C4 Picasso delivers more than artistic flair
Citroen’s people carrier excels when it comes to the interior: high-tech and slick
The C4 Picasso has the mark of quality – from the seating to the dash and extending to the boot. The seating position is high while the windscreen provides a broad sweep of glass
Model: Picasso C4
Date Reviewed: December 3, 2013
All hail the winner of the Irish car of the year. This futuristic-styled people carrier is apparently the best new car on sale in Ireland this year, if you are to judge by the secret ballot of a group of Irish motoring writers.
As the voting is private and the jury doesn’t have to explain its reasoning behind the decision, you will have to join me in guessing the reasons behind the decision. In the accompanying panel my colleague Ian Beatty, who does participate, outlines his votes, but as he didn’t reward the C4 Picasso with his top spot we’re still none the wiser.
Perhaps it was the looks. There’s no doubting that Citroen as a car firm is a star performer when it comes to styling. The French brand has travelled a bumpy road over the last five years but the one area where it still sets the benchmark is design. Speaking to several young designers with rival firms – both premium and mainstream – they all name Citroen (and BMW during the Bangle regime) as being at the cutting edge of car design. Anyone who remembers the 1990s Saxo and its dreary siblings can only marvel at how far the brand has come.
The new C4 Picasso’s short stubby nose is set off with neat light line that looks remarkably like a set of eyebrows above the main light clusters. The bulbous shape for the rest of the car is pretty standard fare in this segment, but it’s smartly presented overall.
Given that the interior is the raison d’etre for cars like this, this is where the C4 Picasso really excels. Inside the plastics are better than we’ve come across in a mainstream people carrier for some time. The dash, for example, has touches that are similar to what features in the new BMW electric i3. In keeping on the electric theme, the C4 certainly aspires to be in tune with the touchscreen generation. The problem, of course, is that France – despite its best efforts – is not exactly regarded as the European epicentre for new tech.
The end result is a bit cluttered in parts while the switchgear is hard to find intuitively without staring at the dash. The menus are overcomplicated and too much of the regular functionality – including control of the eco stop-start system is housed in the system. A little bit of common sense would not have gone amiss in formulating what goes into the touchscreen and what remains as a button on the dash.
Impressive and modern
The seating position throughout is quite high and direct, while the sweeping, and enormous, windscreen stretching over the heads of the front seat occupants set it off as an impressive modern-day charabanc.
From the seating to the dash and even the boot, there’s a quality air that hasn’t wafted around a new Citroen model for several years. Styling has always been razor sharp, but the end result has never quite excelled, particularly on the road. This model does deliver.