SLID­ING SEATS MAKE CITROEN’S BIG PEO­PLE CAR­RIER THE PAR­ENTS’ CHOICE

Citroen has given its pop­u­lar Grand C4 Pi­casso MPV a new lease of life. Si­mon Davis gets be­hind the wheel to see what it’s like

Belfast Telegraph - NI Carfinder - - Front Page - BY SI­MON DAVIS

CITROEN GRAND C4 PI­CASSO

WHAT’S NEW? Only a par­tic­u­larly keen eye would be able to tell the dif­fer­ence be­tween the new Grand C4 Pi­casso and the sec­ond-gen­er­a­tion model that ar­rived in 2013. Its ex­te­rior re­tains the fa­mil­iar shape of the old car, but fea­tures a num­ber of sub­tle tweaks that help keep it look­ing fresh and up-to-date.

As you would expect from a car de­signed purely for cart­ing vast num­bers of chil­dren to and from school and sports prac­tice, the new Pi­casso can be spec­i­fied with a raft of ac­tive safety sys­tems. These in­clude Speed Limit Sign Recog­ni­tion and Ac­tive Land Depar­ture Warn­ing, to name but a few.

LOOKS AND IM­AGE

Gen­er­ally speak­ing, large MPVS aren’t the best look­ing cars on the road, how­ever, Citroen seems to have this area nailed. The Grand C4 Pi­casso is def­i­nitely one of the bet­ter-look­ing peo­ple movers cur­rently avail­able on the mar­ket.

A suite of very sub­tle up­dates that would be dif­fi­cult to no­tice on their own make an ap­pear­ance on the new car. Changes in­clude a re­designed front end, 3D-ef­fect rear lights, rear chevrons fin­ished in gloss black with chrome sur­rounds and new 18-inch al­loy wheels. To­gether, these add up to an end prod­uct that is a marked im­prove­ment over the older car.

At the end of the day, an MPV is never really go­ing to be con­sid­ered a cool car, even one as at­trac­tive as the Grand C4 Pi­casso. That said, cars like this will al­ways place func­tion over form.

The added bonus with the big Citroen is that you don’t have to com­pro­mise too much in the form depart­ment if you’ve got a load of chil­dren to ferry around.

SPACE AND PRAC­TI­CAL­ITY

This is the Grand C4 Pi­casso’s piece de re­sis­tance. A seven-seat lay­out means you’ll be pop­u­lar with other par­ents on the school run and should help pre­vent any squab­bles from break­ing out on longer jour­neys with the fam­ily.

The mid­dle row of seats can fold down flat to in­crease boot space and can also slide back and forth to al­low for more le­groom in the third row.

The two third row seats fold down into the boot floor, al­low­ing for 645 litres of stor­age space in the boot when the sec­ond row of seats are in their for­ward-most po­si­tion.

An­other handy fea­ture that has been in­tro­duced is a hands-free tail­gate. Sim­ply wave your foot un­der­neath the rear bumper and the boot will pop open, mean­ing you can load the car up eas­ily even when your hands are full.

BE­HIND THE WHEEL

The Grand C4 Pi­casso isn’t ex­actly a small car, al­though it masks its size rather well. Thanks to plenty of for­ward vis­i­bil­ity out of the large wind­screen and a raised driv­ing po­si­tion, you don’t really feel like you’re be­hind the wheel of a big peo­ple mover.

To drive, the Pi­casso is very man­age­able. At low speeds, the steer­ing is quick enough to al­low you to ma­noeu­vre into tighter park­ing spa­ces and fea­tures like a rear park­ing cam­era mean you shouldn’t bump into any ob­struc­tions.

Out on the open road, you’re af­forded a gen­er­ous view of the road ahead. The seats are com­fort­able, sup­port­ive and eas­ily ad­justable — al­though de­pend­ing on your body frame, the driv­ing po­si­tion might be a tad awk­ward. The steer­ing wheel is quite far away, while the ped­als are right un­der your feet.

There is a fair amount of wind noise at mo­tor­way speeds, ow­ing largely to the boxy shape of the car and the 18inch al­loys fit­ted to our test car also created a fair amount of tyre roar. For the most part, the four-cylin­der diesel en­gine is unob­tru­sive and re­fined, al­though it does cre­ate a bit of a racket un­der heavy ac­cel­er­a­tion.

Any lumps and bumps on the sur- face of the road are dealt with by the Citroen’s sup­ple sus­pen­sion set-up, al­though this does lead to a dash of body roll through the cor­ners.

VALUE FOR MONEY

In terms of bang for your buck, the Grand C4 Pi­casso in Flair trim makes a good case for it­self. It comes with a wealth of handy fea­tures as stan­dard, in­clud­ing the new 3D Citroen Nav sys­tem. This in­cor­po­rates map­ping data from Tom­tom that can be dis­played through ei­ther the seven-inch touch­screen in the mid­dle of the dash, or the 12-inch dis­play on the up­per dash.

Other fea­tures in­clude front and rear park­ing sen­sors, cruise con­trol, dual-zone air con­di­tion­ing, DAB ra­dio and Blue­tooth and USB con­nec­tiv­ity.

Mir­ror Link and Car Play — which are in­cluded as stan­dard — help to make con­nect­ing your smart­phone that much eas­ier.

WHO WOULD BUY ONE? This is a car that will largely ap­peal to buy­ers with young chil­dren. It will tackle the school run with ease and thanks to an eco­nom­i­cal diesel en­gine it won’t be too ex­pen­sive to keep topped up with fuel ei­ther.

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