There we were, the boyfriend and I, peering through the panoramic windscreen of Citroën’s newest family wagon: the C4 Picasso. Off to see the typically dysfunctional family, all we needed was a little one strapped in the back and you could’ve called us Cam and Mitch.
The latest C4 Picasso is certainly an MPV (multi-purpose vehicle) for a modern family. Maybe the perfect MPV.
Everything about the C4 Picasso is modern – in a typically Citroën sort of way. And, as you’ve no doubt noticed, there’s no getting away from the looks. One of my favourite little gems – “it looks like an alien spaceship”. And you have to admit, it kind of does …
In fact, Citroën’s design philosophy for the C4 Picasso was known as “Technospace”, and, with its piano-black grille, LED daytime-running lights, large glasshouse and bold chrome beading, the C4 Picasso has an ultra-modern air about it. Sure, it splits opinions, but it proudly stands out from the crowd.
The interior is what a modern family is interested in, though, and the C4 Picasso’s is as bold and creative as its exterior visage. It has a modern, minimalist look; with the car’s functions controlled by the central seven-inch “Touch Drive” interface and surrounding touch-sensitive buttons. The upper 12-inch HD screen replaces the traditional instrument cluster and displays all the usual information. It’s customisable, too; offering various display options (e.g. satnav) and three different themes.
Our Intensive model was fitted with Champagne and Black full Nappa leather – all the materials and touch points are of top-class quality. The five individual seats are super comfortable, fitted with “Relax” headrests designed for optimum neck support. The seats are the C4 Picasso’s party piece … The three rear seats are split equally, each able to slide back and forth and recline individually. In addition to the front seats having individual massage and heating functions, the front passenger seat is also something of a lounger, with an electronic footrest – La-Z-Boy style (both optional).
There are lots of storage spaces, and the large, wide and low-opening boot swallows up to 1 851 litres.
Overall, the C4’s interior is roomy, airy, practical and an oh-so-lovely place to be.
As you’d imagine then, it’s just as comfortable when behind the wheel as it is from that passenger lounger… Visibility is brilliant thanks to the large windscreen and front quarter-lights and reversing is a cinch with the standard park-distance control and the 360 degree Vision parking system, which includes a reversing and side cameras to display the car’s surroundings on the upper screen.
It also parks itself … A push of a button on the steering wheel activates the system, it scans for a suitable bay and in you go! It can also pull itself out of a bay, but this proved a bit more tricky for the system to manage.
Drive is from an 85 kW, 275 Nm 1,6-litre turbodiesel engine, which drives through a six-speed manual gearbox. The engine is smooth, but could do with a bit more oomph. The manual gearbox is also slightly out of character with the rest of the car – while in all honesty there’s really nothing wrong with it, an automatic would just seem like a better fit. The ride is smooth and comfortable, if a little floaty, and the car handles well for its size (it only weighs 1,2 tonnes).
Fuel consumption is quoted as a combined 4,0 l/100 km. About town I managed a still commendable 7,6 l/100 km.
As you’d expect, the C4 Picasso is fitted with a host of safety features, including eight airbags, ABS anti-lock brakes with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD) and Emergency Brake Assistance (EBA), Hill Start Assist and an automatically-activated electronic parking brake. Our vehicle was also fitted with blind-spot monitoring and the optional radar-guided cruise control with collision alert and a lane-departure warning system.
The C4 Picasso is priced at R345 900 – without all the options. Yet even with all of them added, the price is still reasonable compared to some of the other new vehicles a typical family would buy (think BMW 3 Series, et al). The price includes a standard three-year/100 000 km warranty, five-year/100 000 km service plan and three-year 24-hour roadside assistance.
The C4 Picasso is a techno tour de force, offers great practicality and space and, after a little while, you really do warm to its unique looks. To me, it’s the prefect, modern, family car.