CITROËN Grand C4 Picasso Review

* Guest post by my husband, DD!

Last weekend we were very lucky to be lent the ALL-NEW CITROËN GRAND C4 PICASSO to review. (Woohoo!)

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We were particularly excited to be test-driving this car as the All-New CITROËN GRAND C4 PICASSO 2014 is an update to the New CITROËN Grand C4 Picasso launched in 2006 which we currently own (and have affectionately named “Pablo”). Apparently, the 2014 release was necessary because the 2006 CITROËN Grand C4 Picasso has been so popular, it’s sold out!

Anyway, I predict that CITROËN will launch the Ultimate-Newest CITROËN Grand C4 Picasso only in 2020+ so if you buy the All-New 2014 version, fear not. I’m sure you’ll be driving the newest car around for quite some time.

But getting back to business: for the purpose of this review, our All New 2014 Grand C4 Picasso shall be called… Paul. For those of you who object because you say that Paul and Pablo are essentially the same name, I think you’ll see that “same-same-but-different” pretty much sums up our 2014 v. 2006 Grand C4 Picasso experience.

Introduction

So to begin with, here’s a short introduction to Paul:


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Take note that the child featured in the picture above is a non-standard accessory.


Specs

Here’s a simplified spec sheet which sets out the key headlines.

Citroen Grand C4 Picasso Spec Table
Pretty impressive. What really stands out is the Category A COE. Not many MPVs fall into this category. Also, this car is eligible for a S$15,000 CEVS rebate because it fits certain environmentally-friendly criteria and in fact has the lowest carbon emission rating in its class.

Review

Ok, so now on to the actual review. To begin with, let me just say it outright – this is seriously the best MPV in its class.

I’ll let some facts do the talking:

  • Roomiest MPV in its class
  • Best fuel economy in its class
  • Best electronic specs in its class
  • Excellent visibility, best in its class
  • Lowest carbon emissions in its class

Actually I can stop here because that’s the review done and dusted.

But since the good folks at CITROËN were so kind to let us have Paul for three days, I think they must be expecting a little more… Heh.

So here goes.

Design

A review of the All New Grand C4 Picasso must begin with a word on its design.
In its press release the following is stated about Paul’s design:

On the design-front, CITROËN C4 Picasso’s and Grand C4 Picasso’s strong, expressive designs are visible in the dynamic lines and high-tech headlights with LED 3D rear lights. The 5.7 square meters of glazing with the zenith windscreen and panoramic glass roof creates the CITROËN-signature loft-style interior with a bright, uncluttered ambience.

Ermm, did anyone really understand that? Me neither.

Actually, in my humble opinion, design is very simple.

Design only comes in 4 choices as follows:
(A) it looks great
(B) it is sort of nice
(C) I’m somewhat doubtful
(D) it sucks.

Most people whom I spoke to think that Paul’s design was an unequivocal (A). Me too. Just as you cannot describe what an iphone actually looks like using words like “dynamic lines”, I’ll just let photos do the talking.

A
B
C
D
F

The above of course are the professionally taken brochure photos. Looks great, right? After having seen the car, I’m happy to report that it looks as good in person. You… just have to take my word for it.

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Nice!

Drive

Now onto the drive.

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Paul uses an All-New (hey that phrase again!) engine platform, wholly different from Pablo. Apparently the new engine cost CITROËN /Peugeot 630 million Euros to develop! Just to make sure that it wasn’t wasted money, the new engine, amongst other things:

  • consumes 22% less fuel than the old engine
  • is lighter and has better weight/performance ratios than the old engine 
  • is designed with tighter electronic integration with onboard electronics in mind

That’s why it was 630 million Euros! And no, my inside sources confirmed that the cost was NOT because the smart and clever designers of the super-duper magic new engine conned their employers into giving them more money. It had something to do about developmental costs, materials research, etc*

(*I can’t recall and share the exact details because I basically lost interest when my Dilbert-based theory was invalidated. Sorry!)

Anyway, the practical result of the improved engine platform is that driving Paul around was a nice and enjoyable experience. Steering was super light, even effortless. The car also offers good control and close handling with little body roll around corners. Acceleration was good; Paul is of course not a sports car, but it will do nicely whether in city traffic or cruising on a highway.
I did find auto shifting from 1st to 2nd gear slightly choppy but owners needn’t worry – this should smoothen out once the engine figures out the driver’s driving pattern. Alternatively you can use the paddle shifts to dictate gear changes to optimise your driving experience.

Refined Interior

What also makes Paul stand out is the fact that everything in the interior has been upgraded from Pablo and especially its electronics. Its interior looks really, really nice! And the middle row is noticeably roomier than Pablo.

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Paul features, among other things:

  • a 7″ touchscreen main control panel
  • Factory-fitted bluetooth connectivity
  • Factory-fitted USB socket with iPod/iPhone/iPad connectivity

All main settings are controlled via the touch screen interface. Air con, radio/bluetooth, GPS, phone, etc. And it’s done in a refined and intuitive manner too.

