Citroen C4 Picasso

Flair PureTech 130

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

GLIDING up the motorway to one of those red-lettter moments in life, it occurred to me that my daughter wasn't the only one graduating with honours.

Citroen, like her nibs, has learned many lessons over the years - thankfully about people carriers rather than the Cold War.

It would be fair to say that initially many cars in this sector of the market were not the most stylish on the road making MPVs the ugly duckling of the motoring world.

The French auto maker has always been at pains to make style a priority and the latest C4 Picasso is undoubtedly a swan.

Recently revamped, it sports a first-class futuristic design combining stylish good looks as well as that crucial family practicality.

The purposeful exterior is impossible to ignore with 17-inch alloys one of a number of nice touches that include sleek lines, snazzy LED daytime running lights, tinted rear and side windows, glass black door handles with chrome inserts and alloy sill scuff protectors.

The wide-bodied motor offers an airy interior much appreciated by the five adults who are easily accommodated.

A huge windscreen together with the panoramic sunroof - featuring an electric sliding blind - let light flood into the easy-to-enter cabin.

This together with the automatic dual-zone air conditioning, comfortable seats and spacious surroundings make the Picasso a pleasure to spend time in providing stress-free travel to important events - such as the occasional graduation ceremony.

There are three full-size rear seats with individual controls to slide, tilt and recline and all those who journeyed with me reported head, leg and shoulder room to be plentiful.

There is also lots of storage for your bits and bobs thanks to numerous hideaways including an illuminated central storage cubby, storage drawers under the driver and front seat passenger seats, rear underfloor storage, and a fixed centre storage box with sliding lid.

The high tech cabin is festooned with the trinkets the tech savvy will marvel at. There are more screens on show than a cinema multiplex with a seven-inch touchscreen complemented by a 12-inch panoramic HD central display.

Thus the driver is a well-informed individual with a raft of stats and gauges giving a constant stream of information - including an alert that lets you know when you should take a coffee break!

All mod cons are included on the flagship Flair model so in-car entertainment includes DAB digital radio linked to six speakers with station changes managed from the steering wheel without the need to change wavelength.

There is also sat nav, USB Bluetooth with media streaming and the usual devices allowing your smartphone and the car's infotainment system to be integrated.

A powered tailgate gives access to a spacious boot with electric assistance extended to the one-touch opening front and rear windows, the premium multi-function leather steering wheel, and the three 12-volt sockets scattered around the Picasso.

There are still some optional extras such as a driver assistance package, metallic paint, park assist and xenon headlights that increase the price-tag from £24,595 to £26,865.

The 1.2-litre three-pot turbo engine underneath the bonnet is frugal with fuel, but still quick off the mark. Helped by a slick six-speed manual gearbox it powers the Picasso from 0-62mph in a shade over ten seconds on its way to a top speed of 125mph. There are no gaps in performance and overtaking is accomplished with ease.

Ride and handling are good with an efficient suspension coping easily with the many humps and hollows populating roads these days. The steering is accurate, if a touch lifeless, and there is plenty of grip on offer giving confidence in corners.

FAST FACTS

Citroen C4 Picasso Flair PureTech 130

Price:£24,595

Mechanical:131bhp, 1,199cc, 3cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed:125mph

0-62mph:10.1 seconds

Combined MPG:56.5

Insurance Group:18

C02 emissions:116g/km

Bik rating:22%

Warranty:3yrs/60,000 miles

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