There are people carriers and then there are family wagons that do the same job without looking like the back end of a bus.
Indeed, just because you have a troupe of toddlers doesn’t mean to say you have to give up on a touch of automotive style. And that’s where the new Citroën Grand Picasso comes in.
The seven-seat Multi Purpose Vehicle (MPV) is sleek and way more dynamic than many of its rivals. From its LED lights to its de rigueur alloy wheels and tinted glass, the French motor looks the business.
Yet, inside is where it all really counts. Citroën’s attention to detail and choice of materials makes the quality of finish on board the latest Grand C4 Picasso amongst the very best in class. The standard panoramic windscreen and optional large glass roof (fitted to my flagship test model) bathe the cabin in natural light. At night, white LED lighting further enhances your senses by creating a cosy and intimate atmosphere.
On the practical side, the car has three rows of seats. The asymmetrically designed upholstery at the front gives the appearance of a sofa, whilst row two is home to three independent chairs with sliding bases and tilting backs. Access to tier three is made effortless by an innovative, one-handed operation, tilt and slide mechanism.
With the individual flat-folding row three seats stowed away and with concertina covers in place, the vast boot can guzzle 632-litres of luggage – or up to 793-litres with row two chairs in their forward-most position. Folding both tiers of rear seats flat provides 2,181-litres of stowage. Access is made easy thanks to the wide opening wrap-around tailgate design, large unimpeded aperture, the absence of a lip and flat load floor.
A need for functionality doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be other creature comforts tucked away in the cabin. Far from it, because much to my delight I discovered the car gives you a cheeky little rubdown on command. You see, exclusive to the class are Citroën’s front massaging seats. You can increase the kneading sensation to suit your needs – and it works a treat. There’s also a ‘RELAX’ function, which allows your front passenger to stretch their legs out and experience first class travel. ‘RELAX’ headrests are also available on rows one and two for optimum neck support.
So, what’s it like behind the wheel? Well, driveability is a key strength of the fresh Citroën Grand C4 Picasso. The seven-inch touchpad puts all the in-car functions such as dual-zone air conditioning, navigation, audio, telephone and driving aids, within easy reach.
On the move, the new-generation vehicle is easier to handle and more manoeuvrable than its forerunner. Its reduced weight and lower centre of gravity combine to create a balance between wellbeing and well-mannered road holding. Acoustic and vibration comfort are also noteworthy thanks to an electric power steering system that minimises any road shudder transmitted from the tarmac to the steering column.
As you might expect from a new car with a high level of equipment, the Citroën ensures safety for occupants of all ages. Like the five-seat C4 Picasso, the Grand C4 Picasso has been awarded a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating.
Citroen Grand C4 Picasso 2.0 BlueHDi 150 Exclusive+
Engine: 2.0-litre 4-cylinder turbo diesel
Gearbox: 6-speed manual (6-spd auto optional)
Power/Torque: 148bhp; 273lb/ft
Economy/Emissions: 65.7mpg; 113g/km
0-62mph: 9.8 seconds
Top speed: 130mph