$37,990 – $37,990
Good: Avantgarde styling; functional interior; excellent outward visibility; truly economical motoring thanks to the turbo diesel engine and high tech automated manual gearbox; strong safety rating.
Not so Good: Compromised ride and handling; third row seating is for children only and boot space with seven aboard is average.
Design and Engineering
Good : The C4 Picasso arrived in Australia in March 2007. Based off the C4 hatch, the Picasso has had its wheelbase stretched 120mm to create room for seven seats over three rows. The styling is original and distinctive, with the super wide panoramic windscreen (it goes much further back into the roofline than the norm) creating fantastic visibility and bringing a real sense of openness into the interior.
Not so good : The compact rear suspension helps to create more room inside however it comes at a cost of ride and handling refinement. A mid life facelift shouldn’t be too far away.
Interior and Styling
Good : Steering adjusts for both reach and rake and the wheel is the same unique design as the C4 hatch (the centre hub of the steering wheel is fixed – it doesn’t turn!). The digital speedometer and rev counter is easy to read, the automatic electric parking brake takes up next to no space and the dual zone climate control air-conditioning controls are housed at either end of the dash, so neither the driver nor the front passenger need stretch.
The panoramic windscreen creates a fabulously airy front cabin and the large glovebox can be chilled. Storage compartments are generous, including two illuminated compartments with lids up front (in addition to the glovebox) and an underfloor compartment for row two passengers; the aircraft style tables on the rear of the front seats will surely come in handy and the boot light doubles up as a rechargeable hand-held torch.
Not so good : Second row legroom is nothing special if a 6-foot teen is sitting behind a similar height driver and the third row seating is really only suitable for children. With all seven seats in use, rear cargo space is the small side (at 208 litres), though luckily both the second & third row seats can be folded flat into the floor to create a very usable 1,950 litres of cargo capacity.
Good : The four cylinder 2.0-litre turbo diesel produces a decent 100kW of power (but unfortunately the May 2010 ‘upgrade’ see’s maximum torque drop from the previous 320Nm to 270Nm). Luckily fuel economy is now even better (the official combined fuel economy is a brilliantly low 6.0 litres per 100km compared to the previous 7.4 litres) thanks in part to the new automated manual six speed gearbox (previously the C4 Picasso turbo diesel grade was fitted with a six speed full automatic gearbox).
Not so good : When rushed or with a full load driving over hilly terrain (i.e. at high revs) the diesel powered Picasso emits a little too much engine noise into the cabin.
Ride and Handling
Good : Handling is more than adequate for the vehicles intended purpose – around corners, body roll is kept to a minimum and the Picasso stays composed over smooth surfaces.
Not so good : Less than smooth surfaces = noticeably diminished ride comfort, with the suspension all too easily becoming unsettled. Over rougher surfaces (i.e. sharp bumps and pot holes) the ride is at times even jarring. The variable power assisted steering is too light to install real confidence.
Buying and Owning
Good : Ticks the safety box with standard Anti-lock brakes, Electronic Stability Control and seven airbags (including a driver’s knee airbag) – the Picasso has been awarded an impressive 5 star Euro NCAP safety rating. The spare tyre is a proper full size, reverse parking sensors are standard and fuel economy is super low.
Not so good : Pricing was previously only o.k. at $45,990, however from August 2010 Citroen Australia drastically reduced the price to a much better $39,990. Another bonus is this is the Drive-Away price (not just the recommened retail price) so they cover all the on-road costs etc.