Citroen C4 Picasso MPV
Price £17,760 - £25,410
- Eye-catching design
- Big boot
- Impressive economy and emissions
- Not as good to drive as a Ford C-MAX
- Only gets a two-year unlimited warranty
- Suspension thuds over potholes
At a glance
"The Citroen C4 Picasso is comfortable, quick and cheap to run. There's plenty of space inside, too"
The Citroen C4 Picasso is one of the best-looking MPVs on the market - its futuristic looks are much more eye-catching than those of a main rival like the Ford C-MAX.
The same is true inside, where the clutter-free dashboard has a futuristic look and digital dials. It's also really practical and the cabin should be perfect for dealing with everyday family life.
Citroen has become an expert at building excellent diesel engines, and none of them are expensive to run. The quickest petrol engine offers more than enough performance for a car like this, and is still relatively economical.
There are four trim levels to choose from – VTR, VTR+, Exclusive, and Exclusive+. All models get Citroen's stylish panoramic windscreen, climate control, a seven-inch touchscreen, and electric windows. The top-of-the-range Exclusive+ adds to this list with sat-nav, park assist, and keyless entry and go.
MPG, running costs & CO2
Low running costs in the diesel models
If you want to keep running costs to a minimum, we would recommend going for the C4 Picasso e-HDi 90. It’s the most frugal model in the range and can return up to 74.3mpg, while CO2 emissions of 98g/km mean that road tax will be free. The e-HDi 115 is actually the model we would go for because it offers useful extra performance, while still getting more than 70mpg. CO2 emissions are so low that road tax will cost just £20.
Even if you decide to go for the quickest petrol engine, economy stays respectable at 47.1mpg but in reality the character and economy of the diesel engines suit the car better.
To help keep you on top of maintenance costs, Citroen offers a fixed-servicing package for around £450. That covers the upkeep of the car for three-years and 35,000 miles, and can be paid for in monthly instalments,
Engines, drive & performance
Not as fun to drive as a Ford C-MAX but smooth engines impress
If you’re buying an MPV purely for the way it drives then the Ford C-MAX is the model to go for. Not many people buy their big practical family cars on this basis, though, and if you’re looking for comfort then the C4 Picasso has it in spades, it just comes at the cost of quite a lot of body lean when cornering.
The engine we would go for is the 115 e-HDi diesel because it’s frugal and quiet and, with 0-60mph taking 11.8 seconds, is fast enough for this type of car. The quickest model is the 1.6-litre petrol but it’s significantly more expensive to run and doesn’t make a lot of financial sense.
Interior & comfort
Seats are comfy and the interior is quiet at motorway speeds
Citroen hasn’t worried too much about making the C4 Picasso fun to drive; instead the focus in on comfort. It starts with an excellent driving position that is not only higher than the conventional car, but is also helped by a thin A-pillar with an extra quarter light to help you see out.
Even on bumpy roads, the Citroen’s suspension does a good job of smoothing out the surface to leave the interior extremely comfortable. And, once you get up to speed on the motorway, cruising is quiet and comfortable. Go for the top-of-the-range models and you also get extras such as an electrically extendable leg rest on the front seats.
Practicality & boot space
Big boot and generously sized rear seats are perfect for families
The Citroen C4 Picasso lacks a large glovebox as a result of the car’s conversion from left to right-hand drive, which is a drawback. In almost all other respects, the Citroen is excellent and there are still plenty of other useful storage areas.
In the back, the MPV gets three individual seats and a flat floor, so there’s plenty of space for the passenger in the middle, and there should be enough head and legroom for everyone. All the seats in the back recline for extra comfort, and on Exclusive models they also slide forwards and backwards for more or less boot space. The Picasso has ISOFIX child-seat mounts on all three seats - particularly useful if you have three young children.
The excellent rear-seat flexibility doesn’t come at the expense of boot space and the Picassos’s is actually class-leading. With all the seats in place it offers 537 litres of capacity that extends to 1,851 litres with all the seats down. The two top-spec models get an electrically operated boot lid, but all have a flat boot floor and no load lip, so sliding heavy items into the load bay should be easy.
Reliability & safety
Reliability should be about average
Build quality is something of a weak spot for Citroen, but it’s hard to pass judgment on the C4 Picasso because it didn’t feature in our 2014 Driver Power survey. It does feel nicely put together on the inside though, with plenty of soft-touch plastics that exude a quality feel. Dodgy electronics are a particular sore point for French-built cars and there’s plenty to go wrong on that front in the Picasso.
There’s not much solace to be found in the car’s warranty, either, as its three-year/60,000 mile cover is starting to look distinctly average when compared to the seven-year cover Kia will give you, for example. At extra cost, Citroen will sell you 12 months’ extra cover, provided the car has not exceeded 120,000 miles.
Safety is good, as the MPV is equipped with numerous airbags, electronic stability control and was awarded five stars when it was crash-tested by Euro NCAP. Spend extra and you can get all manner of extra safety kit including a lane departure warning system and active cruise control.
Price, value for money & options
Competitive pricing and a generous equipment list add up to good value
Whichever C4 Picasso you go for you’ll get a useful amount of kit. Even the basic VTR model gets a seven-inch touchscreen, air-conditioning, and electric windows. Exclusive+ models add to that with sat-nav, a huge 12-inch HD display, and leather seats.
Citroen’s poor record for reliability means the C4 Picasso won’t hold its value as well as a Volkswagen, although it’s still a new model and is likely to prove popular for some years to come.