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Test drive: The new Citroen C4 Picasso

Test drive: The new Citroen C4 Picasso

Citroen's popular MPV returns in an all-new and ultra-modern style. It's a little smaller on the outside but just as big as the previous model on the inside, and that means five seats in a very versatile interior, and a large boot. It's also much lighter than before, and with the latest petrol and diesel engines it's more efficient than ever, including a 98g/km CO2 model. Here's our test drive review of the all-new Citroen C4 Picasso.

First up, it's hard not to notice the new C4 Picasso's style – it's almost spaceship like at the front. Slim and chrome strip-topped LED driving lights lead the way with the new look, with the whole front-end of the new car treated to a very smooth and uncluttered design. The large Citroen Chevrons remind us quite distinctly who makes this MPV, while other attractive touches like the panoramic windscreen and lower-by-4cm roof-line bring interior light and a stockier feel, respectively.

While the front-end is striking indeed, the car's flanks and rear-end are more traditional – except for the rather groovy '3D-look' rear LED lights – but if you look more closely you'll notice a wealth of design touches and flourishes. These smaller, neat touches are the kind to continue to gently please the car's owners over time.

Inside too, much refinement work has been done. While the previous Picasso MPV models weren't short on practical space – making them ever popular with family buyers – the new car keeps its space but also aims to make that space more attractive and premium-feeling.

The cars that I drove were either VTR+ or Exclusive trim levels; trims that sit right in the middle of the four trim levels offered. The range starts at £17,500 for the C4 Picasso VTi 120 manual VTR, and rises through VTR+, Exclusive and then Exclusive+ at the top. The top-priced C4 Picasso is the e-HDI 115 ETG6 Exclusive+ at £24,455. These prices do not include any optional extra, of course.

I found the interior, in the two trims that I tried, to most certainly tick the spacious and airy boxes, with the panoramic windscreen opening up the feel of the interior, and, model and options dependant, there's a large sunroof that really floods the inner space with outer daylight.

For a very tall driver I found the space around my knees, elbows and head to be extremely impressive. As hard as I tried I just couldn't knock my knees on any interior trim either side of the steering wheel. This meant that I could really relax into my chosen driving position – helped along by adjustable seat and steering wheel – and with the general easy-driving nature of the new C4 Picasso, the test drive experience was as refreshing as this kind of car needs to be. Mum and dad could travel many miles with the kids in the back and still feel ready for fun, I think.

Obviously, the level of interior goodies will climb with the price of each C4 Picasso model, but I found the general fit, finish and feel of things to be a pleasant improvement over the last model, and touches like the large, clear and crisp colour control screens most definitely lending the new car a very modern feel.

Practicality is also key, and the new car gets class-leading rear legroom and boot space, and with three rear seats that can slide forward and backwards, as well as the usual split and fold flat tricks, there's not much the C4 Picasso can't carry. And with its six interior storage areas and modern materials, a family on a 'stay-cation' will get to carry plenty of what they need, in comfort.

As for the new car's engines and general ride comfort, again Citroen aimed to improve economy and good-road-manners. The new car is some 140kg lighter than the model it replaces and weight loss is never a bad thing in any new car.

It means the engine doesn't have to work so hard, and that with a lighter body on top of the chassis – an all-new 'EMP2' platform for this C4 Picasso – the car will feel more nimble and roll less in the corners. I found the C4 Picasso with the 90bhp and 115bhp turbodiesel engine and manual gearboxes I test drove to be fluid and smooth on the city streets. Body roll is indeed improved, steering nicely direct and with a comfort-oriented suspension set up there's much quiet cruising to be done. This driving style will fit the family bill well, I think.

The range of modern petrol and diesel engines is wide and you can expect the best of Citroen's economy technology whichever fuel you choose. Mix the new C4 Picasso's frugal nature with a large and well-finished interior, and a striking exterior, and you've got a family-friendly 5-seat transport that manages to keep an attractively stylish edge to it.

The all-new Citroen C4 Picasso is in dealers now.

Posted by Craig SalterADNFCR-3205-ID-801620187-ADNFCR