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Driven: Citroen splits genres with C4 Picasso

Work of art: Citroen's C4 Picasso is based on the same platform as its bigger seven-seat sibling, but the two models share few components and panels.

Single high-spec C4 Picasso to capture both young and old buyers, says Citroen


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10 Feb 2015

CITROEN Australia has launched the distinctive C4 Picasso hatch in Australia, offering its take on tall-boy hatches in the vein of the Mercedes-Benz B-Class.

The car-maker’s decision to delay the importation of the new C4 Picasso by a year after its European launch was an easy one, according to Citroen Australia general manager John Startari.

“We decided to hold the launch in order to offer it with a brand-new six-speed automatic gearbox,” Mr Startari told journalists at the vehicle’s launch.

“Previously, it was only available in manual and robistised manual versions.

“Launching early without the six-speed wasn’t an option for us.”

Mr Startari was also at pains to underline that the B-segment crossover-style hatchback was not just a shortened version of the brand’s successful Grand C4 Picasso seven-seater, which sits just $4000 further up the Citroen range following a $1000 price hike this month.

“It is a unique vehicle more akin to a hatch, not a people-mover. It drives like a hatch, it has the practicality of a wagon and it has the ease of entry of an SUV,” said Mr Startari.

The two cars – built on the PSA group’s EMP2 modular chassis platform – only share a bonnet, front side glass and a windscreen.

The Picasso almost defies a comparison position in the Australian market, but will find itself cross-shopped against vehicles like Volkswagen’s Golf Wagon, the Skoda Octavia range, Mercedes-Benz’s B-Class and BMW’s new 2 Series Active Tourer.

Launching in Australia initially with just a single variant on offer – the highly specced Exclusive – it will retail for $40,990, plus on-road costs.

Standard equipment include a 360-degree ‘bird’s eye view’ camera that incorporates a reversing camera, blind spot monitoring and parking sonar (front and rear), a self-parking function and keyless start.

A 12-inch dash-mounted TFT screen is paired with a seven-inch multi-function touchscreen mounted underneath, and comes complete with satellite navigation, digital radio and an 8GB music storage ‘jukebox'.

Automatic wipers, automatic headlamps with LED daytime running lights and cornering-illuminating fog-lights, auto folding rear-view mirrors and an electronic handbrake are all standard fitment.

Tinted windows, a panoramic glass roof with sun blind, second-row window blinds with a kid’s mirror, dual-zone climate control, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel also join the list.

A Driver Assist package, retailing at an additional $2000, comprising Lane Departure Warning, Active Cruise Control, Active Seat Belts and auto-dimming rear-view mirror and Smart-beam Function, will be offered as an option.

Six airbags, including full-length side curtain bags, are an element in the Picasso’s five-star Euro NCAP crash safety rating.

A Lounge Pack will offer butterfly headrests, second-row tables with lights installed in front seatbacks, front seats with massage function and electric footrest for the front passenger. Opting for part-leather ($3500) or full leather trim ($5000), meanwhile, includes all of the Lounge Pack features and adds full electric front seat adjustment and seat heaters.

The Picasso is 4428mm long (40mm shorter than its predecessor) with a wheelbase of 2785mm (53mm longer), 1826mm wide, with an overall height of 1644mm. Its kerb weight is 1300kg, and its fuel tank is 57 litres.

The C4 Picasso’s overall length is 172mm smaller than the Grand C4 Picasso, with a 55mm shorter wheelbase and 24mm overall lower height.

Suspension duties are handled by MacPherson struts up front and an independent trailing-arm arrangement in the rear. The steering is electrically assisted, and brakes comprise vented 304mm rotors up front and 290mm solid rotors out back.

Load space in the hatch-shaped C4 varies, thanks to a trio of individual sliding second-row seats, from 537 litres to 851. With the seats flipped forward, it’ll handle 1,851 litres. It’ll also tow up to a 1400kg braked trailer.

Seventeen-inch alloys are fitted as standard, and 18-inch rims are offered as an upgrade.

Powertrain duties are handled by PSA’s e-THP 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol four-cylinder, backed by an all-new six-speed automatic transmission.

The International World Engine Awards class-winning four sports a revised turbocharger, direct fuel injection, variable valve timing, and an on-demand electric water pump. The THP engine makes 121kW at 6000rpm and 240Nm from 1400rpm to 4,000rpm, while returning an official fuel-use figure of 5.4 litres per 100 kilometres.

The new Aisin-sourced six-speed gearbox is 2kg lighter, and its top three ratios have been lengthened by 20 per cent, while paddles behind the steering wheel allow it to be driven in manual mode.

Citroen’s C4 Picasso is covered by the company's six-year warranty, roadside assistance and capped-price servicing program.

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