Citroen C4 Picasso MPV
Price £17,760 - £26,410
- Big boot
- Eye-catching design
- Impressive economy and emissions
- Suspension thuds over potholes
- Shorter warranty than some rivals
- Not as good to drive as a Ford C-MAX
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 its main rivals, such as the Ford C-MAX.
The same is true inside, where the modern, clutter-free dashboard features digital dials. The Picasso is also more than practical enough for dealing with everyday family life.
Citroen is renowned for its excellent diesel engines, all of which make the C4 Picasso very cheap to run. The quickest petrol engine offers more than enough performance for a car like this, but can't match the diesels' fuel economy.
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 sat nav, parking assistance and keyless entry to the list.
MPG, running costs & CO2
Diesel models have very low running costs
If you want to keep running costs to a minimum, we'd recommend 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 exempt it from road tax.
However, we think the e-HDi 115 model is a better all-rounder, because it offers useful extra performance while still returning more than 70mpg. Its CO2 emissions translate to £20-a-year road tax.
Even if you decide to go for the fastest petrol engine, economy stays respectable at 47.1mpg, but in reality the character and economy of the diesel engines suit this car better.
To help you keep on top of maintenance costs, Citroen offers a fixed-price servicing package for around £450. That covers the upkeep of the C4 Picasso for three years and 35,000 miles, and the cost can be spread out with monthly instalments.
Engines, drive & performance
Not as fun to drive as a Ford C-MAX, but smooth engines impress
If you want an MPV that handles well, then the Ford C-MAX is the model to go for. This isn't the biggest consideration for most people buying practical family cars, however, and if you're looking for comfort then the C4 Picasso is a great choice. The downside of its soft ride is that the body leans quite a lot when cornering.
The 115 e-HDi diesel engine is our pick of the range, because it's frugal and quiet and – with 0-62mph taking 11.8 seconds – more than powerful enough for this type of car. The quickest C4 Picasso is the 1.6-litre petrol but it's significantly more expensive to run than the diesel and so doesn't make a lot of financial sense.
Interior & comfort
Seats are comfortable and 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 raised driving position and excellent visibility thanks to a slim windscreen pillar with an extra window panel that gives you a great view when pulling out of junctions or on to a roundabout.
Even on bumpy roads, the Citroen's suspension does a good job of smoothing out the surface and keeping the occupants comfortable. And the interior remains quiet and relaxing when you get up to speed on the motorway. Go for the top-of-the-range model and you'll get luxurious 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 has a pretty small glovebox as a result of the car's conversion from left to right-hand drive. But in almost every other respect, the Citroen is a very practical car, offering plenty of other useful storage areas.
In the back, the MPV has three individual seats and a flat floor, so there's plenty of space for the middle passenger's feet and there should be more than enough head and legroom for everyone. All the back seats recline for extra comfort, and on Exclusive models they also slide forwards and backwards so you can vary legroom and boot space to suit your needs. The Picasso has ISOFIX child-seat mounts on all three rear seats, which is particularly useful if you have three young children.
The excellent rear-seat flexibility doesn't come at the expense of boot space, where the Picasso leads its class. With all the seats in place, it offers 537 litres of luggage capacity, which extends to 1,851 litres with all the seats down. The two highest-spec models have an electrically operated bootlid, but all C4 Picasso's feature a flat boot floor and no load lip, so sliding heavy items in the back is very easy.
Reliability & safety
Reliability should be about average
Build quality is something of a weak spot for Citroen, but it's hard to pass definitive judgment on the C4 Picasso because it didn't feature in our Driver Power 2014 owner satsifaction survey. It does feel well put together on the inside, though, with plenty of soft-touch plastics that exude a high-quality feel. Dodgy electronics are a particular sore point for French-built cars and unfortunately 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 looks distinctly average when compared to the seven years of cover you get on a Kia, for example. You can buy 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 has a seven-inch touchscreen, air-conditioning and electric windows. Exclusive+ models add sat nav, a huge 12-inch hi-def display and leather seats.
Citroen's poor record for reliability means the C4 Picasso won't hold its value as well as something like a Volkswagen, although it's still a new model and is likely to prove popular for some years to come.