Citroën C4 Picasso
The New C4 Picasso, designed by the French and engineered by the British is bound to give some Oh là là.
The model driven for this is the Blue HDI 120 S&S Feel+ (1,6 diesel). Which boasts 26,3 km/l with a 55 ltr fuel tank, taking you the grand distance of 1446,5 km to a full tank of fuel. Though I did not drive the car for that many km. If I were to get 1000 km from a tank, I would be more than happy! As at current fuel prices it would cost me a lot less than what I currently pay in fuel. I even told my wife that if we bought this car, we wouldn't need to fuel up till we got to the UK if driving from Denmark. A journey we frequently take.
Walking up to the car you see the French design straight away, the sleek lines and the curved lights make it look smooth and relaxed. While a straight on view from the front, and it looks a little aggressive. Though the car carries a big rear end, to remind you this is a family car. It's almost like the designers were arguing about how the car should look, and no one won. For me the car is not the best looking, but I can see how some are drawn to its confused looks.
For the passengers
This car is a family car, regardless of its 120 bhp, which when you put your foot down you can quickly feel. There is enough space in the car to seat your partner and 3 kids in comfortably. Citroën has done something that other car manufactures should have done a long time ago in their cars; separate the 3 rear seats. This basically ends the arguments about who is leaning on who, at the same time makes it more comfortable for all backseat passengers. It has also allowed for ISO fix to be utilized in all 3 seats, so in theory you could put 3 ISO fixed car seats in at the same time, and not have an issue. Though there is clearly space to do that, I am not sure it is advisable. I would not recommend it, as if you needed to remove the child in the middle seat it's not easy to do.
Especially if it is an emergency and you need to be quick. If however you only have 2 children, you can fold the middle seat down and the children have a table. Along with the fold out tables (like on a plane) attached to the front seats.
The car has a lot of nice features for your passengers, like an individual air vent with its own controls for power and temperature at the rear row. The rear seats move back, forth and tilt rearwards, well designed to keep your passengers comfortable and happy on those long trips regardless of age and size. Basically what Citroën has done here is simply make sure each passenger has their own seat. This was something that used to be reserved for the likes of full on 7 seater cars. So unless the driver and the front passenger of the C4 are 6,5", there is a lot of legroom for the rear seats.
Boot & Storage
Boot space is at 537 liters when the rear seats are up, and 1851 liters with the rear seats folded down. That means that you can fit your two big suitcases, the kids trunkies and still have space for that last minute shopping. All of that without dropping the seats.
The way the boot opens up is great for putting things in and out with ease. The whole rear end of the car opens upwards to reveal a large hole to easily load. Caution should be advised with this, as the whole rear end of the car opens up. It does so using a great deal of space and once up if your on the short side (as am I), you may find your self jumping to close it again. Under the boot floor is space for a full size spare, though they have installed a puncture repair kit, (some sticky liquid and a pump). I guess they had to save money somewhere.
Inside the car you will find underfloor storage on the rear row of seats, a large glove box, and a small storage compartment in the center between the two front seats. Then you have some medium sized door storage, and the under the steering wheel storage for the service book and manual. There is also a small box in the center of the dash, but that has your connections in it for USB, AUX, and a 12v power supply. Basically Citroën put a storage compartment everywhere they could think of, and I have to say well done to them. Overall not a bad setup.
It took me a few minutes to get the cockpit set to my needs, especially as the dials are in the center of the dash and not in front of me like the typical car design. So I had to adjust how I would usually have a set up and sit in a car. There is plenty of movement in the steering wheel and seat, so finding a suitable position should be generally easy. I did find it annoying that the review mirror is so far away from me. I have to lean forward out of my driver's seat, and only at full reach I can just manage to reach it. I would say that this would be the case for many drivers taller than me as well. Also I don't like the fact that the windscreen is so big, Its great for all round vision, but seriously I am not a bird watcher so why does it stretch so far up? Also I would hate to see the cost to replace it, if you get a crack in it.
Now it was a bit warm in the car, so to the climate control system with one touch of a button. After 3 hard pokes the screen finally changed to the climate control system. It took a little hard love to get everything responding to my touch, but after a while I got the hang of it. Don't touch it, POKE IT and then wait. The radio was playing a station, I wanted to change, and the same problems occurred as with the climate control. The screen and the side buttons are not that responsive to touch, and the screen is a bit too slow for my liking, especially as I spent a large amount of time staring at the screen waiting for it to change. Especially, when there are better more responsive systems out there I have to wonder why they are still using this one? Costs?
So with the key in the hole, I push and hold the start button and off we go to no-where. The hand
brake is electronic and thus a push and pull button. This took me a few attempts to work out which way was on and off. With the handbrake off the engine running I started my drive out of the dealership. 20 km of motorway, country and city roads later I returned to the dealership slightly frustrated. The car drove fine in a straight line with enough power to do a swift overtake, it wasn't too bad on the country roads either. Though I found that on the motorway, it seemed as if the mirrors were creating some wind noise, and I was getting some road noise too. - Nothing I would hear over my kids. The thing that annoyed me the most about the drive, is the the ridiculously large dash board. It seems to go on forever and as a driver I couldn't see where the front end of the car is. It actually made me very uncomfortable not being able to determinate the size of the car. Especially going around corners and turning at lights, or whilst being in traffic I had no idea where the car in front was. Otherwise the drive was pleasant, nothing too exciting but nothing too boring either.
Basically, this is a family car. It is economical and powerful enough not to leave you feeling slow on the motorway. It's roomy enough inside where everyone will be happy and equipped (well for the price). If you want a little more space then the 7 seater version "C4 Grand Picasso" is worth a look especially as the price is not that much more.
On a personal note, this is not a car for me, I don't like the look and I hate that dash. Though it is worth a look if you are in the market for a cheap happy family car, as this will tick most of the boxes.
A woman's perspective
As for my wife, she told me the car is deceiving. At first she fell in love with the separate rear seats for the kids that can be customised to the individuals need (the way the individual seat can be adjusted and moved), and as we only have 2 kids; the fold down tables and the possibility to have a big table in between the kids if you fold the middle seat down. She loved the ISO Fix option in the 3 seats, not that we will ever have 3 kids that need that option at the same time, or I will ever allow it due to it being difficult to get a middle child out during an emergency if in a car seat. She also loved the feature of individual air vents, own controls, power source etc. Especially as our kids are always warm and need a lower temperature than her along with always having something on charge in the car whilst on the go. She liked the convenience of a big boot, as she just throws things in and doesn't pack things up neatly. Though, she hated the look of the car. Her words ''It will make me look like a football mum and I am so not'' and after a while, she realised the comfort was there for the passengers on the backseats and not the driver and passenger in front. She found the layout and design for the driver wrong, the dash too big and in general you were sitting too low in the car whether it was the driver's or front passenger's seat. She said if you drive as much as her (3 hours on a regular day) and you are looking to spend money on a new car, she'd rather save up for something better than settle for this car due to practicalities. Despite the fact that I told her we could get to the UK from Denmark on one tank of fuel. She'd rather driver her little city car for a little longer... And swop with her parents to use our old car (Hyundai I30) when we need to drive abroad, even though it is too small for our needs with our child no. 2. As she is the boss lady, I think we will keep looking for a new and perfect car.
For more information on if this the car for you then contact me here.