Citroen’s Picasso, the new leader in the people-mover class
CAN 250,000 buyers a year be wrong? Yes. They buy compact SUVs in the lemming-like mindset that it’s a family car.
Compact SUVs proliferate yet there’s not a single outstanding example, because it’s inherently compromised, a cross of small hatchback and off-roader that typically has the limitations of both and the assets of neither. If you’ve the least regard for those genetic replications of yourself in the back, buy a people-mover.
The only real limitation of such a vehicle is its label. Yes, they can move seven (sometimes eight) people in varying degrees of comfort.
Yet a people-mover’s great attraction is versatility. You can have seven up, just the driver or untold combinations of human and/or inanimate cargo.
Nor are “people-movers” merely family cars. Anyone whose recreation necessitates large pieces of expensive equipment need look no further. Europeans call them MPVs — multi-purpose vehicles — but do we need another acronym?
So Citroen’s Grand C4 Picasso, released this week, deserves recognition beyond its Francophile devotees.
At $43,990 before options (of which there are few), it looks compelling, as would a still taller price tag from this driver’s seat (which is slightly elevated and so another reason not to delude yourself with an SUV). The instrument display is singular in the Citroen fashion, its form firmly functional.
Standard fixtures include 12-inch high-definition screen augmented by a seven-inch touchscreen with multimedia controls. Only last year did a similar setup debut in Benz’s flagship S-Class.
The entry price includes blind spot warning, 17-inch alloys, lightweight motorised tailgate, satnav, park assist and — most impressively — rearview and 360-degree camera.
The $2K Drive Assist Pack brings lane departure warning, smart headlights, active cruise, anti-collision warning and active seat belts.
The diesel, the sole engine, is the first oiler to earn five stars in the Green Vehicle Guide — even if the eye-widening 4.5L/100km (on standard 17inch wheels) achieved in official testing will seldom be realised in fully burdened urban reality.
The six-speed automatic (with a torque converter) drives the front wheels. Despite carrying the C4 designation, the Picasso rides on a new platform and weighs in a good