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Long-term test review: Citroen C4 Picasso

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Mileage: 1,320
Economy: 51.8mpg

Sometimes we might go to a dealer to take delivery of a new test car, talking through its merits and our choice of options with a salesperson so we’re fully up to speed.

However, despite a recent facelift, we’re pretty familiar with the Citroen C4 Picasso’s strong points, so we pressed this revised version of the firm’s five-seat MPV into service straight away.

Its credentials as a true multi-purpose vehicle are exactly what I was aiming to explore on a recent trip to the north-east. A family friend’s house move meant they needed to dispose of a barely used sofa, so with an ageing couch looking sorry for itself at my home, I shot off in the C4 up the M1 to Newcastle to pick up a replacement.

The Picasso proved it’s good for carrying not just people but all manner of items – and it’s easy to load up, too. Each rear seat slides and folds individually, so with the tug of a cord the backrests folded into the floor quicker than you can say “flat-pack furniture”.

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With the seats stowed away, there’s a massive 1,851 litres of load space on offer. Or to put it another way, more than enough to swallow a full settee, a coffee table, a chest of drawers, a couple of paintings and a few boxes full of general junk, while still being able to see clearly  out of the rear view mirror. If Doctor Who drove a car, it’d be a Citroen C4 Picasso, such are its Tardis-like credentials.

Our mid-spec £23,290 Feel model is fitted with Citroen’s 118bhp 1.6-litre BlueHDi 120 turbodiesel engine and a six-speed manual gearbox. The latter isn’t so good, with a notchy, indistinct shift action, but thankfully the motor is brilliant.

With 300Nm of torque available from as low as 1,750rpm, in heavy motorway traffic you hardly have to use the gearbox, because the flexible engine pulls from low down when the cars in front clear. It’s also extremely efficient. Over the past 1,000 miles – more than a third of it carrying a heavy load – the Citroen has returned 51.8mpg. On top of the frugal fuel economy, the car’s soft, forgiving ride makes it a great long-distance cruiser.

And there’s plenty of tech on board if you’ve got lots of miles to cover. There’s a good level of smartphone connectivity, with MirrorLink and Apple CarPlay included, as well as the option to turn the Picasso into a Wi-Fi hotspot (more of which we’ll explore in the Citroen’s next report).

However, the infotainment and climate control are accessed through a seven-inch touchscreen, and while the graphics are clear enough, the system often lags behind your inputs, initiating a frustrating number of wild prods at the screen.

The 12-inch widescreen display above this is cool, though, and gives the C4 Picasso’s cabin a futuristic feel.

Other options include metallic paint at £520. On a grey January day our test car’s paint looks just that, but it’s actually a new colour called Soft Sand that contrasts nicely with the £400 black roof. Along with the revised front end, the two-tone roof and our car’s 17-inch Mamba alloys are new to the C4 Picasso. So is the Wild Blue Ambience interior with fold-flat front seat that came in handy shifting other items in the move.

An £800 suite of driver assistance systems, including lane departure warning and blind spot assist, auto full beam lights and radar guided cruise, also keeps a watchful eye over you and your cargo – whatever it might be.

*Insurance quote from AA (0800 107 0680) for a 42-year-old in Banbury, Oxon, with three points.

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