Citroen C4 Picasso Review

David Ross

Written by

David Ross

Citroen C4 Picasso
Citroen C4 Picasso

1/7

1 / 7

00/10
heycar rating
"Practical and versatile family MPV"
  • Launched: 2013
  • MPV
  • Petrol, Diesel

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Quick overview

Pros

  • Versatile and well thought out interior
  • Comfortable ride
  • Neat handling for an MPV

Cons

  • Clunky manual gear change
  • Fiddly infotainment system
  • Panoramic windscreen is more a gimmick

Overall verdict

On the inside

Driving

Cost to run

Prices and Specs

Overall verdict on the Citroen C4 Picasso

"When it comes to family-focussed people carriers Citroen has long led the way. The C4 Picasso helped Citroen rid itself of the budget reputation it once had with big leaps forward in quality and design. Yet it has kept the elements of practicality, space and user-friendliness that have attracted so many buyers before. It's a real winner as a family MPV."

Citroen C4 Picasso front

Citroen has always loved people carriers. The French firm can't seem to stop making them - in fact it's probably what it has become best known for in recent years with its range of Picasso models. The Xsara Picasso started it all in 2000 and soldiered on for what seemed forever (until 2010 amazingly).


The Xsara Picasso represented affordable and practical family transport. There were few frills but there was also rarely a time when you couldn't get a discount on one. It became the DFS of cars. But much has changed since then as Citroen attempts to shake of its 'value' tag and aim for an association with style and innovation. Which is where the C4 Picasso came in.


Citroen certainly got the styling right. Especially from the front with its smooth front end and slim LED daytime running lights which give it a cutting edge appearance. It's very different from other MPV designs yet is unmistakably a Citroen with an added premium feel. 


Of course what's most important for an MPV is practicality and space. Citroen has often led the way in these departments and the C4 Picasso continues that. The first thing you notice is how light it is inside, helped by more than five square metres of glass including a large glass roof and a panoramic windscreen. We're not huge fans of the latter, if it's sunny then you just get dazzled, but you can at least slide the sunblinds forward.

What other cars are similar to the Citroen C4 Picasso?

While the market may have moved away from MPVs to crossovers and SUVs, the humble people carrier still offers more space and makes a better family car for many buyers. The high quality Volkswagen Touran may not be as stylish as the Citroen, but it's just as practical - a car you buy with your head rather than your heart. Rivals also include the Ford C-MAX and the ultra reliable, if dull, Toyota Verso. There's also the Vauxhall Zafira and, if you're after something that's similarly design led, look at the good value Fiat 500L.

Comfort and design: Citroen C4 Picasso interior

"The C4 Picasso is great in the back with plenty of legroom - more than the previous model - and good head room too. It feels more spacious that something like a Ford C-MAX and the seats can be slid forward or back."

Citroen C4 Picasso interior

Those seats also tilt which is a nice touch. All four doors open wide which makes getting in and out - or fitting child seats - much easier than in a conventional hatchback.


The dash top cubby compartments may have gone but there's still plenty of useful storage areas including a huge compartment between the front seats, clever boxes under the floor in the back and trays under the front seats. But the best is the area in the centre dashboard which is like a little media centre with a USB port, an aux-in and a plug socket. It's an ideal place for keeping phones and the like safe.

Quality and finish

Quality has markedly improved over the old model. The materials used feel much better and the whole fit and finish is a big step up, with a more quality feel to switches and controls. The design is much improved and Citroen has dropped the 'fixed-hub' steering wheel, which we were never convinced by, for a conventional and much nicer to use one.

Citroen is very keen to big up new technology in the C4 Picasso - mainly the new media interface. This includes not one but two colour screens. There's a seven inch touchscreen lower down, in a nice gloss black surround, that controls all the main functions like air con, stereo and the sat nav (if fitted). Perched above in the dash is a huge 12-inch widescreen that displays the speedo and rev counter (there are no conventional dials) and can be configured to show other information such as trip data or navigation.


It's a system that's certainly easy to get to grips with thanks to clear icons either side of the screen, but it can be a little fiddly to use. For instance if you just want to turn the air con up or down you have to go to the relevant screen rather than just pressing a button or turning a dial. If you're a busy mum rushing about all day you might find it frustrating.

Space and practicality: Citroen C4 Picasso boot space

As you'd expect the boot is large with 537 litres of carrying space plus the new tailgate design, with the tail lights integrated, means you can fit more in. The seats fold flat too, although there's no one handle system for dropping them as in other MPVs. You have to pull two levers on the seat - there's no way of folding them from the boot.

Handling and ride quality: What is the Citroen C4 Picasso like to drive?

"The steering in the Citroen C4 Picasso feels quite artificial but it's responsive and the C4 Picasso certainly handles well, with plenty of composure in corners and surprising amounts of grip."

Citroen C4 Picasso on road

The C4 Picasso is miles ahead of the old model in this department, with impressive body control making it genuinely good to drive. The ride is mightily impressive and there's little wind or road noise on the motorway, so it's very relaxing on long journeys, helped by supportive seats. In town the clever thin windscreen pillar design makes pulling out of junctions safer and the light steering and tight turning circle make it easy to park.

What engines and gearboxes are available in the Citroen C4 Picasso?

There are two petrol engines in the range starting with the 1.6 VTi along with the 1.6 THP with 155PS. The latter is supposedly the 'sporty' choice but while it's smooth and nippy from a standstill, it lacks in-gear pull so you're better off with a diesel.


The 1.6 HDi engine is available in two versions, one with 90PS and the other with 115PS. Citroen expects nine of out every ten C4 Picasso models to be diesels and it's easy to see why. It's a great engine with plenty of torque - 270Nm in the higher powered version - yet it still refined and quiet. Economy looks good too with a claimed 70.1mpg.


The rather clunky manual gearbox is a bit of a letdown but it's at least fairly positive. Citroen is also offering ETG6 - a development of the much maligned EGC automated manual gearbox. We haven't driven it yet but hopefully it will be a big improvement.

Safety equipment: How safe is the Citroen C4 Picasso?

The C4 Picasso was awarded the maximum five star Euro NCAP safety rating when it was crash tested in 2013. Adult occupant safety was rated at 86% while child occupant safety was even higher at 88%.

MPG and fuel costs: What does a Citroen C4 Picasso cost to run?

"Unsurprisingly, the diesels prove the cheapest models to run in the C4 Picasso line-up, but if you're not covering many miles each year, the petrol models are still frugal enough to make sense."

Citroen C4 Picasso rear

Go for the 1.2 Puretech with the EAT6 automatic gearbox and you should see 43mpg in real world driving which is far more economical than the 28mpg you'll see with the 1.6 THP EAT6. If it's outright economy you want, the 1.6-litre diesel is the best choice. There are various versions but most will see more than 50mpg.

How much should you be paying for a Citroen C4 Picasso?

"The C4 Picasso is good value as a used family car, so long as you find one that's been looked after and properly maintained."

Citroen C4 Picasso light

Used prices start at around £5000, although you may find the odd high mileage model for less. As ever, avoid anything that's been written off as a Cat C or similar. Despite all the assurances of the seller, you don't know the quality of the repairs and it will be more expensive to insure. A budget of £14,000 to £15,000 will get you one of the last models - in 2018 the name was changed to the C4 SpaceTourer.

Citroen C4 Picasso cars for sale on heycar

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