Our recent post about the Vauxhall Zafira GSi made us realise something: we’ve not really catered to families all that much here at Not2Grand, and that’s not cricket. Plus, it’s a bit hypocritical what with us having a collection of small, annoying humans of our own. So, to offer some balance we’ve plucked a true family car from the classifieds. The Citroen C4 Picasso to be exact.
The decision was made for us actually. You see, before we do a post we have to get the images. We have access to a few sources that have copyright-free press images. This is important, as it means we won’t get sued. When we were looking for the C4 Picasso, we found a howler. Some press shots are weird, but this is just next level. There’s no way we couldn’t feature it. Ready?
What on God’s green earth is going on there? Why is there water in the air? Why is that man Photoshopped onto the image? WHAT IS HAPPENING? The French are weird.
Anyway, the car. Yes, we could have gone down the Galaxy route, or maybe the trusty Espace, but we haven’t. We wanted something a bit more interesting and the C4 Picasso is definitely that. Though just for clarity, this post is all about the five-seat version. Not the seven-seater. That’s the Grand Picasso. Furthermore, we’re looking at the 2007 – 2013 models, because anything prior to that is the visual embodiment of ‘I have given up on life’.
The previous generation, named the Xsara Picasso looked like a large, motorised jellybean. Probably in that flavour that tastes a bit like cat sick and sugar. Yes, it swallowed the family, but it didn’t do it with any degree of dynamism or flair. Thankfully, the C4 version did. It was a completely new platform, complete with a new face and new engines.
See, it’s not a bad looking bus is it? Though of course with a car like this, looks are hardly the primary concern. However, it’s nice that Citroen at least tried with this one. Just because you have a ‘mother and baby’ parking space season ticket needn’t mean you have to drive an uggo.
Aesthetic appeal ticked, what about the inside? Well, it seats five in the conventional two-three format. Though the rear seats can fold down flat which, when combined with the low boot floor makes it a supremely practical bit of kit. If you need to move a fridge, or a Costco bulk buy of nappies, you’re covered. Even with the three rear seats occupied, the boot is still a massive 500 litres. However, the three seats are designed to be equal, rather than two outer seats with a token middle spot. As such, if your kids always come last on sports day, it might be a squeeze.
Also, if you love the frustration that comes with not being able to find your child’s Nintendo DS, you’ll be pleased to hear that the C4 Picasso has around 38,000 cubby holes in which child paraphernalia can be forever lost. Thanks for that, Citroen.
We’ve established that it can house you and your children, but what happens if you drive off a cliff? Pleasingly, the C4 Picasso is a wonderfully safe bit of kit. The French have never been ones to skimp when it comes to safety, and the C4 Picasso is no exception. You get four Isofix mounting points, seven airbags (front, side, curtain and driver’s knee) along with ABS and EBD (electronic brake distribution) to help you avoid a cliff-based free-fall in the first place. All that safety gear secured a top score of five stars from paid car-twisters, EuroNCAP.
Engine-wise, there were a number of petrol and diesel options. The 1.6HDi is arguably the best all-rounder, and boasts a pleasing economy figure of around 48mpg. Though if you want a bit more grunt, there is a 2.0 diesel as well. If you prefer your fuel to be ignited rather than compressed, there’s a 1.6 or a 2.0 petrol. Early cars had a 1.8 petrol available, but they’re thin on the ground and a bit gutless, so it’s probably best to avoid them. Not that the 1.6 is much better, mind you.
The C4 Picasso could be ordered with manual or automatic transmission, or should we say EGS which is some sort of semi-automatic affair. Frankly, it’s a bit dim-witted and slow, but given that it was fitted as standard to most models, you’re out of luck. Though some models did have the option of a conventional automatic transmission. If you really, really must have a manual, it was only available with the 1.6VTi engine and the 1.6HDi.
Seriously, what is going on with these press shots? The mind boggles. But rather than question why that woman is holding a Photoshopped iPod, let’s instead talk about the ride.
As you can imagine, the C4 Picasso has not been designed to clip apexes or boast about 0-60 times. The only thing this is going to embarrass when leaving traffic lights is you. But that’s fine, because it’s not why you buy one of these. And besides, what it lacks in speed it makes up for in comfort.
The C4 Picasso is a lovely thing to cruise around in. It’s quiet, the suspension is delightfully supple and while the steering isn’t particularly engaging, it is light and effortless. Plus, the steering wheel centre does that weird thing where the middle doesn’t move, like in a C5. If you want a comfortable, quiet and generally pleasant place to put your family while on the move, the C4 Picasso is it.
If you only have two kids, you could even scour the classifieds for a Lounge model. It only has four seats, and they’re wrapped in dead cow, not baby-safe fabric, so it’s not really a sensible family car. But who cares? Just look at its innards…
You could pretend you’re flying business class while going to Mothercare. Very plush indeed. Though we should say, the Lounge model is rare and somewhat sought after, so if you see one, you’ll need to act fast.
So there you have it, the safe, practical, but not entirely dull C4 Picasso. You’ll be pleased to know that there are plenty of them about, and as long as you make sure you find one with full history, you should be laughing. Much better than buying the generic Galaxy or Espace, right?