I desperately tried to press as many buttons on the touchscreen interface as quickly as possible to try to make it hang, and see whether a voice would come up and lecture me about that, but there was no success there. So yes, the interface is steady and reliable – not to mention that it also looks great!

Boot Space

I didn’t take too many pictures of the boot but don’t worry, it is a class leading 537 litres. That means you can put in ALOT of stuff. The tailgate is also automatic! Press a button to open and press a button to close. This is pretty standard issue for the likes of the BMW 5 and 7 series, but for a mid-range MPV this is cool! The only bad thing about the automatic tailgate is that if you’re angry with your boss or kids you gotta slam the passenger doors instead.

Comparison with Pablo
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Honestly there is no comparison between Pablo and Paul. Paul is in every way, a total, truly All-New, upgrade to Pablo. From the engine/chassis, to the electronics, to the interior (“CITROËN -signature loft styled”, remember?), everything has been upgraded. Just to name a few things:

  • Longer wheelbase = roomier interior 
  • New engine = better performance and fuel consumption 
  • All electronic controls

If, like me, you’re also driving a 2006 Grand C4 Picasso, you’ll definitely be tempted to upgrade. As a measure of what sort of impression Paul made on the kids, they were so reluctant to return Paul they promised to be good for a week!

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Areas For Improvement
Ok, so with that said, one gets the impression that this is the perfect family car. With so many features that are in fact class-leading, it certainly might be.

But no car is absolutely absolutely perfect, and the one thing I thought could be improved upon was the Eco Drive. I understand that it comes as a standard on all models sold in Asiapac. So if you’ve never driven a vehicle with Eco Drive before, you have to get used to the engine switching off when the car halts. But that aside, I found that the Eco Drive implementation on Paul was not as refined as it could be. Once, while I was travelling very (very) slowly up a twisty carpark ramp, Eco Drive kicked in and switched off the engine. Luckily nothing happened. I wasn’t able to find out how to turn Eco Drive off but the representatives at CITROËN have told me that it is possible to turn this setting off as part of the car settings.

Closing Note

Here are more gratuitous pics of Paul.

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Basically, if you’re looking to buy a mid-range MPV, you should really consider this vehicle. You might find, as I did, that the 2014 CITROËN Grand C4 Picasso blows away all its same-class competitors on all counts. Perhaps, among its competition, only the Volkwagen Touran runs the CITROËN close. The Volks has more power, similar fit and finish but less space and poorer fuel economy. In particular, space-wise, the Touran is much smaller and the third row is for very occasional use, whereas the CITROËN’s third row is reasonably comfortable.

Personally, I also wouldn’t really consider the Japanese MPVs to be close competition for the CITROËN. First of all, for some reason, the Japanese manufacturers favour using big engines to deliver the same sort of ride – this is sort of okay and I don’t want to get into the naturally aspirated vs turbo engine debate but what it means, at a very practical level, is that bigger engines mean higher COE, higher road taxes and poorer fuel economy. Second of all to get to the same level of fit and finish that the CITROËN has – well you’re looking at a large-ish jump of $20-30K at least, so whether this is ok with you is your call.

For me, there is no question that among the mid-range MPV class, the 2014 CITROËN Grand C4 Picasso ticks all the right boxes.

* This post and our weekend test-drive were sponsored by Citroën for the purposes of this review.

Comments

  1. says

    Thanks for the ladies&#39; column! (Am going to take it in good faith and not suspect you of mocking us! -_-) <br /><br />Paul looks wider than Pablo too! And definitely the Touran looks super cramped in comparison – a friend just bought that. <br /><br />But looks-wise, I still think it&#39;s a B… Guess an A-look comes with an A price tag (gawks at boss&#39; Cayenne).

    • says

      Haha L! I agree about the Cayenne! I gave DD the shifty eyes about the ladies column too, though I have to admit it was quite relevant 😛 <br /><br />~V.

  2. TM says

    Since you have driven a diesel car for quite some time. What is the difference in maintenance cost comparing with petrol engine car? Which engine is better, diesel or petrol?

    • Mummybean says

      Actually, my current car has a petrol engine so I have no experience with the dispel engine, save in this test drive experience. Sorry, can’t help with your question!

  3. Stan says

    Hi, I finally settled with Citroen Grand. I went around compared many mid size MPV, here are the list:-
    1. Mazda 5
    2. Honda Stream
    3. Honda Odyssey
    4. Nissan Serena
    5. Toyota Wish
    6. Peugeot 5008
    7. Citroen Grand C4 Picasso
    8. Volvo XC60
    9. VW Touran

    I was looking for a car where 2nd row has 3 full adult seat. The Asian car like Toyota, Nissan, Kia, Hyundai, Honda comes with 2.5 seat or merely 2 seats on 2nd row. Where else European car somehow wider, mostly with 3 individual seats on 2nd row. This is worth to take for parents with kids or with young kids. (Baby seats).

