By Patrick James on 2019-11-17 - The author has been a motoring writer for more than 16 years. Formerly motoring editor at the Coventry Telegraph, he now produces motoring copy, on new car launches and road tests on a freelance basis.
Flair BlueHDi 2.0
AN eight seat people carrier will naturally appeal to a limited audience.
People carrier is the clue really, a large family with upwards of three children and family pets, a taxi perhaps specialising in airport runs, or a shuttle bus, used by hotels or conferences or someone with a disability needing wheelchair space.
Whichever it is, it needs to be spacious, comfortable and practical and cheap(ish) to run.
The Space Tourer has offered that combination and has now added even more with the newest engine/gearbox combination of two-litre diesel engine with eight-speed automatic gearbox.
This powertrain on the model driven here combines the 177bhp stop/start diesel engine with the seamlessly smooth eight-speed gearbox.
Priced at £1,700 above the 1.5-litre manual manual in equivalent trim, this new combination offers real value and flexibility and comfort, especially for this who spend a fair amount of time behind the wheel.
It also offers an improvement in braked trailer weight, capable of towing up to 2.3 tonnes.
The smooth revving engine packs quite a punch, even with six aboard, while the ride, which can crash around a bit when empty, evens out with more weight in the vehicle. The vehicle can reach 60mph in just under nine seconds, while delivery economy at around the 40mpg mark.
It handles surprisingly well, the wheel in each corner set up means it feels well planted when cornering and feels very car-like despite its van-like capacity. It is also very well built with soft touch finish and robust switchgear, while all eight seats are comfortable and this case leather trimmed.
This particular version offers most of those creature comforts which benefit both driver and passengers including privacy glass and powered sliding doors.
All versions are well equipped with even the entry-level model getting cruise control, electric windows, air conditioning and rear parking sensors, while this version adds Park Assist and Citroen's 180-degree camera system, driver and front passenger ‘captain's chairs' with electric adjustment, heating and massage function, plus panoramic glass sunroof, head-up display and blind spot monitoring.
The dash is dominated by multi-function screen which controls smart phone connectivity, navigation and infotainment.
You would perhaps not expect a vehicle of this nature to win any beauty competitions and while it may not be a showstopper, it does have a certain Gallic charm, typical of the Citroen brand with its raked windscreen, slim grille incorporating the signature Citroen chevrons, black air intakes and wraparound headlights with smart ‘Curve' alloy wheels.
Access to the rear seats is easy peasy via remote-opening sliding electric doors, but clambering in to the front, proved less than dignified affair at times for my shorter other half.
However, the whole interior has a spacious feel thanks to large glass areas, while the large rear tailgate gives easy access to larger items, wheelchairs or prams perhaps.
It is a large boot area with the rearmost three folded, otherwise stowage space is limited with all three row in situ. But both the rear and middle row slide forward, tumble and fold opening up a cavern of space.
There are plenty of other storage areas in the doors, cupholders and a refrigerated glovebox.
Family-friendly features also include rail mounted rear seats, child observation mirror and six sets of Isofix mounting points with top tethers. In terms of size, both trims Feel and Flair trim driven here are available in Medium and XL, with this model offering an additional 35cm of overall length. As usual it is packed with safety kit.
Citroen SpaceTourer Flair BlueHDi 2.0
Mechanical: 177bhp, 1,997cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 8-speed manual gearbox
Max Speed: 115mph
0-62mph: 8.5 seconds
Combined MPG: 40.6
Insurance Group: 22
C02 emissions: 149g/km
Bik rating: 32%
Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles
WITH all the versatility and practicality of a minibus but the light handling...
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