The Citroen Grand C4 Picasso was awarded the Fleet News title of people carrier of the year at the 2014 ceremony, seeing off the likes of former winners Ford S-Max, Seat Alhambra and Vauxhall Zafira Tourer.
So it has plenty to live up to now we have taken one on long-term test for the next six months.
This family car will be chosen as a perk car not job need by employees, so the criteria by which it will be measured are slightly more weighted towards the requirements of the driver, but without neglecting the necessity to be a cost-efficient proposition for the company.
First some figures: the 1.6-litre diesel engine has official fuel consumption of 70.6mpg and CO2 emissions of 105g/km putting it in the 17% BIK band for 2014/15 (rising to 19% in 2015/16, but dropping to 18% in 2016/17 when the 3% diesel supplement is dropped).
It has a six-speed manual gearbox which enables cruising at motorway speeds at a refined 1,900rpm.
Citroen opted to give us the range-topping Exclusive+ trim. Notable standard equipment includes a seven-inch touch screen interface which controls all vehicle functions, linked to a 12-inch panoramic HD colour central display which can replicate the sat-nav map as well as information from the trip computer, multi-media or, slightly bizarrely, personal photos.
Safety equipment – the Picasso is five-star EuroNCAP rated – includes ESC with traction control, auto activation of hazard warning lights under harsh braking, blind spot monitoring and active seat belt safety system.
The Exclusive+ is priced £25,910, although with the addition of xenon headlights, spare saver wheel, park assist pack (which includes a birds’ eye 360-degree view of the car when reverse parking) and a couple of other options, our test car prices comes in at £28,005.
That’s pretty much on a par with its main rivals, although its running cost (before options) of 39.17p per mile puts it almost 3p per mile below a comparatively-equipped S-Max (saving £2,264 over four years/80,000 miles), and almost 5p per mile under the Zafira Tourer (saving £3,864). The savings are across the board: fuel, depreciation and SMR.
First impressions are favourable. The car is comfortable to drive and easy to handle despite its obvious bulk. All seven seats offer plenty of space for adults although the rear two are best suited to children on longer journeys.
Over the coming months, we’ll be examining fuel efficiency, usability and functionality among other KPIs.