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Driven: Citroen reboots Grand C4 Picasso

Family hauler: Citroen's Grand C4 Picasso is among the greenest MPVs around.

Striking new Citroen Grand C4 Picasso is leaner and greener than before


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25 Feb 2014

CITROEN’S new-generation Grand C4 Picasso people-mover has arrived in Australia with a simplified line-up and a new diesel powertrain that makes among the most fuel efficient MPVs.

Featuring styling that is downright sharp by people-mover standards, the new model is also $4500 more expensive than the outgoing Seduction diesel at $43,990 plus on-roads. Citroen’s local importer claims it has also added an extra $9000 worth of extra features.

The seven-seater’s sleek, almost futuristic design is heavily influenced by the appealing Technospace concept that debuted at the Geneva motor show early last year.

The Grand C4 Picasso is the first vehicle in Citroen’s line-up to be powered by the new Euro 6 BlueHDi engine. The 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel unit produces 110kW at 4000rpm and 370Nm of torque between 2000 and 2500rpm, which is less power than its diesel predecessor (120kW) but more torque (340Nm).

The sole transmission choice is a new six-speed automatic and official fuel consumption on the combined cycle is an impressive 4.5 litres per 100 kilometres, easily more efficient than the outgoing model’s 6.8L/100km figure.

It undercuts fuel use from the smaller Kia Rondo diesel with 6.4L/100km, while the 2.2-litre oil-burner in the Peugeot 5008 sips 6.3L/100km. Only the smaller, petrol-electric hybrid Toyota Prius V beats it, with a figure of 4.4L/100km.

CO2 emissions are down to 117g/km and the French seven-seater also features a Selective Catalytic Reduction system that eliminates carbon monoxide, unburned hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides and particulates.

In-line performance is also improved a with a 10.2-second 0-100km/h sprint time compared to 10.6 seconds in the old model.

Ths $43,990 price places it in the middle of its people-mover competitors, including the Kia Carnival diesel ($44,990 to $56,290), the new Honda Odyssey that arrived last month ($39,990 to $47,620) and the Peugeot 5008, based on the outgoing C4 Grand Picasso ($36,990 and $40,490).

The Grand C4 Picasso continues Citroen’s local distributor Sime Darby Motors’ practice of simplifying model ranges for a more efficient line-up, with one quite generously-equipped specification level only – the Exclusive.

For the money, buyers get standard equipment including dual-zone automatic air conditioning, second-row air vents, keyless entry, push-button start, front and rear parking sensors, panoramic glass roof with electric sun-blind, automatic folding mirrors with puddle lights, Bluetooth, USB and auxiliary jack and 17-inch alloy wheels.

Other comfort features include cruise control with a speed limiter, leather steering wheel with audio controls, electronic handbrake, mirrors that automatically adjust downwards when reversing, rain-sensing wipers, automatic headlights, ‘eMyWay’ sat-nav and a parking pack that includes 360-degree vision, automatic park assist and blind spot monitoring.

A Drive Assist Pack is a $2000 option and includes a lane departure warning, active cruise control, anti-collision warning, active seat belts and a smart high-beam function, while an electric tail-gate is an extra $1000.

Bi-Xenon headlights are also an option for $2000, while part leather seats are $2500 and full leather seats cost $5000.

Citroen’s completely new cabin feature a clean European dash design dominated by a 12-inch panoramic HD screen used to display navigation and the 360-degree camera. Buyers can even personalize it by uploading a photo as the screen backdrop using a USB.

A smaller seven-inch multi-function touch-screen houses controls for climate control, media, navigation, Bluetooth and other driving aids.

Built using PSA’s new Efficient Modular Platform 2 (EMP2), the Grand C4 Picasso has a wheelbase 110mm longer than the model it replaces at 2840mm while maintaining its overall length of 4590mm.

This platform took four-and-a-half years to develop and the company expects it will underpin 50 per cent of its production in the future, with Peugeot’s 308 small car the next cab off the rank.

The use of the platform has meant a 100kg weight saving over the previous model thanks to the use of aluminum and high-yield strength steel, while the cabin also has more space, 217mm of knee room for the second row (up by 55mm) and 108mm in the retractable third row (up 16mm).

Cargo space is up by 69 litres to 645 litres with five seats up, and there is 1170mm of space between the wheel-arches.

Citroen says it has improved the overall quality of the new model, including reducing the noise made by opening the doors and tailgate, while it has also used higher quality materials.

Some of these changes include the use of anti-static additives on interior plastic that attracts less dust, varnishing technology on body paint for better resistance to scratching, more resistant full-grain leather, a reduction in braking noise and vibrations, improvements to tyre wear and “controlled ageing” of the appearance of interior and exterior equipment.

Safety wise, the people-mover is yet to be tested by ANCAP for a crash safety rating, but in Europe the smaller five-seat C4 Picasso was awarded a five-star rating.

Standard safety gear includes six airbags (front, side and curtain), automatic hazard lights in case of sudden deceleration or impact, ESC, ABS with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution and hill-start assist.

Sales of Citroen’s outgoing Picasso people-mover have slipped in recent years, with just 61 units sold for the entire 12 months of 2013, marking a 59 per cent drop over the 2012 haul of 149 sales.

This is well behind the top-selling Kia Carnival with 2847 sales last year, the Hyundai iMax on 1455 units and the Honda Odyssey with 1001 sales.

Citroen Grand C4 Picasso Pricing:
$43,990 plus on-roads

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