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Citroen C4 Picasso 2007 Review

And when they call it the Picasso, there's even less chance it will be conventional. After all, in his paintings, eyes and noses and everything else were rarely where they're usually found.

So you step into the Picasso, seven seats, just slightly longer than a Toyota Corolla sedan, loaf-shaped but stylish, prepared for something unusual.

And yes, Citroen delivers. The Picasso is definitely quirky, but in a refreshing way; it's easy to adapt to, pleasant to live with, a clever design which works efficiently.

For example, the steering wheel rotates around a fixed hub, so the driver's airbag is always positioned perfectly. Now that's a bright idea, taken straight from Citroen's smaller C4 hatchback, which is also the source for the Picasso's mechanical underpinnings.

No normal T-bar gear lever here. Instead, the auto selector is a thin chrome wand high on the right-hand side of the steering column. Two curved levers behind the wheel allow you to flick up or down through the gears.

Air conditioning controls are on the right-hand side of the dashboard, so your co-driver can't fiddle with them, but the front passenger does get his or her own digital temperature read-out situated on the far left; along with up and down buttons to make that side of the car hotter or colder.

The handbrake is . . .  well, actually the Picasso doesn't have one. Instead, the 'parking brake' sets itself when you park, and disengages automatically when you drive away. As back-up, there is a little chrome lever mounted on top of the dashboard, right in the centre.

In front of that is a perfume diffuser, so the Picasso always smells sweet. This is a French car, remember.

There are picnic tables for the middle row of seats, a drinks cooler up front, a rechargeable torch down the back.

The windscreen is so large, and sweeps back so far, there are pull-down sunshades at the top of the glass.

So it's certainly different, but not in a negative way. Instead of seeming gimmicky and confusing, its unusual features are handy, and fit its can-do nature perfectly.

It's the same story on the road. At first the Picasso can feel bulky and somewhat daunting, the driver has no idea where that sloping snout ends, and the tail seems a long way away but after a while you become used to it.

Anyway, there are parking sensors which beep a warning before you get too close to obstacles.

The Picasso comes with either petrol or diesel engine, and surely the smarter of the pair is the diesel, sharing its engine with Citroen's larger (and dearer) C5 sedan plus various Peugeots. What a sweet machine; strong on pulling power, big on refinement, excellent when it comes to fuel economy.

With six forward gears on hand, it can quickly select the right ratio and summon up a healthy dose of torque for spirited acceleration.

The petrol version gets just a four-speed automatic.

What the Picasso doesn't like is to be driven fast on a twisty, rough road. The suspension just isn't happy with that sort of silliness.



Citroen Picasso HDi

Details: Seven-seat people-mover with 2.0 litre, four-cylinder, turbo-diesel engine. Power 100kW. Torque 270Nm. Six-speed automatic.

Features: Stability control system, anti-lock brakes, seven airbags, alloy wheels, airconditioning, cruise control.

Cost: $44,990. (Petrol version $39,990)

Rivals: Renault Grand Scenic, Honda Odyssey, Toyota Tarago, Kia Carnival, Chrysler Voyager.

For: Refreshing, efficient design. Excellent diesel engine.

Against: Perhaps too unusual for some.

Summing up: French flair on wheels.

Overall: 4 stars


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Range and Specs

(base) 2.0L, ULP, 4 SP AUTO $7,200 – 11,110 2007 Citroen C4 Picasso 2007 (base) Pricing and Specs
Exclusive HDi 2.0L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO $9,100 – 13,640 2007 Citroen C4 Picasso 2007 Exclusive HDi Pricing and Specs
HDi 2.0L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO $6,000 – 9,350 2007 Citroen C4 Picasso 2007 HDi Pricing and Specs
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