Citroen's grand

people carrier

Citroen Grand C4 Picasso, front
Citroen Grand C4 Picasso, front, action
Citroen Grand C4 Picasso, side
Citroen Grand C4 Picasso, rear, action
Citroen Grand C4 Picasso, dashboard
Citroen Grand C4 Picasso, boot

THE late penchant for large vehicles with smaller engines works well with petrol engines but not so well with diesels, if you value a little performance.

Many MPVs are now available with 1.6-litre or smaller diesels to gain maximum economy and minimum emissions but, if you want a little more grunt with your family-sized load lugger, go for the next engine size up.

This was ably demonstrated for me recently when I drove the Citroen C4 Grand Picasso.

It's available with the PSA group's very good 1.6-litre diesel with about 115bhp but, while economy and emissions are excellent, there is not much in the way of urge under the right foot.

However, the Blue HDi I drove was the 2.0-litre variety and offers a much better response to the accelerator both off the line and in the gears when on the move, while still managing a government figure of 68mpg and low carbon dioxide emissions of just 107grammes per kilometre.

In real driving it's quite possible to get 50-55mpg, which has to be fantastic for a big seven seater.

This is helped in the latest model by the company's strenuous weight reduction, which makes it 110kg lighter than the one that went before.

Altogether, this gives better than average performance - enough for plenty of fun in something that is also stable and grippy.

Obviously, most owners are not going to chuck their pride and joy around with the family aboard but, suffice to say, when they are alone it's good enough to surprise.

Thanks to a longer wheelbase, interior space is obviously bigger than before and all five rear seats fold flat into the floor if needed, to make a vast carrying space.

With them all in place there is only enough room for a couple of soft bags or a few bags of shopping but the middle row, in the Citroen tradition, are adjustable for smaller or longer legroom.

Throughout the interior are plentiful cubbies and storage areas that are sensibly-sized to hold things families like to take with them on the move.

And in the front, all models have dual display screens - one for all the instruments at the top and a second touch screen lower down the centre console for other controls like climate and DAB stereo.

Other equipment in the Exclusive I drove includes alloys, reversing sensors and a reversing camera, sat nav, keyless entry and starting, Bluetooth, column stereo controls and stability control.

FAST FACTS

Price:£25,700

Mechanical:147bhp, 1,997cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed:130mph

0-62mph:9.8 seconds

Combined MPG:68

Insurance Group:24

C02 emissions: 107g/km

Bik rating:19%

Warranty:3yrs/60,000 miles

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