The latest version of Citroen's Grand C4 Picasso people-mover will arrive in Australia with a swag of trophies already under its beltline, having nabbed Top Gear's European Family Car of the Year and Auto Bild's Golden Steering wheel.
It remains to be seen whether the awards have impact locally, where under the previous importers the Picasso has failed to get cut-through. The segment sold a total of 81000 last year but was dominated by the Kia Carnival (2847), and with Hyundai iMax (1455) and Honda Odyssey (1001) accounted for 5,300 of the field's total, with Toyota's Tarago mopping up another 960.
Against that, the Citroen in run-out last year sold just 61, a drop from the 149 of 2012. Since taking over the Citroen brand to sit beside Peugeot under the Sime-Darby umbrella, it's new minders have worked to reposition the product.
As the latest vehicle for that strategy, the Picasso is dropping the two-pronged approach -- which previously offered both petrol and diesel versions -- and will within weeks have only a single new variant.
The Grand C4 is powered by a 2.0-litre turbodiesel mated to a six-speed torque-converter automatic transmission driving the front wheels. "It is specifically targeting families, and as a seven-seater we decided the diesel was the better option," Citroen PR and communications manager Jaedene Hudson says.
The new engine develops 110kW of power and 370Nm of torque -- available from 2000-2500rpm -- and the carmaker claims fuel economy at a frugal 4.5L/100km in combined driving, helped by a stop-start system.
Citroen says the newcomer is 100kg lighter than the previous model, putting it at 1520kg, but by the time you add another half-tonne of bodies you could find the fuel needle moves a bit faster down the gauge.
The Grand C4 Picasso will go on sale March 1 in a single spec level for $43,990 -- a rise from the $37,490 starting price for the former petrol entry level, and the $39,490 for the previous diesel variant.
However Citroen Australia says the difference is more than covered by the extra features that will be offered, including a standard 360 degree camera, standard self-parking, blind spot monitoring and a 12-inch panoramic HD screen with 7-inch multifunction touch screen.
"We’ve very excited to introduce the all New Grand C4 Picasso in Australia. It’s a people-mover that drives like a car and looks very stylish," Citroen marketing manager Manuel Tyras says. "But it’s also supremely practical with ample space and high levels of safety and technology."
The first vehicle to be built on all-new modular EMP2 platform, it will roll on a 11cm longer wheelbase at 2.84m, promising improved space and cabin flexibility. More details and specification will be announced closer to the roll-out date.