THERE'S something rather exciting about exploring Citroen's Grand C4 Picasso with its space-age design, clever storage options and impressive array of on-board technology.
The seven-seater, which is a beefed up version of the standard C4 Picasso, is perfect proof that multi-purpose vehicles can be both practical and stylish at the same time.
It's difficult to imagine a vehicle that is capable of accommodating seven people, along with ample storage options, yet can also boast the ride and handling associated with a normal family car, but the Grand C4 Picasso does exactly that.
It looks smart from every angle thanks to its sporty profile, 17-inch alloys, tinted windows, LED daytime running lights, 3D LED rear lights, front fog lights and panoramic sunroof that allows light to flood into the cabin.
Factor in the massive windscreen with sliding sun visors and there is more light within this car than an average greenhouse and that means none of the passengers - even those in the rear seats - will ever feel claustrophobic.
And when it comes to practicality, Citroen has struck gold with the middle seats sliding back and forth which means the leg room in the back can be adjusted when the seats are being used.
There is underfloor storage, lots of handy cubby holes, massaging seats and even a fold-out leg rest for the front seat passenger on the range-topping Flair model.
Techno treats included a seven-inch touchscreen that controls most of the car's features from the sat nav and audio to climate control plus full connectivity to smart phones.
Features include a DAB digital radio, six speaker sound system and a 12-inch panoramic HD central display that offers data including speed, fuel levels, trip readings, audio and sat nav directions.
Powered by a 2.0-litre 148bhp diesel engine mated to a six-speed automatic gearbox, the car could sprint from 0-62mph in 10.1 seconds, topped out at 129mph.
According to official figures, it could deliver combined fuel economy of 64.2mpg with carbon emissions of 115g/km.
In town centres, the Grand C4 Picasso was nice and agile and the driver benefits from excellent all-round visibility. There is even an extra rear-view mirror to keep an eye on goings-on in the back of the car.
Out on open roads the car accelerated smoothly through the gears and there a constant supply of power on tap at all times.
The road-holding was assured and steering beautifully precise. You can expect to feel a little body roll if pushed hard into corners, but that is not unusual for a car of the Citroen's shape and size.
The hands-free tailgate is another bonus especially if approaching the car laden down with shopping bags. And the boot capacity ranges from 165 litres when all seven seats are in use to a whopping 2,181 litres with the seats in rows two and three dropped flat.
My only gripes are the rather fiddly touchscreen that takes some getting used to and seems to over-complicate matters like increasing the temperature or changing the air con flow levels. I also found it strange having to glance to the centre of the dashboard to see vital information such as my current speed when normally this would be displayed in the driver's eye-line.