Citroën first released the Picasso in 2009 and have released two updated models in 2015, the Picasso (five seater) and Grand Picasso (seven seater). Rebodied, revamped, and re-engined, A Wheel Thing wonders why there’s not more of them on the road.The version tested, the five seat version, came with a 1.6 litre tubo four, with peak power of 121 kilowatts, albeit at a high 6000 rpm. What’s important is the torques, all 240 of ’em, at 1400 rpm, driving a six speed auto. It endows the the Picasso with useable driveability, just what you need in a five seater family mover. It’s fitted with Stop/Star tech, which is a thing that doesn’t really float A Wheel Thing’s boat, as it has a tendency to add a vital second to getting the car under way. What Citroën says it does is give the Picasso a 5.6L per 100 kilometre fuel economy (combined cycle). The gearbox itself is slick, shifting smoothly under light load and giving a sportsman like performance when pushed. The downside? Where the selector lever has been placed. Think old style column shift where the lever was on the dash and that’s where Citroën have placed it. It’s on the upper right quadrant of the steering wheel mounted dash (the actual driver’s binnacle is centre mounted) and when moving the lever for the wipers it was all too easy to hit the gear selector as well.It’s a pretty interior, it must be said. It’s light, bright, airy, spacy, with a cool mix of black and beige leather, an option over the standard black and grey cloth or the other optional black cloth/grey leather. Don’t think it doesn’t look good because the dreaded word “beige” is mentioned, because it suits the car admirably.
The driver and passenger seats have fold out tables in the back (part of the “Lounge” option pack), along with a cargo net storage section below, and there’s massage functions fitted as well. Yes, they work, but wouldn’t be advised for tired drivers. The rear seats are individually mounted, allowing superb personalisation and flexibility.Citroën being Citroën, they throw in a quirk or two and it’s the location of the dash display. It’s in the centre of the dash, and is a LCD screen of 12 inches in size. It’s a touch screen, housing satnav, information such as guidelines when reversing, an unusual look in that there’s an almost window pane style at times and, thankfully, it all works well. Just underneath is a seven inch screen, housing the audio and thankfully again, there’s DAB or digital radio. I say thankfully because the range of stations you suddenly find yourself presented with makes for an interesting drive when cycling through all the options for tunes…
The Picasso also gets a full glass roof. It adds to the feeling of spaciousness and adds an extra element to the ambience when it’s raining. There’s a translucent material that rolls back and forth at the touch of a roof mounted jog dial, giving wannabe pilots a semblance of being in a cabin by reaching up, instead of pressing a dash button.Outside, the Picasso draws clear design cues from the C4 upon which it is based. There’s a huge glass area all around, including ahead of the driver and passenger to the right and left. There’s a bluff nose which transmutes quickly into a steeply sloping windscreen and a curvaceous roofline that tapers, when seen from above, towards the tail in an almost teardrop line. It’d stylish, chic and lends the Picasso to having a real visual presence. The LED running lights sited above the headlights enhance that further, as do the LED tail lights in the powered tailgate.Citroën have done a sensational job in the packaging; the Picasso is just 4428 mm in total length, rolls on a 2785 mm wheelbase (and 205/55/17s as standard, with 225/45/18s as an option) plus has a rear overhang of 764 mm from the rear axle line, providing 630 litres of cargo that increases to 1851 when all seats are flat. Speaking of seats, the headrests shy away from the tradition flat pack cushion style, instead opting for a sports seats style, wrapping around the noggin.One of the joyous things about the Picasso is its ride. Naturally biased towards comfort, it’s nevertheless not so soft that it ever feels spongy or wallowy. It’s in fact quite the opposite, with a suspension tune that somehow almost seems sporty without the tight and taut characteristics. You can hustle the Picasso around as if it’s a smaller and more nimble car without it feeling as if it’s top heavy. You can press the go pedal and have only a moment’s hesitation before you get under way and the brakes are the same, with just a touch of travel at the top of the pedal before it tells you the grip is gentle and will tighten the harder you press. Hit a bump and there’s a fall and rise and settle, there’s no ongoing movement but an acknowledgement of an intrusion that is dispatched immediately.At The End Of The Drive.
At the time of writing, November 2016, there’s a driveaway price of $39990, identical to a price in 2010 when A Wheel Thing was also a vehicle salesman. Then it was good value, but with the complimentary Tech Pack which is worth a cool five thousand large, (Xenon headlights, Electric tailgate, Adaptive cruise control, Electrochrome rear view mirror, Lane departure warning, Smart beam function, Collision avoidance alert and Active seat belts) it’s sensational value now. With room aplenty, a poky engine and a fluid chassis, it really is a wonder why there’s not more of the Picassos around.
For more info, a pricing calculator and a test drive link, go here: 2016 Citroen Picasso