The Grand C4 Picasso has long been the benchmark against which other full-size people carriers must be measured. Twice a Fleet News Awards winner in the past three years, the car’s spaciousness, innovative seating system and comfort have singled it out for recognition in a fiercely competitive market.
A mid-life facelift for both seven- and five-seat models has subtly, yet noticeably, improved its looks. Never the most attractive of MPVs, the GC4 and C4 Picassos now have fresher lines, updated lighting and bold chevrons for a more contemporary appearance.
Its main job – indeed its raison d’etre – is to accommodate people and their luggage. Here it is faultless: seven comfortable seats with sufficient legroom even for adults in the rearmost, with flexible seating which enables boot space to be increased to 2,181 litres on the Grand C4 thanks to tilt-and-slide seats. Even with all seven seats in use, you get a serviceable 165 litres.
Functional as a mobile office or for family catering needs, the front passenger seats can be folded into a table – or completely flattened for long loads.
Meanwhile, the C4 Picasso maxes out at an equally impressive 1,851 litres, or 793 litres with seats up.
The mid-trim Feel specification includes massage function on both front seats for those requiring the ultimate in relaxation (as long as it’s not a distraction), while the middle seats are all full size and separate with adjustable recline.
Equipment levels are high, with 17-inch alloys, leather steering wheel, auto lights/wipers, cornering lights and 12-inch display all standard.
Our test GC4 was the 1.6-litre Blue HDi 120 diesel (£24,450), which claims up to 70.6mpg combined and CO2 emissions of 106g/km. We averaged 58mpg over the week.
For the C4 Picasso, we opted for the 1.2-litre Puretech 130 petrol (£25,245 in range-topping Flair trim). With six-speed auto transmission, it returns up to 55.4mpg with emissions of 111g/km. We achieved 39.1mpg.
Both cars offered an excellent driving experience, with precise handling and minimal body roll, belying their size. The diesel was perky and refined, while the petrol had smooth power delivered with a slick auto gearbox selected via an American-style gearshift on the steering block.
One negative was the push button ignition. Unlike some cars, a brief push is not sufficient to either start up or stop the ignition. The button has to be pushed and held for several seconds.
On occasion with the quieter petrol version, we opened the door to exit and realised the engine was still running.
We were also surprised by a patchy signal from the digital radio in areas where the strength is usually good.
Niggles aside, both seven- and five-seat Picasso cars are excellent options for those requiring greater space without sacrificing driving enjoyment, wrapped up in a cost-efficient package.