Citroën C4 Picasso MPV (2007-2013)
"The comfortable C4 Picasso mixes good looks with a generous helping of practicality and a brilliantly versatile interior."
- Practical interior
- Interesting styling
- Excellent all-round visibility
- Jerky automatic gearbox
- Body roll in corners
- Heavy depreciation
Big on the outside, but feeling even bigger inside, the C4 Picasso is a great family car. Competing with the likes of the Ford C-MAX and Volkswagen Touran, its stylish exterior design is matched by roomy dimensions and lots of storage space. There’s a decent boot – that’s reduced slightly by the sloping roof design – and the rear seats fold completely flat. All models, including the entry-level Edition model, come with air-conditioning, a host of airbags and lots of safety equipment as standard. The two diesel engines are better than their petrol counterparts, offering superior economy and environmental credentials with decent performance, too. The dashboard controls and digital display can be a bit muddled, but the panoramic windscreen offers great visibility and floods the interior with light. The Picasso is Citroen’s five-seater MPV, so if you need seven seats and even more space, the Citroen C4 Grand Picasso may be a better choice.
MPG, running costs & CO2
The C4 Picasso isn’t the cheapest car to run on a daily basis, but it’s certainly within the class averages. The diesels are cheaper than the petrol models, with the 1.6-litre HDi diesel claiming a combined fuel economy figure of 61.4mpg, emitting 120g/km of CO2. This is the most efficient choice, though unusually, the automatic gearbox offers better economy figures than the standard five-speed manual option. However, the ESG semi-automatic is very jerky and slow to change gear, so we wouldn’t recommend choosing it based on the economy figures alone.
Engines, drive & performance
There’s never any forgetting that the C4 Picasso is a big car, thanks to a lot of body roll when driving around corners or when braking. The ESG semi-automatic gearbox is slow to change gears at low speed and is often jerky so if you prefer a smoother ride the manual is better. There is great visibility of the road from the driver’s seat, however, offering a high driving position and feeling like the whole upper half of the car is made of glass thanks to thin windscreen pillars and the panoramic windscreen that extends back over the driver’s head. The two diesel engines are the best of the four on offer, giving much greater fuel economy and better acceleration than the two petrol models. We’d go for the 1.6-litre HDi with the manual gearbox for the best balance of running costs and performance – although it still isn’t as good as the equivalent Ford C-MAX model.
Interior & comfort
The C4 Picasso’s soft suspension means that it’s always comfortable, even over poorly surfaced roads, making it a good long-distance cruiser. There will be the odd occasion when it bounces harshly over speed bumps and the biggest potholes, but never enough to stop it being a relaxing car for both driver and passengers. There’s certainly enough space on offer, which is helped even more by all five chairs being individually adjustable for legroom. The dashboard layout leaves a bit to be desired, however, being cool to look at but confusing to operate. The dizzying array of buttons takes quite a lot of getting used to and can be tricky to use efficiently while on the move. The panoramic windscreen means it feels very airy inside, even if it means the standard-fit sliding blinds will get a lot of use to fend off being blinded by the sun. The built-in air freshener on is a nice touch, too, helping to keep your Picasso smelling fresh when family life takes over.
Practicality & boot space
The C4 Picasso’s boot may be a massive 500 litres with seats up, extending to 1,734 litres with the back seats folded, but overall space and ease of access is reduced by the design of the sloping roof. With the seats up the boot is bigger than the Ford C-MAX and Renault Scenic, but smaller than the Peugeot 5008. Seats down, it’s actually smaller than the Scenic and bigger than the 5008. The seats fold down flat individually in a few seconds, with a tug of lever that is very easy to operate. Mix this with the deep doorbins and some under-floor storage beneath the seats, and the interior of the C4 Picasso makes for a very flexible family car. Other nice touches include a boot light that can be removed to use as a torch, a dashboard cool box and automatic lights in the doorbins.
Reliability & safety
The C4 Picasso came a lowly 121st out of 150 in the 2013 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey, with Citroen itself dropping two spots to 24 in the manufacturers top 30. As a result, it's safe to say that Citroen doesn’t have the best reputation for reliability, with the C4 Picasso suffering numerous recall notices issued by VOSA for cars constructed between 2007 and 2009. Luckily, it did secure the full five stars in the Euro NCAP crash safety tests, with seven airbags, ISOFIX child seat anchor points, hill start assist, electronic stability control and traction control fitted as standard on all models. Top spec cars also get lane departure warning and a cabin mirror for keeping an eye on rear passengers – presumably with children in mind.
Price, value for money & options
Citroen often runs offers with hefty discounts on its new cars, so even though the C4 Picasso isn’t cheap compared to its rivals, you should find it easy to strike a good deal and get money off the list price. The basic Edition model actually offers the best balance of price and equipment, including equipment like alloy wheels, a leather-bound steering wheel and air-conditioning as standard. Resale values should be strong for both Edition and Platinum models, with a panoramic roof (not really needed with the panoramic windscreen), metallic paint and sat-nav available as optional extras.