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Driven: Petrol Citroen Grand C4 Picasso checks in

Fuel for thought: The petrol-powered Grand C4 Picasso is offered from $38,490 plus on-road costs, $6000 cheaper than the diesel.

Name change and new transmission on the cards for Citroen Grand C4 Picasso

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Citroen logo9 Apr 2018

CITROEN Australia will eventually drop the Picasso name in favour of the new ‘Spacetourer’ moniker for its seven-seat Grand C4 Picasso and it is in talks to introduce an all-new eight-speed automatic transmission for its European-built MPV.

To be initially introduced in an upgraded, now-Euro 6 version of the 2.0-litre HDi turbo-diesel, the Aisin-built EAT8 gearbox is said to bring fuel-consumption savings of about seven per cent compared to the outgoing EAT6 six-speed unit.

It will migrate to other engines offered in the people-mover series by the end of the year, including a variation of the 1.6-litre turbo-petrol unit recently introduced in Australia as the sub-$40,000 price-leader in $38,490 plus on-road costs 1.6T Exclusive guise.

While an Australian launch date is yet to be confirmed for the Grand C4 Spacetourer eight-speed auto, Peugeot Citroen Australia (PCA) product planner Justin Narayan told GoAuto that negotiations were underway to introduce the updated name and powertrains within the next 12 months.

“There is no immediate plan to adopt the eight-speed automatic, along with the diesel engine it is paired with,” he said, adding that the turbo-petrol Series II C4 Grand Picasso facelift only launched in Australia late last year, likely pushing the new powertrain combination into 2019.

“However, we will continue to discuss with PSA (Group) when this transmission may be applied to the existing Australian Grand Picasso engine line-up.”

In terms of the name change, it has been reported that PSA Group may have dropped the Picasso badge to save on the cost of paying royalties after nearly 20 years to the family of the late Spanish artist, Pablo Picasso, although Citroen declined to comment on the speculation.

“We will gradually move to the Spacetourer name in line with global markets … but it will not happen immediately in Australia,” Mr Narayan said.

Other PSA models slated for the new eight-speed unit include the Peugeot 308, 3008 and 5008, although timing for these models is unclear.

The all-new 508 mid-size liftback – one of the stars of last month’s Geneva motor show – will probably be the first with the fresh transmission when it lobs in Australia sometime in the second quarter of next year.

Right now, however, PCA managing director Anouk Poelmann said she believes that the existing 1.6-litre turbo/EAT6 Grand C4 Picasso Exclusive is Citroen’s best chance at sales success, with a design-driven, keenly-priced European alternative to the popular Honda Odyssey VTi, which retails for just $1000 less than the French people-mover.

“This market is dominated by petrol drivetrains and we have worked with Citroen in France to offer a petrol drivetrain for Australian customers and in doing so, we have not only boosted appeal but also value,” she said.

“It’s a very exciting time for Citroen as we evolve the Australian business and product to return the brand to its roots of being a unique, European-designed and built vehicle marque … and the Grand C4 Picasso petrol demonstrates that we are working to strengthen our product offerings by reducing complexity and introducing product better aligned to the demands of Australian buyers.”

The facelifted Grand C4 Picasso was actually unveiled in France nearly two years ago, but was delayed arriving to Australia as a result of last year’s change of PSA distribution from Sime Darby to Subaru importer Inchcape Australasia.

The update ushers in revised front and rear lighting elements, restyled bumpers, updated interior trim, upgraded multimedia systems, more driver-assist safety tech (including automatic parking and active blind-spot monitoring), a hands-free electric tailgate, greater personalisation options and a broader selection of powertrains – including the 1.6T/EAT6 combo currently on sale.

However, unlike the continuing 2.0-litre HDi turbo-diesel from $44,490, the 1.6T does not offer autonomous emergency braking (AEB) or adaptive cruise control with full stop – something that next year’s Grand C4 Spacetourer equivalent is expected to address.

First seen in the now-discontinued five-seater C4 Picasso hatch sold in Australia between 2015 and 2017, the Grand C4 Picasso is powered by a Euro 5-rated 1.6-litre THP four-cylinder turbo-petrol engine delivering 121kW of power at 6000rpm and 240Nm of torque at 1400rpm.

Driving the front wheels via that EAT6 torque-converter auto, it accelerates from a standstill to 100km/h in 10.2 seconds (the same as the 110kW/370Nm 2.0 HDi diesel), can hit a top speed of 210km/h and averages fuel use of 6.4 litres per 100km on 95 RON premium unleaded petrol with a CO2 rating of 149g/km.

Released in Australia in 2014, this was the first PSA vehicle with the new-from-the-ground-up EMP2 architecture that underpins most models from the 308 and C4 upwards, meaning MacPherson-style struts up front and a torsion beam rear end.

Lighter yet stronger than the preceding platform serving the previous two-generation Picassos, the latest version tips the scales at 1505kg (46kg less than the 2.0 HDi), despite measuring in at 4602mm long, 1826mm wide and 1644mm high with a 2840mm long wheelbase.

Cargo capacity varies from 165 litres with all seven seats in place to 2181L with the two rear rows lowered.

Citroen says the facelift brings four customisable interior design schemes, a new 7.0-inch touchscreen with faster responses and greater resolution than before, and the standard sat-nav includes speed sign recognition tech.

Other items included in the Grand C4 Picasso Exclusive 1.6T are sliding second-row seats, six airbags, active lane departure warning, active blind spot monitoring, 12-inch panoramic HD central display with three selectable themes, 360-degree vision parking, reversing camera, hands-free tailgate activation, keyless entry and start, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto connectivity, DAB digital radio, a panoramic windscreen with sliding sun blinds and panoramic sunroof, and 205/55R17 alloys with a space-saver spare (as opposed to a tyre-repair kit in the diesel).

Remember, though, for AEB, adaptive cruise control and idle-stop fuel-saving tech, buyers must select the diesel.

There are also 18-inch alloy and a Leather Lounge Pack options, with cowhide, electric/heated front seats with massage functionality, an electric footrest for the front passenger and rear tray tables.

Finally, a five-year, unlimited kilometre warranty and five-year roadside assist program is included.

2018 Citroen Grand C4 Picasso pricing*
1.6T Exclusive (a)$38,490
2.0 HDi Exclusive (a)$44,490
*Excludes on-road costs

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