WHEN it comes to taking giant strides into the unknown Citroen has always been at the forefront.
Over the years the French car maker has come up with some truly innovative and sometimes outrageous designs.
The C4 Picasso certainly falls into the first category thanks to its fabulous styling, spacious and futuristic interior and all-round performance and handling capabilities.
It's difficult to create a people carrier that is practical without looking like a giant box on wheels, but Citroen has excelled with the newly revamped C4 Picasso by delivering eye-catching good looks, excellent fuel economy, low carbon emissions, a competitive price-tag and all the on-boards technology you could wish for.
The five-door model looks the business from any angle thanks to 17-inch alloys, LED daytime running lights, tinted rear windows, 3D effect rear lights, plenty of chrome trim and a massive panoramic windscreen with electric sliding blind that allows light to flood the cabin.
The version I drove included some optional extras such as metallic paint, xenon headlights and some extra interior kit such as a reversing camera and driver assist pack and these bumped up the asking price from £22,750 to £25,470.
Even without the extras, the inside of the C4 Picasso is feature-rich with plenty of techno treats to be discovered, including a infotainment touchscreen, sat nav, a six speaker sound system with DAB digital radio, dual zone air conditioning, a multi-function premium leather steering wheel, Bluetooth and all the smartphone connectivity functions we have come to expect in cars these days.
Practicality is key when producing an MPV and the latest C4 Picasso has it just right with three full-size rear seats with individual controls to slide, tilt and recline. The legroom in the back is plentiful and the high roofline means there is ample headroom for all occupants - even those of the taller variety.
And storage is well catered for too thanks to a boot with a 630-litre capacity that can be increased to 1,851-litres with the rear seats dropped flat.
Elsewhere there is a ventilated and illuminated glovebox, a central storage cubby with lighting, front door pockets, front seat back pockets, storage drawers under the driver and front passenger seats, rear underfloor storage and a fixed centre storage box with sliding lid.
This car was in mid-range Feel trim and featured a 1.5-litre 118bhp diesel engine mated to a six-speed manual gearbox.
It can reach from 0-62mph in 11.3 seconds and tops out at 117mph. According to official figures it can deliver 74.3mpg on a combined run with carbon emissions of 100g/km.
One of the first factors of note when you get behind the wheel is just how bright and spacious the interior of the car is with quite a futuristic layout. All controls are easily accessible but there is a clutter-free layout with a soft-touch dashboard.
In busy, congested traffic the high-seated driving position, along with the larger-than-life windows create excellent all-round visibility and the parking sensors help make light work when squeezing into narrow gaps.
The C4 Picasso is nice and agile with power assisted steering to help manoeuvrability.
Out on the faster roads and motorways, acceleration through the gears is smooth and responsive with ample power on tap. You can expect a little body roll if bends are taken too briskly and there is a little engine and road surface noise, but it is generally well-insulated against outside noise.
Comfort levels are high for all occupants and with a raft of first class safety features, the C4 Picasso is certainly the complete package for anyone looking for a stylish people carrier that is generously equipped, practical and won't break the bank.