A LITTLE while ago, I spent a week in Citroen’s new C4 Picasso. I was quite impressed. I liked its bold appearance, its clever interior and its multitude of storage options.
And now they’ve launched a bigger one. It’s called the C4 Grand Picasso and, at first, it’s tricky to tell it apart from the smaller C4 Picasso that it has followed.
Dig a bit deeper, however, and you can spot the changes.
It is bigger, for a start, not by a huge amount as the futuristic body shell hides its extra bulk well.
You’ll notice a stylish silver strip that runs over the roof and wraps around the rear quarter. The windows are bigger, too, but you’d be forgiven for not spotting the difference.
The versatile platform on which the Picassos have been built has allowed designers to extend the wheelbase, which gives the Grand version the capacity to swallow up an extra pair of seats.
One of the big plus points of the smaller Picasso, as with its predecessors, has been the individual rear seats, which are each fitted with Isofix anchor points for separate child seats.
But, in the Grand Picasso, hidden under the floor of what is an extremely generous boot, you’ll find two more seats.
These are smaller but not uncomfortably so and are easily locked in position leaving a small foot well just in front and enough legroom for small passengers to slot in to them.
What’s more, they can even have their own light, 12v socket and heating controls - on the roof above them - and, of course, they have three-point seatbelts.
Inevitably, these seats compromise boot space but Citroen has done a fine job of retaining as much luggage room as possible and it should still be possible to squeeze a buggy or some chunky bags in behind the rear row.
The middle seats are even better catered for. The outside seats each have fold-down tables in front of them with lights and heating controls are mounted to one side.
The floor in the middle is entirely flat, which makes it easier for parents to shuffle in and out to reach children. This is another of the indicators you’ll quickly pick up on pointing out how obvious this car’s target market is.
Picassos have always been aimed at families and the design features that are neatly slotted in to the latest model are there to make life as easy as possible when transporting toddlers.
For example, there’s slide-up sun-blinds embedded in the doors. Power sockets for keeping Nintendos topped up appear everywhere and there’s even a second rear-view mirror to enable Mum and Dad to keep an eye on their passengers, while the main one stays fixed on the road.
It’s available with a full-length glass roof which makes the middle and rear feel very light and airy and the front end, as with the smaller version, benefits from a huge windscreen and great visibility from its large windows.
Dad will love its dashboard, too. It’s a centrally-mounted tech-fest displaying all manner of selectable information on a 12in panoramic screen, backed up by a smaller screen in the lower dash which houses the controls.
It’s a tad fiddly, as it happens. I prefer buttons on the dash rather than in menus and sub menus, but it’s easy to get used to.
The Grand Picasso will hardly win awards for its handling prowess, but that’s not what its target market will be interested in.
It rides well, steers responsively and there’s plenty of punch from the 150bhp diesel engine in my test model - which, incidentally, returns a tax-busting emmissions figure of 98g/km.
So it’s clever, cheap to run and takes some of the headaches out of family travel.
What’s not to like about that?.