Wednesday 13 December 2017

A family affair as a new Picasso hits the streets

Eddie Cunningham

Eddie Cunningham

CITROEN has had its ups and downs over the past few years but one part of its line-up that has managed to keep 'street cred' with so many families was its compact people carrier (MPV).

Which is why this new C4 Picasso is such an important car – for buyer and seller.

It is due here in September and there will be a Grand (7-seat) version in January.

Price will be crucial – isn't it always? – and while nothing has been confirmed I understand you are looking at around €27,000 for the 1.6-litre 115bhp five-seater and around €26,000 for the 90bhp version. They will, additionally, have a 2-litre 150bhp in the Grand seven-seater – with prices starting under the €30,000 mark. So that means prices will be lower than for the current motors.

This one comes on a new platform, as you'd expect, but while it is not as big on the outside (4.43m long, 1.83m wide and 1.61m high), it is as roomy as the old one on the inside. Although 4cm shorter, it is up 6cms on the wheelbase so there is more rear leg and elbow room. This is such a critical area for families who value being able to get as many as three child seats on to the second row. There's a big boot too (at 537litres, Citroen claims it as record in its segment).

WEIGHT

Citroen has managed to shed serious weight (140g) with this car and it now racks up similar kilos to the smaller C3 Picasso.

Running costs should be decent because all the engines coming here in September will be under 110g/km – starting with just 98g/km – so road tax will be either €180 or €190 a year depending on version.

The most economical engine is the 1.6-litre e-HI 90. It manages a claimed 74.3mpg which Citroen assert is a record in this category. However, the big seller will be the 1.6-litre e-HDi 115bhp manual (6spd gearbox standard) with a claimed 70.6mpg – a 25pc improvement over the current model.

Yes, I am emphasising 'claimed' for mpg but we'll see. Certainly driving the 115bhp version yesterday, there was a lot of pulling power. It is an engine with pedigree and the extra few bhp on a lighter body made for a nice drive.

The car looks much better styled and the cabin was smart and comfortable with really decent quality plastics. Typically Citroen, there are several cubbyholes around the inside and the cabin is lit up by the huge windscreen. In driving more typical of school runs and short town drives, it was nimble and easy to manoeuvre in sometime heavy traffic. No bother parking either. Expect three specs here: entry-level VTR, VTR+ and Exclusive.

Standard equipment will include: 7ins touchscreen, dual air con, 16ins alloys, Bluetooth, electric windows and several airbags. VTR+ adds auto air con, front fogs, auto wipers and lights, rear parking sensor while Exclusive adds sat, reversing camera, chrome-effect exterior, and an additional 12ins screen for all sorts of personalisation higher up on the dash.

While a September arrival will necessarily curtail purchases this year, Citroen expects as many as 500 will buy either a 5-seater or 7-seater next year.

As if to emphasise how important the car is to Citroen, that number comes to about 30pc of the company's total passenger-car sales.

For Citroen it really is a family affair with the Picasso.

Irish Independent

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