Automakers put plenty of effort to design and produce cars that can practically do a lot of things. These days if you’re paying for a car that costs over RM75,000 you can expect to own a car with good design, quality, performance and most importantly safety, also not to forget strong aftersales service.
Cars with high resale value typically have the same thing in common: they carry badges from popular and reputable brands, can be seen everywhere, cheap to maintain and very practical. But, the biggest problem with these cars is that they mostly are stale and uninspiring to look and drive like a pair of Crocs. But, what if you are looking for a practical car styled tastefully well with better than average build quality?
Citroen has been offering a selection of models in Malaysia with attributes similarly found in cars that cost twice as much. One of the two models that are on offer locally is the C4 Picasso, a compact multi-purpose vehicle (MPV), available as a five-seater and a seven-seater version, called the Grand C4 Picasso. The C4 Picasso you see here in pictures is the entry-level L2 Seduction trim.
The compact MPV you see in pictures bears Citroen’s current brand identity, where the iconic chevrons also serve as part of the upper front chrome garnish that stretches from end-to-end on its large front bumper. This is also where the daytime running lights, front halogen head and fog lamps are located as well. Interestingly, the designers have placed the DRLs above the main headlamps to form the car’s “eyes” which makes up the C4 Picasso’s assertive yet inoffensive facia.
Besides the chevrons, the Citroen C4 Picasso’s silhouette is a nod to the brand’s heritage. The sloping roofline and short rear overhangs is one of the ways to know that it is a Citroen at a glance which the original DS, the BX and the CX feature the brand’s unique silhouette. Moving to the rear, the C4 Picasso has a seamless clamshell style rear tailgate opening, which allows unobstructed access into its vast 537-litre boot space. Fold the three individual seats down extends that capacity up to 1,851-litres. The load bay is flat, with no annoying ridges to get in the way when loading or unloading.
The C4 Picasso has a futuristic design that continues throughout the throughout the interior with an appealing blend of dense and soft touch surfaces. Material finishes is similar to its closest German rivals for tactile appeal, but everything feels solidly assembled and capable of withstanding the rigours of family life. The panoramic windscreen – standard on the C4 Grand Picasso – allows plenty of light in for a light and relaxing feel which may prove useful for long journeys with children.
That said, the C4 Picasso is focused as a comfortable easy-to-use family car. This includes a raised driving position with a wide view of the road ahead thanks to the slim windscreen pillars with an extra window.
This allows a great view of the road when pulling out of junctions or onto a roundabout. The centrally mounted monochrome 12-inch digital instrument cluster might not be to all taste, but boldly shows the car’s speed, engine revs, fuel level and climate control modes and temperature within the driver’s line of sight.
The door pockets are easily big enough to fit large bottles of water, and you will find two more stowage on the centre console – between the front seats and beneath the touchscreen. Both have lids to keep valuables from sunlight.
There are also handy floor cubbies in the floor, along with foldable picnic tables on the front back seats. The cubby below the touch screen also serves as a platform for multimedia and smart devices to stand on when they are plugged in either the USB or auxiliary ports. It also comes with its own light source, which you can manually turn on and off.
Citroen’s seven-inch touchscreen operates without any delays and is easy to read in bright sunlight. The cooling and ventilation controls are located here as well, where adjusting the temperature requires some time getting used to. Here you’ll also won’t find a physical foot or handbrake, but instead find a electronic parking brake located at the centre console, which the parking brake light on the button remains lit even when the car is switched off.
There are no problems with the driving position, and there’s plenty of seat and steering wheel adjustment to help you get comfortable. Both front seats come with adjustable armrests, too. Even seriously tall drivers will have no complaints on the lack of head- or legroom.
There are three individual seats at the back with enough head, shoulder and legroom to allow three fully-grown adults to get comfortable, thanks to its flat floor. The rear seats can be adjusted to sit up or recline individually for the rear occupants to make themselves at home. The Picasso has more conveniently positioned Isofix mounts than most of its rivals, too, and because all three seats are equal in size, you’ll have a good chance to safety sit three young children in their baby seats in the back.
The front passenger seat can be folded down on a lever, which means you can carry seriously long items like planks or timber and even a reasonably-length ladder will fit. It may not be use as suggested, but a rear occupant can rest his or her feet on the seat back much like in a limousine.
Powering the Picasso is the tried and tested turbocharged 1.6-litre THP in-line four-cylinder Prince engine that makes 163hp at 6,000 rpm and a 240Nm of torque staying flat from 1,400 to 5,000 rpm. Mated to the THP163 engine is a six-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters for manual gear selection.
In simpler terms, the Picasso’s performance is better than average, as it is able to level against its closest rivals with a 0-100 km/h time of 8.6 seconds as tested. This means that the Picasso doesn’t lack in power when it come to lugging five people around without feeling lethargic when climbing up steep hills. Is it frugal? Yes. As tested, the Picasso does a low 5.9l/100km Highway.
Steering is light and makes manoeuvring easy around tight bends and intersections at low speeds. The C4 Picasso sways quite a bit through tight twists and turns, although it never lurches around uncontrollably. Citroen still lives to its reputation in offering ride comfort, the C4 Picasso supple suspension deals with big bumps pretty well. There’s a reasonable amount of grip from its 17-inch Michelin Primacy HP tyres, so you always feel in control of the car. Refinement is otherwise good, though; wind and road noise are well suppressed, making the C4 Picasso a relaxing cruiser.
Priced at RM125,164.29 OTR without insurance with 5-Years Manufacturer’s Warranty and 24-Hour Roadside Assistance and owners get exclusive access to the Sky Lounge at Subang Skypark Airport. To quickly sum it up, the Picasso C4 is a reasonably priced MPV that sits five, highly practical, surprisingly quick, frugal, tastefully styled, high in refinement and good to drive.
+ Very Practical
+ Tasteful looks
+ Rugged interior
+ Frugal and powerful engine
+ High levels of refinement
Citroen C4 Picasso L2 Seduction
Price Msia: RM125,164.29 (OTR W/ Insurance)
Engine: 1.6-litre in-line four-cylinder
Top Speed: 210km/h (Tested)
Fuel consumption: 5.9 litres/100km (Tested)