Citroen’s family-friendly space ship
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