Monday 11 December 2017

Citroen's grand ambitions for Picasso could pay off

SCHOOL RUN: new Grand Picasso brimming with technology
SCHOOL RUN: new Grand Picasso brimming with technology

Martin Brennan

The Citroen Picasso has long been held in high regard as an ideal family transporter. Economical, roomy and lots of storage spaces made it such a hit with mums for school runs that Citroen here had to import secondhand models from the UK to satisfy the demand. The new 5-seater Picasso arrived and was promptly voted Continental Irish Car of the Year, so now sales are better than expected.

But the Citroen boss here, Frederic Soulier, believes that a bigger model could do even better in the sales charts. Enter the 7-seater Grand Picasso which has even more space, more luxury and is brimming with high technology.

Prices start €26,790 and the credentials are good. It is 110kg lighter than the outgoing model and over a range of engines Co2 emission levels are down by 30g/km, which means improved fuel economy. Citroen quotes figures as low as 99g/km Co2 and 3.8L/100km (73mpg) for one of the power plants on offer. A big seller will be the e-HDi 115 bhp with a 6-speed manual transmission and there is an ultra-clean Blue HDi, which reduces harmful NOx emissions by up to 90 per cent.

There are four levels of trim and standard equipment includes air conditioning, 16" alloys, cruise control with speed limiter, electronic parking brake, Hill Start Assist, Bluetooth and steering controls. There is a 7" touchscreen to select air, navigation, Bluetooth / audio and trip information.

The Grand Picasso comes with a 5-star NCAP safety rating with a score of almost 90 for child occupant safety. The three separate seats in row two all have Isofix anchor points, which is not usual in such transport but must be considered a big bonus. Easy sliding and fold-down seats make for easy entry and bigger boot space if required and Citroen say their versatile easy-operation arrangement is the best in class.

The extra room has been created by an 11cm longer wheelbase although the new model is no longer than the old one. Steering and suspension combine to give a smooth drive, always a strong feature with Citroen models. The clean engines, extra space and practical seat layout should put the Grand Picasso on the must-test-drive list of the growing number of MPV devotees.

Irish Independent

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