Picasso paints

family picture

Citroen C4 Picasso, front action
Citroen C4 Picasso, rear static
Citroen C4 Picasso, dashboard
Citroen C4 Picasso, boot
Citroen C4 Picasso, front
Citroen C4 Picasso, front
Citroen C4 Picasso, rear
Citroen C4 Picasso, front

A friend of mine has just said goodbye to his ancient Mark 1 Citroen Picasso, which had 178,000 miles on the clock.

Now there was a time when Citroens didn't have a great reputation for reliability but this one just went on and on, with no major problems in the whole time he had it, and he was still getting 40 miles per gallon from the 1.6 petrol engine.

The latest Picasso is quite a different beast, with much more in the way of equipment as standard.

But its ethos is the same - a vehicle with excellent family space, loads of storage, a huge boot and top comfort.

And that sleek body is far better looking than the old ones could ever manage.

I recently drove the Puretech 1.2 turbocharged petrol - now the only non-diesel offering in the range.

And it drives so well, and costs so little to run, that for private buyers, certainly, and even for some business users, it could be a better bet than the diesels.

With the extra cost of diesel fuel and the premium for buying a diesel car in the first place, petrol is often a better bet for many people now.

The VW Golf diesel, for example, takes about ten years to break even when compared to the same model with petrol power. How many people keep a car for that long apart from me?

The Picasso 1.6 diesel takes five years or 50,000 miles to break even, so would you be better off with petrol?

Whichever you buy, you'll have a car that drives beautifully.

The little 1.2-litre three cylinder turbo produces an excellent 130bhp and there are no gaps in the performance whatsoever.

It's a lovely smooth engine, sounding sweet all the way through the rev range and pulling well from low speed all the way to the red line.

I can see a lot of people going for it because it's willing and peppy in any situation and because of the good economy and low emissions.

It's not up to the diesels yet but then it costs a good deal less to buy as I have already said.

Of course, the powers that be are now trying to steer buyers away from diesel because of the Nitrogen Oxide emissions and their effect on pollution and health, after having encouraged drivers to buy them for such a long time.

Real economy in my hands was 38mpg but I could have raised that quite easily with more careful driving during the test.

The clutch is very light, the six-speed gearbox has a lovely sweet change and the brakes are superb.

The ride is excellent even over some very poor country and town road surfaces and the road holding and handling are brilliant.

I would like a little more feel from the steering but grip is strong, it has good safe balance through the corners and there's not much roll.

Overall it is very impressive family transport and I thoroughly enjoyed driving it.

Inside, there is plenty of room for five and a massive boot and the three individual rear seats fold and tumble to make even more luggage space.

The Touch Edition I drove comes with parking sensors, alarm, height adjust driver's seat, height and reach adjust column, aircon, cruise, remote stereo controls and traction control.


Price: £20,770

Mechanical: 130bhp, 1,199cc, 3cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 125mph

0-62mph: 10 seconds.

Combined MPG: 56

Insurance Group: 18

C02 emissions: 115g/km

Bik rating: 20%

Warranty: 3yrs/ 60,000 miles


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