Citroen Grand C4

Picasso BlueHDi 120

Auto Exclusive+

Citroen Grand C4 Picasso, front action
Citroen Grand C4 Picasso, side static
Citroen Grand C4 Picasso, side static (2)
Citroen Grand C4 Picasso, dashboard
Citroen Grand C4 Picasso, boot (2)
Citroen Grand C4 Picasso, boot

TOO many road tests start and end from the driver's seat. It's time to move back a row, or two, and start again.

For the Citroen C4 Picasso is really not all about the driver, or the driving experience. It's about the car's ability to carry the family in safety and comfort.

And in the case of this car, adding Grand to its name makes that even more evident with a stretch of around eight inches and a third row of seats.

They add £1,700 to the price but I don't think an owner will feel shortchanged after a proper peer into the rear doors - or a look at the boot after it has electrically purred its way open.

For instance, outer passengers in the second row have drop down trays and little personal reading lights, mesh sunblinds that unfurl from the door to cover their side windows and ventilation controls that adjust for direction and fan speed.

Move back a row and there are little reading spotlights in the roof, cupholders in the side trim, although the air vents promised in the brochure had gone walkabout. Odd that, but you hope the smaller people best suited to row three would not mind.

Getting into row three could not be easier for the smaller and nimbler among us (not recommended for gran's trip to the seaside). The outer seats in the second row fold and push forward easily, leaving enough space for elegant entry if you're below about the age of 10 and eight stone.

Everyone in rows two and three will be able to watch the planes coming into land through a huge tinted glass; a sunblind folds out electrically when you seek some shade.

Up front, driver and passenger enjoy the most extraordinary view in modern day people carriers, thanks to a simply vast windscreen that curls into the roof above your head(s) and lets you admire the mountains tops as you head for the holiday chalet.

Even with the bodywork stretch there's going to be a compromise between passengers and luggage, with people winning handsomely if every seat is occupied.

If there's the chance to fold down one or both rearmost seats (easily and flat into the boot floor) you can turn your C4 Grand Picasso into an upmarket van, such is the expanse of load area exposed.

The C4 Grand Picasso range starts at £20,195 for a version with a 1.2-litre petrol engine and manual gears and the basics (manual air con, cruise control) and tops out with Exclusive+ trim, which brings a properly luxurious touch.

On the long list of standard kit are the already mentioned sunroof, to which are added satellite navigation, dark tinted side and rear windows and... front seats with a gentle massage available at the push of a button - but no seat heating, which must be expensively ordered along with leather upholstery.

But back to the front, where the diesel engine in the test car kept its voice down and was nicely matched to the six-speed automatic gearbox, a combination that saw 52mpg on the extremely clear dashboard readout.

FAST FACTS

Citroen Grand C4 Picasso BlueHDi 120 Auto Exclusive+

Price: £27,960

Mechanical: 118bhp, 1,560cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 6-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 117 mph

0-62mph: 11.5 secs

Combined MPG: 70.6

Insurance Group: 20

C02 emissions: 105 g/km

Bik rating: 18%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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