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More zip – and sip – for Citroen Picasso

Powered up: Citroen's C4 Picasso gets more power and torque in a 2012 powertrain tweak.

Citroen C4 Picasso people-mover gets more muscle, but also a larger appetite

16 Feb 2012

CITROEN’S C4 Picasso compact people-mover has gained more zip at the expense of some of its frugality in the updated 2012 model that has just gone into showrooms.

The sole engine on offer in the one-model range – the 2.0-litre turbo-diesel – has been given a 20 per cent power shot, boosted from 100kw to 120kW, while torque has been lifted from 270Nm to 340Nm, helping to slice almost two seconds from its 0-100km/h acceleration time, which now stands at 10.6 seconds.

This extra sparkle has come at a cost to fuel consumption, which has slipped from 6.0 litres per 100km on the combined test cycle in the previous model, to 6.8L/100km.

The urban cycle has gone from 7.7L/100km to 8.7L/100km, while the highway mode has eased from 5.0L/100km to 5.7L/100km. Carbon dioxide emissions have blown out from 157 grams per kilometre to 177g/km.

However, the three-row seven-seater remains one of the most efficient people-movers on the market, well ahead of Kia’s market-leading Grand Carnival Platinum 2.2-litre diesel (8.1L/100km) and the Hyundai iMax in its most fuel-efficient diesel CRDi guise (8.5L/100km).

Only the smaller Golf-based Volkswagen Caddy Maxi Life can pip the French machine, at 5.8L/100km for the1.6-litre diesel version and 6.5L/100km for the 2.0-litre diesel.

Citroen Australia general manager Miles Williams said the Picasso had fuel economy to beat many small cars, let alone its seven-seat people-mover rivals.

“Now it has the added performance to make driving more comfortable and easy, regardless of the load,” he said.

“It has benchmark safety and emission performance and it keeps all the family friendly features that have made it an award winning people-mover.”

33 center imageAs GoAuto reported back in October when the new Citroen C4 range was announced, 2012 Picasso pricing has been trimmed to $37,990 (plus on-road costs).

This is a far cry from the Picasso’s turbo-diesel pricing of $45,990 in May 2010, when Citroen importer Ateco Automotive dropped the petrol version and introduced a more thrifty version of the 2.0-litre HDi diesel engine (with 50Nm less torque, down from 320Nm to 270Nm).

The new pricing undercuts the segment’s top-sellers, including the Grand Carnival (starting at $38,990), Honda Odyssey ($39,100) and diesel iMax 2.5-litre CRDi ($39,990), although the petrol iMax is a touch cheaper than the Picasso, at $37,290.

Citroen’s Australian distributor Ateco Automotive will be hoping the combination of more power and competitive pricing will lift sales from the current meagre average of about 20 a month, which places it in eighth place in the small - and getting smaller - people-mover segment.

Once again, the Picasso’s diesel engine is mated with a six-speed EGS (electronic gearbox system) automated gearbox also found in the C4 hatchback.

The transmission is described as a ‘robotised manual’ gearbox, with no clutch pedal or mechanical link between the gear shift lever and the gearbox. Instead, the shifts are controlled by electronics and hydraulic actuators.

Known in Europe as the Grand Picasso to differentiate it from the smaller five-seat Picasso, the Citroen people-mover gets the Australian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) top five-star safety rating.

Many buyers are won over by family-friendly features that include some quirky but handy items such as a rechargeable torch in the boot, a drink cooler in the dashboard, middle side window blinds, key-operated headlights, foldout tables for the middle row and standard roof rails.

The rear seat row folds flat into the floor, while both rearward seat rows slide fore and aft. With both seat rows folded, space is said to grow to almost two cubic metres.

Standard features include quad-zone climate-control air-conditioning for the front and second-row passengers, rear parking sensors, a front windscreen sunblind, cruise control and under-floor storage cubby holes.

Also to arrive soon in the Citroen range is the new DS4 premium small car (March) and the larger DS5 (mid-year), followed in the third quarter by the Mitsubishi ASX-based C4 Aircross compact crossover.

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