrival in January 2007, the new C4 Picasso will become the latest addition to the line-up of one of the biggest players in the UK MPV market, joining the five seat Xsara Picasso Compact MPV, which will continue to form part of Citroen’s line-up, the Berlingo Multispace Budget MPV and the C8 full-size MPV.
Xavier Duchemin, managing director at Citroen UK, said: “The C4 Picasso sets new standards in its class. Customers looking for a new Compact MPV offering unprecedented levels of safety and practicality as well as a fresh new style, all wrapped up in an affordable package, will find that the new C4 Picasso is hard to beat. Its arrival will strengthen Citroen’s MPV line-up, which has proved so popular with UK customers in recent years.”
|1.8i 16V 5-speed manual||£14,995||£15,995||£16,695||–|
|2.0i 16V 6-speed electronic gearbox system||–||£17,245||£17,945||£19,845|
|1.6HDi 5-speed manual||£16,495||£17,495||£18,195||–|
|1.6HDi 6-speed electronic gearbox system||–||£17,995||£18,695||£20,595|
|2.0HDi 6-speed electronic gearbox system||–||–||£19,795||£21,695|