THE great Citroen renaissance continues apace with the new C4 Picasso MPV being the latest model to enter the expanding range of cars from the French firm that are reflecting the flair and styling of some earlier legendary Citroens.
Once again the latest Citroen models have that wow factor as was evident from the Grand C4 Picasso I have just been testing and I am sure the great man himself Pablo Picasso whose surname has been used for this range for many years would certainly have appreciated the qualities of the latest model.
It was clear from the first time I saw the test car with its cool two tone paintwork that Citroen had got it just right again with eyecatching styling and it was the same when I entered the very classy and high tech interior with the huge panoramic windscreen that provided such an excellent view of the road ahead and each side of it.
I was driving the seven seater Grand C4 Picasso Flair BlueHDi 120 manual costing £27,350 that was powered by a four cylinder 2.0-litre 120hp diesel engine which had a top speed of 117mph a zero to 62mph time of 11.3 seconds and a combined fuel consumption of 74.3mpg.
There was a classy refined and comfortable interior but the most striking feature was the large touchscreen in the centre of the fascia under the windscreen which had to be used for virtually every function with no dials and hardly any other controls.
I eventually got used to it although I prefer seperate controls for some things like heating and I also prefer a speedometer digital or otherwise in front of the driver and not to the left in the centre as on this car.
The two third row seats (the new C4 Picasso is also available as a five seater) are easy to put in position from being flat in the load area floor and they are also good for average sized adults. Passengers in the middle row of seats have a large amount of legroom and the hands free opening and closure of the tailgate is an excellent idea especially for those owners who return to their C4 Picasso with both hands full of heavy shopping bags.
The steering has a nice positive feel and the car had excellent handling qualities although I found the first two gears in the six speed manual transmission tended to be a bit notchy.
This latest offering from Citroen should have big appeal for younger owners as was evident when I gave a lift to a young driver who thought the car was absolutely fabulous especially the central screens and the touch screen in particular with the seven seat C4 Grand Picasso appealing especially to those with young families.
There was little to criticise apart from the driver's large and adjustable sun visor which when fully lowered covered part of the interior rear mirror that I found to be rather irritating.
The new C3 I recently tested was a perfect example of Citroen's revival after a few years of producing some uninspiring cars and the latest C4 Picasso is yet another new Citroen with real flair and style that provides further evidence the French company is back on track for a very successful sales period.
Model: New C4 Picasso Flair BlueHDi 120.
Engine: 2.0-litre turbocharged four cylinder diesel.
Output: 120hp @ 3500rpm.
Transmission: Six speed manual.
Top speed: 117mph.
Acceleration: 0 to 62mph 11.3 seconds.
Fuel consumption: 74.3mpg combined.
C02 emissions: 106g/km.