The cheeky design lines and cleverly constructed interiors have made the Citroën an attractive proposition for individuals who love to flaunt their individuality and the new generation line-up wants to build on this. And with the likes of the Citroën Cactus - which will arrive locally next year - we are sure that funky, stylish cars will remain a staple choice on this French brand’s menu.
But a car, which is difficult to ignore from a styling perspective, is the new C4 Picasso. Built as a people-moving MPV, it grows on the heritage of the Xsara Picasso, which was launched in 1999.
Now we know South Africans are more SUV than MPV driven, but Citroën believes it has something on offer that will be difficult to ignore. And while the C4 Picasso was launched overseas last year, we finally get to see this arty piece of motoring on our roads.
Initially only available as two derivatives – the Seduction and the Intensive – other models could join the fray at a later point.
Both derivatives will be powered by the 1.6-litre e-HDI 115 turbo diesel engine (it can also be found in a few of the Peugeot models, like the 3008). The oil-burning powertrain develops 85kW of power and 270Nm torque and is transferred to the front wheels via a six-speed manual box.
The engine is nice and torquey, with good punch, but it’s particularly good when cruising the open roads and with a claimed fuel consumption figure of 4.0 litres/100km, it’s hard to ignore just how frugal this French gal is (the CO2 emissions are 105g/km).
The top end speed is a shade under 190km/h and will take around 11.8 seconds to go from standstill to 100km/h.
However, certainly the highlight of the C4 Picasso is the clever use of interior space through clever innovation. The car is very spacious and with a host of storage compartments, you might need to stock up on things just so you can stash them. Luggage space is very generous with 537 litres capacity below the parcel shelf which can be enlarged to a very spacious 1 851 litres when the rear seat backrests are folded forward. In addition the powered tailgate can be opened remotely at the press of a button. Ushering in the new Picasso is a new vehicle platform, which cuts the weight down to 1 298kg, some 140kg lighter than the outgoing model.
The new cabin design integrates a host of technologies including a seven-inch touch screen, which has resulted in fewer knobs and buttons being utilised. There’s also a 12-inch HD screen option available.
The touch screen incorporates all the buttons and functions usually found in the centre console, which can be accessed by merely touching the desired icon.
Other standard niceties include dual-zone climate control and an audio system with six speakers, USB connectivity, Bluetooth with media streaming and an additional USB socket. There are front park assist sensors on both models while the Intensive model also has front Park Assist sensors and the Park Assist system for easy parallel parking. Storage spaces abound, including two beneath the floor of the second row of seats.
As a family option, the Picasso does everything right; it gives the driver and passengers peace of mind thanks to the safety features like ABS brakes with Electronic Brake force Distribution (EBD), Emergency Braking Assistance (EBA), Electronic Stability Control (ESC) with intelligent traction control; automatic activation of the hazard warning lights in case of rapid deceleration or impact, six air bags and a deflated tyre indicator as standard, but it also boasts an array of features that will keep you entertained.
The fact that pictures can be uploaded to the touch screen is neat and the iPad adapter (on the top spec) in the rear for children will keep them occupied on long journeys.
Ultimately, the car isn’t a bad offering for a family. It’s frugal and futuristic and with packages available like the driver assist, which offers additional driver aids for around an extra R30 000, or the vision assist or luxury pack, the C4 Picasso can be built to you specific needs.
It does target a niche group of individuals, though, and the starting price is on the high side.
The Citroën C4 Picasso comes with a 3-year/100 000km warranty, 5-year/100 000km service plan, 3-year/24-hour roadside assistance, with the extra cost option of extending the warranty to 5-years/100 000km. Then there’s the option of purchasing Citroën FreeDrive, which consists of a 5-year/100 00km warranty and a 5-year/100 000km maintenance plan.
Citroën C4 Picasso Seduction R325 900
Citroën C4 Picasso Intensive R345 900