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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Buyers looking for something that doesn't follow convention and who appreciate a real touch of French flair should certainly have the latest Citroen C4 Picasso on their short (often very short) list of potential cars.
Just what is the Citroen C4 Picasso? It's hard to define, being a mixture of a tall hatchback and a people mover, with a touch of SUV thrown in for good measure.
Citroen C4 Picasso looks like nothing else on the road.
This is not the first Citroen that refuses to slot neatly into any category, nor will it be the last. We love the French marque for that.
Citroen C4 Picasso looks like nothing else on the road. Most of its upper surfaces are glass, from its huge windscreen that almost merges into a super-sized sunroof and onto the sleek rear glass the compact French people mover defies convention. Inside, there are fascinating curves, facets and materials. Many in the dashboard area are fashioned around the big electronic screens.
A large screen in the centre of the dash displays the main instruments. It can be set up with a choice of displays to suit your individual tastes and driving conditions.
A smaller screen in a more conventional position lower down in the centre console looks after air conditioning, audio and other minor tasks.
Citroen C4 Picasso is priced at $40,990 plus on-road costs. It has a good range of standard equipment, with keyless entry and start-stop, automatic headlights and wipers, LED daytime running lamps, and fog lamps with a cornering function.
Options are numerous and let you take part in customisation, as well as increase practicality. A set of 18-inch Python alloy wheels ($1500); electric tailgate ($1000);
The Lounge Pack has 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).
Citroens now have a six-year warranty, capped price servicing and a roadside assist package.
The C4 Picasso is powered by a 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.
All Australian imports of the C4 Picasso run a six-speed automatic transmission to the front wheels. There's no manual gearbox option here as there is in European markets.
The Drive Assist pack has lane departure warning, smart beam function, active cruise control, anti-collision warning, active seat belts and electro-chromatic rear vision mirror. All are worthwhile items and we suggest spending the extra $2000 makes sense.
Driving the C4 Picasso is a different 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. It takes a bit of becoming accustomed to, so we suggest a longer than average test drive if you've never been in a Citroen before.
If the sunlight is too strong it can be kept out by moving the front of the cabin's roof forward in two sections to cover the top areas of the windscreen.
Picasso has five individual seats, with all the rear units 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.
The front seats have adjustments in multiple directions, some settings are controlled by small buttons in the front corner of the seat. It looks as though it takes up unnecessary space but we soon became accustomed to it.
Citroen Picasso's ride comfort is everything you expect from a French car
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.
Citroen Picasso's ride comfort is everything you expect from a French car - smooth and quiet to the point of serenity. There was more tyre noise than anticipated on some of Australia's notorious coarse-chip surfaces, but other than that it's pretty impressive. Perhaps try that sort of road on your private test drive if you anticipate country touring in your new Citroen.
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.
The engine is no ball of fire, but is likely to have enough performance for the typical buyer - if there is such a thing as a typical buyer for any Citroen. The six-speed automatic transmission impressed us with the way it teamed with the smallish 1.6-litre turbo-petrol engine to have it at its best revs.
The Citroen importer is delighted to see its Picasso in such exalted company, but it will be interesting to see if buyers see the stylish Citroen the same way.
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