APPEARNACES can be deceiving and if you want proof then check out Citroen's new SpaceTourer which at first glance looks every bit a workman's van.
On closer inspection though, the Space Tourer is a very practical people carrier designed to tackle the rigours of family and business life head-on.
The SpaceTourer is designed on the same platform Citroen uses for the C4 Picasso and Grand C4 Picasso, which means plenty of refinement and agility when it comes to handling as well as all the flexibility needed from this type of vehicle.
It looks nice and robust without appearing too aggressive thanks to a short horizontally-styled bonnet, high-set headlights, protective bumper, black air intake grilles, vertical LED daytime running lights, a wide tailgate for easy access to the back and a choice of eight body colours.
The Business edition is available with five to nine seats and on this occasion was kitted out for maximum capacity with three rows of three seats.
This configuration and the simplicity in which it can be adjusted, combined with easy access via sliding side doors and good leg room for all occupants, means the SpaceTourer Business would make an ideal taxi, or hotel/airport shuttle.
It measures 4.6 metres in length, but just 1.90 metres high so it can gain entry into standard car parks at shopping centres, airports and the likes where height restrictions are often in place.
The interior is bright and spacious with lots of on-board technology to be explored, including a seven-inch touchscreen with DAB radio, Bluetooth connectivity, Mirror Link and Car Play, rear parking sensors, air conditioning, cruise control with variable speed limiter, and plenty more besides.
This model was priced at £31,130, but a few optional extras such as xenon headlights, a rear parking aid, 17-inch alloys and metallic paint increased the cost to £33,300.
The vehicle was powered by a 2.0-litre 148bhp diesel engine mated to a six-speed manual gearbox and has combined fuel economy of 53.3mpg with carbon emissions of 139g/km. The BIK rating is set at 27 per cent.
With practicality in mind there are plenty of storage options on offer such as a double glovebox, deep door pockets capable of holding 1.5-litre bottles, cup holders and aircraft-style trays in the back.
Comfort levels are high for all occupants and the second row of seats can easily be folded and tilted forward to allow access to the third row.
So the SpaceTourer looks the part, is very versatile and features plenty of kit, but how does it handle when put to the test?
The answer is surprisingly well. I expected it to drive a little bit like a van and be quite cumbersome. It was the exact opposite.
It proved agile and very easy to manoeuvre when tackling twisting and narrow country lanes and there was a constant supply of power to accelerate away when the road opened up.
The steering is light yet assured and the road holding super grippy. The SpaceTourer also features a 12.4 metre turning circle which means wrong turnings and three-point turns pose no problems.
There is a little engine and wind noise which is to be expected from this type of high-sided vehicle, but even that is quite suppressed.
The vehicle also featured a comprehensive list of safety systems, including anti-lock brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution, electronic stability control, hill start assist, numerous airbags and quality seatbelts for all on board.
There is also a driver attention alert system and a coffee break alert to make sure regular breaks are taken on longer journeys.
All in all, the Citroen SpaceTourer is a fabulously practical vehicle that also offers high levels of comfort and fun-packed driving dynamics along the way.