BMW 2 Series 2014 review
James Stanford road tests and reviews theBMW 2 Series Active Tourer, with specs, fuel consumption and verdict.
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Never has Citroen followed convention, just look at the lines of the C4 Picasso. Like its predecessors it looks like nothing else on the road. Most of the upper surfaces are glass, from its huge windscreen that almost merges into a super-sized sunroof and onto the sleek rear rear glass it's all about looks.
All occupants have 360 degree surround vision, then there are the big pictures above them. Great fun and sure to take the boredom of of long trips.
Fortunately for Australian drivers, particularly in the northern areas, the sunlight can be kept out if need be. This is achieved by moving the front of the cabin's roof forward in two sections to make the windscreen smaller (I'm not making this up! Call into a Citroen dealer and see for yourself).
Citroen C4 Picasso is a cross between a tall hatchback and a crossover SUV. Okay so there's a lot of 'crosses' in that sentence, but the latest Citroen really doesn't slot neatly into any category body wise. Where it does fit, is onto the short list of buyers looking for something a bit quirky and who don't like to follow conventions.
We've had the Citroen C4 Grand Picasso in Australia for some time, but it's quite a different vehicle to the Grand-less Picasso. Whereas the Grand is a seven-seat people mover with diesel power, the Picasso is a five-seater that's petrol powered, as well as being nimbler and easier to drive than its extended brother.
Picasso has five individual seats, with the rear three all having the same dimensions
Interestingly, with a starting price of $40,990 it falls into the Vfacts category that includes BMW's new 2 Series Active Tourer, and Mercedes-Benz big selling B-Class. The Citroen importer is delighted to see its Picasso in such exalted company.
Picasso has five individual seats, with the rear three all having the same dimensions. The rear seat can slide back and forward to let you choose between passenger legroom and boot capacity. With the seats in their rearmost positions there's good legroom for adults.
Luggage space is good, 537 litres with the rear seats back, 630 with them all the way forward. The seats can be folded flat to give you a voluminous 1851 litres.
Driving the C4 Picasso is a new experience, not only do you have that goldfish bowl in front of you, the gear lever is in an unusual spot on the top-right of the steering wheel. The front seats have adjustments in multiple directions, some of the setting are controlled via small buttons on a flat area set into the front corner of the seat. It looks as though it takes up unnecessary space but seems to work well enough. Check it out for yourself.
There's a huge electronic screen in the centre of the dash that contains the main instruments. The screen can be set up with a choice of displays to suit your individual driving situations. While the central screen obviously suits right-hand and left-hand steering wheel situations, the stylists haven't been instructed to make the dashboard symmetrical. We like this, because that sort of setup screams out cost saving, and this is no low-cost car.
Ride comfort is everything you expect from a French car, smooth and quiet
A smaller screen in a more conventional position in the centre console looks after air conditioning, audio and other minor tasks.
Picasso C4 G has a strong range of standard equipment, with keyless entry and start, automatic headlights and wipers, LED daytime running lamps, and fog lamps with a cornering function.
Ride comfort is everything you expect from a French car, smooth and quiet. However, there was occasionally more tyre noise than anticipated on some of Australia's notorious coarse-chip surfaces.
Handling is safe enough, but tall hatches never feel as good as standard height ones due to the higher centre of gravity. If you're a keen driver who likes press-on motoring in hilly areas perhaps look at a different Citroen.
There's no manual gearbox option in Australia
Power is supplied by a modern 1.6-litre turbo-petrol unit that produces 120 kilowatts, torque is a very useful 240 Newton metres all the way from 1400 revs to 4000, the typical engine speed for almost all drivers virtually all of the time. We liked the way the six-speed automatic transmission worked with the engine to have it at its best revs. There's no manual gearbox option in Australia as there is in European markets, a wise decision by the Australian importer.
We threw some peak hour traffic, motorways and steep hills and bends at the C4 Picasso during a drive program organised by Citroen out of Sydney and it performed very well in all conditions.
Citroens have a six-year warranty, capped price servicing and roadside assist package.
If you like a car that's out of the ordinary, comfortable and are the proud owner of three children then the Citroen C4 Picasso deserves a spot on your list of vehicles to be investigated.
Citroen C4 Picasso is priced at $40,990 plus on-road costs.
A number of options are available: 18-inch Python alloy wheels ($1500); Electric tailgate ($1000); Drive Assist pack with lane departure warning, smart beam function, active cruise control, anti-collision warning and active seat belts and electro-chromatic rear vision mirror ($2000); Lounge Pack with part leather seats, "relax style" headrests, LED light for tray tables on the backs of the front seats, fronts seats with electric lumbar support and massage function and electric foot rest for the front passenger ($2000); and Full Nappa leather seats with the Lounge Pack plus electrically adjustable and heated seats ($5000).
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