BMW 218d Active Tourer 2015 review: road test
Joshua Dowling road tests and reviews the BMW 218d ACtive Tourer with specs, fuel consumption and verdict.
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Trust the French to insist that a sensible, functional people mover doesn’t have to be boring. Instead Citroen has given us style and fashion in its Picasso, but has done so without the slightest reduction in the sensible and functional departments.
The company founded by Andre Citroen in 1919 has long been famed for the French flair it provides - just look at the legendary Citroen 2CV and futuristic DS ‘Goddess’ - and it’s great to see his successors continue to follow Andre’s lead 95 years later.
All-new 2014 Citroen Grand C4 Picasso, to give it its full title, isn’t quite as radical in its shape as the original model of 1999, but certainly carries many styling cues from its automotive grandparent. The most noticeable feature (pun intended) is the superb vision from within.
The windscreen is virtually continued around to the sides of the car by courtesy of slim pillars and huge windows in the A-pillar itself. The top of the windscreen continues back till it’s almost above the front seats. Thankfully with two giant sunshades that keep out the fierce Aussie sun when necessary.
Sitting in the front of the Picasso with all that glass around you gives an amazing feeling of being at one with the world. The side and rear windows are also large and have slim, but strong pillars.
The use of dark surrounds for the exterior of Picasso’s pillars, that also wrap forward from the D-pillar, is another styling triumph. Inside, the stylish feeling is further enhanced by the wide dash with its interesting central location for the instruments and infotainment systems.
Citroen Grand C4 Picasso is priced at $43,990, plus on-road costs, but that price tag can be bumped up with the addition of option packs -- 18-inch Python alloy wheels: $1500; electric tailgate: $1000; directional bi-xenon headlight: $2000; and Drive Assist Pack: $2000.
Citroen Australia is proud of the fact the 2.0-litre, four-cylinder, turbo-diesel engine in the Picasso is Euro 6 rated, and that it’s the first diesel to receive five stars in the Australian Green Vehicle Guide. This is an area normally populated only by electric, hybrid and very small cars.
Putting out 110kW of power and a solid 370Nm of torque this ultra-clean powerplant officially uses only 4.5 litres per hundred kilometres on the laboratory drive cycle. It drives the front wheels through conventional torque converter automatic transmission with six forward ratios.
Over and above the usual safety features that assure the C4 Picasso has a five-star crash rating, it has many crash prevention items, either as standard or in special options packs. These include cameras with automatic cruise control, all-round vision, automatic tyre-pressure monitoring, blind spot warning and self parking (parallel and ninety-degree).
The use of seven individual seats does nothing but add to the Picasso’s upmarket look. Legroom is excellent for the three occupants in the second-row seats thanks in part to the flat floor. The pair of rearmost can carry adults in some discomfort, and children with ease. Boot space is pretty good, even when all seats are in use.
The third row seats fold right out of the way in the boot floor. Indeed, all seats with the exception of the driver’s can be folded down to create a van-like interior. The Citroen Picasso rides on an all-new platform that not only is 100 kg lighter than that in the previous model, but also has added rigidity. During our drive program at the launch of the Picasso out of Auckland New Zealand we found it to be very smooth and quiet on most road surfaces.
However, it did suffer from quite a bit of tyre noise and mild body resonance on harsh coarse-chip surfaces. This was partly due to the 18-inch wheels fitted as standard on the NZ spec vehicles. Wisely, the Australian importer has chosen the more sensible 17-inch alloy units to dampen down the sounds. Alloy wheels with 18-inch diameter are optional in our country. Handling is safe and secure at speeds much higher than those likely to be attempted by sensible owners. These dynamics are especially good for a people mover.
The clean turbo-diesel has minimal turbo lag and once it’s up and running provides plenty of acceleration and is nicely linear in its output. Though noisy from outside the vehicle in the manner of many in its class the Picasso unit is pleasantly quiet inside the cabin.
We found the engine typically using fuel in the high sixes and low sevens, well above the official number of 4.5 litres per hundred kilometres. The engines weren’t completely run in and we were driving moderately hard. We will comment further on fuel use when we spend a week testing a Grand C4 Picasso on our home roads in Queensland.
Citroen Picasso’s excellent styling is backed up by a spacious interior and the packaging is enhanced by a high level of standard equipment. In an interesting move Citroen Australia has introduced a lavish six-year warranty on the C4 Picasso. This long-distance warranty is also given on the DS-Line of Citroens, but not to the standard ranges at this stage. The latter may benefit later, but Citroen is not commenting on this at this time.
|Exclusive||2.0L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO||$16,990 – 24,990||2014 Citroen Grand C4 Picasso 2014 Exclusive Pricing and Specs|
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