Citroen’s fam­ily-friendly space ship

Cynon Valley - - MOTORS WALES - PETER HAYWARD news­desk@waleson­

WITH con­cept car looks, a huge in­te­rior and ex­cel­lent econ­omy, the Citroen Grand Picasso has to be one of the best fam­ily seven seaters on the mar­ket.

A new chas­sis means a longer wheel­base and that brings a much big­ger in­te­rior than the pre­vi­ous model and more space both for sec­ond and third row oc­cu­pants.

With the third row folded neatly and eas­ily down into the floor, the boot is also much big­ger and the sec­ond row folds in the same way to make space enough for a small boat or half a bowl­ing al­ley.

I re­cently took the range top­ping Flair 2.0-litre diesel au­to­matic down to Corn­wall for a long weekend and thought the weight might be too much for 150bhp.

But I could not have been more wrong.

It was quick enough for ev­ery­thing I wanted, im­mensely com­fort­able over all sur­faces at speed - and be­lieve me there are some poor ones down in the west coun­try and beau­ti­fully easy to drive and to live with.

Be­cause its 110kg lighter than its pre­de­ces­sor and has bet­ter aero­dy­nam­ics, it’s more eco­nom­i­cal and less pol­lut­ing than many con­tem­po­raries.

Sen­si­bly, the au­to­matic gear se­lec­tor is mounted on the col­umn be­hind the steer­ing wheel, free­ing up space in the cen­tre of the dash or on the floor.

The en­gine is smooth and quiet - apart from a slight thrum at mo­tor­way speeds and the gear­box comes with full au­to­matic and man­ual choices.

Au­to­matic does ev­ery­thing well, giv­ing very smooth and swift changes. In man­ual, pad­dles be­hind the steer­ing wheel are used to change gear and they also work well.

Ac­cel­er­a­tion is brisk enough both from rest and in the mid-range - over­tak­ing for ex­am­ple - and is about right for such a fam­ily ori­en­tated ma­chine.

I man­aged 41mpg on that quick trip to Corn­wall and that’s ex­cel­lent for such a large ve­hi­cle, even though as usual, it bears no re­la­tion to the govern­ment fig­ure.

Com­fort is good gen­er­ally as I’ve said, but the ride is a lit­tle more knob­bly at slow speeds in town. There is lit­tle roll in the cor­ners and this helps give sur­pris­ingly good road­hold­ing al­lied to very good grip.

The whole car feels hugely sta­ble, but the steer­ing is a lit­tle too light at some speeds.

The front seats are very com­fort­able and hold well in the cor­ners and friends who trav­elled in the back also thought the ride was good.

The dash has a won­der­fully sim­ple de­sign mounted in the cen­tre of the car, with two full colour screens.

There’s a 12 inch one for all the speed and car in­for­ma­tion like a con­ven­tional bin­na­cle. And an­other lower touch screen takes care of the stereo, cli­mate con­trol, sat nav, phone and other func­tions.

Equip­ment in this top model is ex­cel­lent, with key­less en­try and start­ing, stop/ start, blind spot warn­ing sys­tem, lane de­par­ture warn­ing and a huge ‘moon roof’ with a blind.

There’s an elec­tric tailgate, big al­loys and low pro­file tyres, multi-func­tion steer­ing wheel and part leather up­hol­stery.

The Grand Picasso is a mar­vel­lous car for a fam­ily, im­mensely prac­ti­cal, com­fort­able and rea­son­able to run.

The Grand Picasso is a mar­vel­lous car for a fam­ily

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