    I was very particular on the 2nd row bcoz I have 2 children car seats and my requirements are, I must be a le to place 2 children car seats side by side and able to have a seat for 1 more adult sitting at the side because when going out I do bring a maid and sometimes my wife sit at the back with the children. (Very practical right?)

    Yes, a greed on author about the engine. Asian car tend to have bigger engine compare to European car and less fuel efficient and u can feel the Petro version of 1.8l, 2.0l and even 2.5l not much power when more than 5 people siting in the car as compared to Euro 1.6l Petro or the Diesel version. I supposed those own MPV don’t ferry people all the time, with bigger engine means high fuel consumption no matter what.

    C&C just informed me the new CGC4P just got their new EAT6 fully auto gearbox for the BkueHDI Dieael and I test drive and it was very impressive smooth and no jerky ride. When I test drive, there were 4 adults in the car and the car seems not struggle to move all of us. The drive was good low RPM and quiet in thr cabin though we are all heavy. Where else Toyota Wish 1.8l, Mazda 5 2.0 feel a little slow to pick up and higher RPM observed.
    I am no racer and MPV is no for car racing and too high of a CG for sharp cornering. Hope it helps those who are looking for their next MPV.

  4. Stan says

    I just received my new Citroen Grand Picasso the blueHDI with EAT6 Gearbox. It was smooth gear changing. Picasso has a lot of torque. I drove few adults in the car and the car did not struggle to pull us all and at low RPM.

    The new Aisin Full automatic gearbox EAT6, that made me decided to go for Grand Picasso. Japanese counter part, like cuting cost and give the minimum, car insulation very poor, no cruise control, no pedal shifts, narrow tire width means lesser grip, skim on air bags like Mazda 5 only give 2, no turbo engine, no built in immobiliser and tend to have higher CC engine and sluggish when carrying more people that leads to higher RPM means more noise higher fuel consumption. Japanese interior like yester years. My wife told me she rather stick to sporty looks sedan than going for MPV. Most mid size MPV interior still narrow, some 2 or 2.5 seaters on 2nd row and shorter wheelbase that make the 3rd row seats not comfortable.

    My family love the 2nd row space (my wife and children can easily walk from one side to another corner side seat and the beautiful moon roof. My son overjoyed he can see the bright crescent moon on Friday. Thanks again for your detail review that make me take note some of the features on other brand of car as well.

    The car was really built with family in mind like mood lighting in the cabin 1st, 2nd and 3rd row) when the engine is off (i can now see my child when releasing them from child seat) and after I closed the door when outside the car. There was a LED light at the bottom of the side mirror that shine down wards, in case you have drop anything on the floor at dark night (Discovered it accidentally). The side window retractable blind on 2nd row. My elder son love the airplane like tray, he can put his book on top.

    The only thing I find not used to it, was the gear stick and auto handbrake. I keep looking for my conventional gear stick on my left and pull handbrake.

    The rest are just superb and that is the only motivation for me to drive a MPV without going for full MPV like Estima. As I am a sedan guy, having to drive a MPV need some good gadgets for me to drive one. I still think a sedan is easy to maneuver. Since wife and sons love the loft like cabin, futuristic 12in Paranomic LCD and 7in Touch screen; and never before they can see the sky the scenery inside the car, that make me think that it must be the right choice. Hehhe…brought them to Botanic Garden on Sat along the way, they tell Papa the trees are very tall and nice so the blue sky.

    Wow, thanks again for your recommendation. I got mine at $119k April 2016 with a very attractive package that include 5yr warranty PLUS 5yrs servicing or 100k, car mat, umbrella, Citroen USB drive, Huper Optic solar film whole car include huge moon roof, 1yr road tax (Diesel road tax is more expensive), Insurance $300 rebate for the next 3yrs and BlackVue DR650GW front and back 32GB micro SD. I practically don’t need to do anything to the car. It has all, I mean all the things required, everything is taken care by C&C.

    Actually I was doubt to whether getting this Picasso, but my family love it after test drive Mazda 5 (the interior is still on previous setup, 3rd row very narrow due to wheel arc), Toyota Wish (plain simple) $106k no moon roof, no cruise control, no side blind, no boot cover, only give solar film, no pedal shift, only have 2.5 seat on 2nd row, don’t like the central gear control, VW Touran has good space but rather plain Germanic interior and price $117k.

    Anyway, as long as they happy I am a happy father. Pampering them means pampering me, they enjoy the car, so I can drive my car peacefully . Do I still need to worry so much of what other people say? Most complaint I realised was the old EGS semi-auto gearbox jerky and noisy. What’s more I was given 5yr servicing…… Ok on…just take it. Hahhaahha….lol.

    I never get so happy indulging in so much stuffs included in the package.

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