2013 Citroen C4 Picasso Review Front Angle Scene carwitter 700x432 - Citroen C4 Picasso Review – The modern MPV - Citroen C4 Picasso Review – The modern MPV

Car Reviews, MPV

Citroen C4 Picasso Review – The modern MPV

13 Dec , 2013  


2013 Citroen C4 Picasso Review - Front Up Close - carwitter

Citroen launched its inaugural Picasso back in 1999, aimed to compete directly with the Renault Scenic it was one of the first compact MPV’s. The latest model the C4 Picasso aims to be ‘a true expression of Citroën’s ‘Créative Technologie’’.

Our C4 Picasso was in top of the range Exclusive+ trim, with a 1.6 e-HDi 115 Airdream engine producing 113 BHP and 270 Nm of torque, it achieves 0-60 in 11.9 seconds. It’s fitted with a ‘Semi-automatic’ clutchless, manual gearbox…more on that later!

This trim level starts at £24,455 but our car was specced up with £1750 worth of Nappa leather interior, Xenon headlights at £750, Serenity pack (Lane departure warning, auto high beam headlights), and £520 on metallic paint. In all, the final cost was £27,775.

2013 Citroen C4 Picasso Review - Side Angle - carwitter

Looks wise I think this is a marmite car, you either love it…or you hate it! Personally I think it looks great, when Citroen first announced the ‘Technospace’ concept at Geneva earlier in the year I didn’t think it would enter production looking as modern and radical as the concept. Low and behold 8 months later I’m driving it!

It’s a more squared off look to the previous C4 Picasso, with a snub bulbous front end, leading to a steeply raked extended glass windscreen. The whole roofline has a floating look to it thanks to lots of glass and gloss black window trims, at the back a large clamshell boot houses some very cool 3D rear lights; a feature becoming synonymous with Citroen.

2013 Citroen C4 Picasso Review - Headlight Detail - carwitter

It’s a very modern, futuristic interpretation of the MPV as we know it. It works, and more manufacturers should be brave and push the boundaries of design. The way the chevrons lead into high set LED running lights (while the actual headlights are situated lower down in the front bumper) is unique, it gives the C4 Picasso a mean looking presence.

2013 Citroen C4 Picasso Review - Rear - carwitter

Now with only a 1.6 diesel unit the C4 will never be quick, at nearly 12 seconds to 60 it’s a tad on the slow side but it never feels sluggish, or that its struggling; which is quite impressive seeing as it only has 113 BHP.

Steering is very direct and responsive, which is impressive for the type of vehicle it is, turn in is instant and there is a slight amount of feedback through the wheel which is also nice.

When cornering there is a fair amount of body roll, which is bound to be had in a car this size. Ride over lumps and bumps is good, you can still feel the road below you; it doesn’t shimmy perfectly over imperfections. The Citroen’s springs seem to be a little soft though, this is most noticeable when changing gear…which is the only real gripe we have with the car…

2013 Citroen C4 Picasso Review - Gear Selector - carwitter

Our car was fitted with the Efficient Tronic Gearbox 6; or ETG6 for short. This gearbox is a clutchless manual, even though it only has R, N, A, M it isn’t a fully blown auto ‘box – for that you will have to wait until 2014.

To put it nicely its not very good at all, yes it works and gear changes happen but that’s about it. Changing up in Automatic mode makes the car lurch forward with every change, the nose of the car dips and lifts when each new gear engages (soft springs don’t help this motion!).

2013 Citroen C4 Picasso Review - Front Angle - carwitter

Even when we tried the gearbox in manual it would still lurch on up changes – and even down changes, the only way we could get it to change smoothly was to fully lift off the accelerator, change up, and then continue accelerating. So if you are going to buy a C4 Picasso forgot the ETG6, go with a manual.

Two great bits of kit that really impressed us on the C4 was the radar guided cruise control and the lane departure warning. If you set the cruise control at a certain speed it will keep a 2 second gap between you and the car in front, when a car inevitably pulls into that nice big space the car automatically brakes and slows you down until that 2 second gap is achieved. Even when changing lane to a slower speed the cruise control adapts, and holds position 2 seconds behind the car in front – brilliant!

Secondly is the lane departure warning, in the majority of cars we have seen this in the steering wheel vibrates to tell you that you are drifting lane. Most of the time you can barely feel this vibration and it doesn’t grab your attention at all. Citroen have gone about it another way, drift over the white line without indication and your seatbelt gets pulled and released very quickly for a few seconds – the first time it happened I jumped out my skin!

2013 Citroen C4 Picasso Review - Dashboard - carwitter

Once inside the C4 the futuristic theme continues, gone is the normal dial binnacle that sits in front of the driver. Instead it has been moved to a central location where you find a large 12 inch HD screen. This shows your revs, speed, gear, MPG and all manner of vehicle dynamics, the display theme can also be changed.

Below that screen and within arm’s reach is a 7” touch screen, this controls ALL the vehicle parameters. From the air con and sat nav, to the stereo and even the internet! Its intuitive and easy to use, it keeps the rest of the dash button and clutter free – very modern.

2013 Citroen C4 Picasso Review - Steering Wheel - carwitter

Between the two front seats a large storage console can be found (on automatic versions), if you need more space for longer objects this unclips completely and can be removed, very clever.

2013 Citroen C4 Picasso Review - MultiCity Connect - carwitter

To get online you have to use Citroens Multicity Connect, a USB 3G adapter that plugs into the central cubby hole. This gives you access to things like Tripadvisor, Michelin parking locations and many more Apps. It’s a great feature for passengers to use whilst on the move, but it does take a while to initially connect – which is a shame as its quicker to find out the same info on a smartphone.

2013 Citroen C4 Picasso Review - Front Seats - carwitter

Dash quality and plastics are superb, the soft Nappa leather our car was fitted with was a real DS style hand me down.

2013 Citroen C4 Picasso Review - Rear Seat Tray Tables - carwitter

2013 Citroen C4 Picasso Review - Rear Air Vents - carwitter

Rear passengers aren’t left out either, fold down tray tables feature their own LED reading lights, and fans situated in the C pillars can be controlled independently.

2013 Citroen C4 Picasso Review - Rear Seats - carwitter

Legroom is very good, 3 adults could easily travel in comfort, with good headroom also a plus.

The rear seats can move forward to increase the boot capacity to 630 litres, if the 537 litres wasn’t already enough. Under the rear passengers feet there are two storage bins, another handy use of space.

2013 Citroen C4 Picasso Review - Boot - carwitter

2013 Citroen C4 Picasso Review -Front Angle Scene - carwitter

Citroen have really stepped up to the mark with the new C4 Picasso, DS style and quality is finally washing back toward the rest of the Citroen range. Premium quality materials are matched with clever, creative design elements that really make the C4 an ingenious, family-friendly vehicle.

We would avoid the ETG6 gearbox at all cost, but we can’t argue with the astounding 47 MPG we achieved over 255 miles of driving – there was still another 150 showing before we hit empty.

The little 1.6 e-HDi diesel is the engine to go for, it offers good performance and emissions of only 105 g/km when combined with the 6 speed manual gearbox.

2013 Citroen C4 Picasso Review - Rear Angle - carwitter

Carwitter Summary:

Citroen C4 Picasso – Spacious, superb quality, naff ETG6 ‘box, modern looks.

2013 Citroen C4 Picasso Review -Conversation Rear View Mirror - carwitter

2013 Citroen C4 Picasso Review - Side Angle - carwitter

2013 Citroen C4 Picasso Review -Front Angle Fence - carwitter

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Owner / Editor of Carwitter – French car fiend, hot hatch lover. Follow @car_witter

  • Nelev Nedesen

    This car does NOT brake as you come close to traffic in front. It just cease the propulsion and in most of the cases it switches off, because it can not brake enough only with engine inertia. I would rather have less “smart” tempomat, than this.

    It works ONLY when you driving in steady going traffic (straight!), and you have slightly faster speed set; 130KM/h, but traffic goes 120km/h. Than the gap it is preserved, but not smoothly.

    System is slow to respond and it will let that car in front to gain some adwance, than it will vigorously accelerate and again it will find it is now too close, deceleration will happen, and so forth. Passengers can complain.

    Another awkwardness happen when you catch up traffic. It will switch off (book says if difference between vehicles is 30 km/h) even if you catch up car in front very slowly. It starts to cease, than all of a sudden start to accelerate right into truck in front of me and after a second it switches off, wanting to say “ok, you save it now, I don’t know what to do”. After quite some testing this system is odd to me. And it does NOT brake as some other cars, to prevent crash, which I was wondering why, if already have radar installed. Now I know why… not reliable enough. I rather have cruise control like in ZAFIRA Tourer which does only hold and limit, and switch to pause if driver intervene.

    Another oddity is if you drive behind a truck (and manage to have steady 2-second gap without switching off) and than once you want to overtake it on straight road, you change lane, it starts to accelerate, than when come closer to truck it will decelerate! And only when very close (near) truck it will accelerate again. Obviously radar “looks” to wide, regardless of road (straight line).

    It’s ok to have this cruise control, and some adaptation would be needed probably. But I do not like all this driving aid if you need too much adaptation; it become dangerous, not safer. This C4 cruise control need to age; until than I rather drive myself.

    While electronic handbrake and hill-assist was new to me as well, but I accepted both instantly. So it is probably much better thought and implemented.

    This could is key selling point for this C4 by Citroen. They are delighted… But in real usage, it annoys me. While I can live nicely with upper middle positioned LCD, this lover one is annoying. I can see the compromise creators had taken.

    It is TOO CLOSE to observe and TOO FAR to touch! While upper main LCD is deep into dashboard, so you do not need to turn head much to see speed (with dashboard so huge and distance to windscreen so great, it could be even deeper, further away!), I can live with it, and sun does not harm too much visibility.

    While lower LCD is where usually, car controls are. To see content on the screen driver (or passenger) mus turn head fully right (left) at 45 degrees and downward as well. While “regular” car have this middle section closer to the drivers fingers, this is pushed further too. So even driver must lean ahead to reach “buttons”. More for the opposite on. To deal with controls is even bigger effort for passenger. I’m 1,76 cm and I was short 5 cm to reach closest controls, but 15 from passenger site.

    Another annoyance id the fact that same LCD is buttons and content. So to control heating, you must look for a button (you can not feel it!), press a button (1 second delay), look again if right menu is there, than press-press-press-press to change value (and watch if you get right setting), than pres “navi” (or something else agian). Too much hassle for simple task as raising fan speed a bit. And while a lot of settings, I think car should not have “Windows” style to set things. I like buttons which work instantly ans are there. But odd enough, this car have dedicated 2 buttons for windows defrost and defog.

    Another inconvenience is temperature setting. As Citroen would like to take as much drivers attention it could. If we already accept taping virtual +/- buttons on LCD (with absolutely NO feedback you pressed anything – so you must OBSERVE values), I can hardly excuse how values are changing on otherwise clear and big figures for temperature. Instead figure would change to greater values as swiftly as LCD and software would allow, they put ANIMATION there; and sluggish one! I have remembrance to Windows Vista, but with Windows you can switch off all animations. Here is something to research. What it does? If you press + animation sweep figure down, off screen and than it falls in place another figure from the top screen. Total distraction. And while temperature is accurate to 0.5 degree, and decimal is much smaller, you have difficulties to read it so fast, because eye tries to catch flying figures. Change is fast (1 second to change figure), but if you need to come from 16 to 26, it takes sometime (5 seconds at least!!), because if you press rapidly, figures are just flying and they are not visible at all. Compare that to other system with some jog or wheel, which takes half a second to grab a button and another half to rotate 10 degrees up or down (which are instantly adding up in place).

    Sitting on a regular seats is not the best. For me it is too low behind dashboard. If I lift seat, my legs dangling in the air (not literally, but too much pressure on tights at half length and not comfortable). Still I have only 5 cm clearance to the roof (and I’m 175 cm). Maybe a bigger guy will lower the seat and sit more comfortable.

    The rear mirror is shamingly small. It just covers the rear window. But if you move a bit (which you do on a longer journey on this seats), you must reset the mirror position. Kids panoramic mirror is even smaller. It’s hard to observe anything in it. It’s faster and safer to just look back wjat kids are doing, or do it old-fashioned to accommodate main mirror to see them better. Small mirror have very twisty handle and very stiff hinge. It is hard to position it and great fear I have to break it.

    Wind noise is very noticeable from 100km/h on.
    So expensive car with some compromises. I was driving turbo-petrol engine with 155 horsepower. Its great for city driving, really goes well from 1000 rpm on and it is very elastic for normal calm driving;
    but lazy to accelerate on highways and to overtake at 90, 2 gear kick down is needed, than it accelerates, but nothing exceptional. Forget to just pres the pedal at 100 km/h and expect to move.

    It is great cruise vehicle, my wife loves it and the regular consumption on one day mixed cycle was 7,3l by onborad computer. I’m not familiar what accuracy Citroen have, when you fill it up and calculate real consumption.

  • Peter Berry

    Blimey! Don’t Nelev half go on? Heh, “This lover one is annoying”

    • atl

      Haha well everyone has an opinion!