Citroen Grand C4 Picasso VS Honda Odyssey
Citroen Grand C4 Picasso
- Great packaging for a compact vehicle
- Surprising versatility
- Beautiful ride comfort
- Not as roomy inside as some competitors
- No AEB: that's only for the diesel
- Curtain airbags don't stretch to third row
- Best-looking people mover
- Tons of space in a slight package
- Secure handling and good ride
- Feeling old
- No Apple CarPlay/Android Auto
- Lack of advanced safety feature
Citroen Grand C4 Picasso
You know Picasso? He died a long time ago. And now the Picasso badge - which has adorned Citroen’s people-mover models internationally since way back in 1999 - is set to die, too.
As a result, the Citroen Grand C4 Picasso is set to be relabelled the Citroen Grand C4 Spacetourer, following a new van naming convention set in Europe. It’s a shame, because Picasso is undoubtedly one of the better known nameplates that Citroen has… and let’s be honest, Citroen needs all the help it can get in Australia.
But before we see the name change, the company has made an addition to the current Grand C4 Picasso range: a new price-leader, the Citroen Grand C4 Picasso petrol, is now on sale - and it cuts the price of the seven-seat people mover by a huge $6000 compared to the diesel.
That amount of money will buy you a heck of a lot of petrol, so does the new base model version in the Citroen Grand C4 Picasso 2018 range make more sense than its expensive diesel sibling?
|Fuel Type||Premium Unleaded Petrol|
Honda's sleek Odyssey has long been a popular choice for Australians in need of more seats/better contraception. As the years have gone by, however, the people-mover market hasn't so much shrunk, it has collapsed into a black hole, taking a bunch of competitors out of space and time.
The Odyssey stands with the ancient Tarago and gigantic Kia Carnival as the only real options if you don't want an SUV to shift lots of people and gear. And to not have to put up with people telling you you're driving a commercial van in drag.
|Fuel Type||Regular Unleaded Petrol|
Citroen Grand C4 Picasso8/10
The lack of third-row airbags and AEB could be enough for you to rule this version of the Citroen Grand C4 Picasso out of contention as a family vehicle. We’d understand that.
But there are plenty of other reasons that it could be a contender on your people-mover shopping list. It’s a largely thoughtful car in a small and beautiful package… no matter what badge is stuck on the back of it.
Would you consider the new petrol-powered Citroen Grand C4 Picasso as your people-mover of choice? Let us know in the comments section below.
The Odyssey is dependable for a number of reasons - it seems built to last, is good to drive rather than good enough and the interior space is crammed into a fairly small outer body, aiding its likely cause as a city-dwelling family wagon or uber Uber.
Seven-seat SUVs have certainly taken over this space. None have managed eight seats, though, which the Odyssey does, and none can pull off a flat, walkthrough interior, the gigantically expensive Tesla Model X excepted.
And like all good cars, the Odyssey does exactly what it says on the box.
Is an old-school people mover still relevant in the days of seven-seat SUVs? Tell us what you think in the comments below.
Citroen Grand C4 Picasso9/10
If you were to suggest there isn’t anything interesting about the design of the Citroen Grand C4 Picasso, it would pretty much intone that you’re vision impaired. This is - without question - one of the most intriguing and interesting looking vehicles on the market today.
With its front-end design mirroring the other models in the French maker’s range - sleek LED daytime running lights sitting either side of a chrome grille with central chevron, the main headlights below and some chrome trimming on the lower bumper - this is easily distinguishable as a Citroen. There’s no confusing it with a Kia, Honda, or anything else, in fact.
The large windscreen and panoramic sunroof help give it that two-tone look, and the beautiful silver C-shaped rim that surrounds the glasshouse is one of the best styling touches in the automotive business.
Our car rides on the standard 17-inch wheels wrapped in grippy Michelin tyres, but there are optional 18s if you want something that fills the wheelarches a little more.
At the rear there are some nicely styled tail-lights, and its hips are broad, giving it a nice amount of presence on the road when you’re sitting behind it in traffic.
I think Spacetourer works better as a name: Picasso was known for artworks that were challenging to make sense of. This vehicle presents no such conundrum.
The interior is also one of the most stunning in the business: I love the two-tone dashboard, the stacked twin screen layout, the minimalism of the controls and the massive windscreen with innovative adjustable headlining - yes, you can move the front part of the headlining back and forth, and the sun-visors move with it.
Our car had the optional 'Leather Lounge' pack, which adds dual-tone hide trim, seat massage functions for both front seats, plus heating for both front seats, and the front passenger seat has an electrically operated leg/footrest. This interior trim is nice, but it comes at a price… ahem, a big price: $5000.
As you might expect, that’s hard to justify if you’re trying to save money on your seven-seat people-mover. But ignore that: let’s take a deeper dive into the cabin.
When Toyota's Tarago went all cool and spaceship in the middle of the 1990s, the segment became instantly cool... well, cooler. The first and second generations were solid if unspectacular efforts, distinguished by 'normal' car doors for the rear rather than the psychologically van-like sliding doors. The third and fourth generations are the versions everyone remembers - sleek and stylish, it really looked pretty good for an MPV.
This fifth generation isn't quite so successful and is probably the most delivery-van like. The higher bonnet and boxier profile are further complicated by an extraordinarily busy grille and light arrangement, with more chrome than is probably necessary. It makes the Odyssey look a bit bluff and the sliding doors are a bit van-ish if not more useful, especially in tight spaces.
The spacious interior is filled with light from huge expansess of glass all the way down the car. There are a few clever features, like the front quarter window to help place the car while parking. It's a gracefully ageing space but with some nice touches like the touchpads for the HVAC (heating, ventilation, air-conditioning) controls. The dodgy wood is less welcome and should be dispatched post-haste - it looks aftermarket and is obviously plastic.
Citroen Grand C4 Picasso9/10
It’s kind of amazing just how much Citroen has managed to fit into the Grand C4 Picasso. It measures 4602mm long - which is just 22mm (an inch) longer than a Mazda3 sedan! As for the other dimensions, the width is 1826mm, and the height is 1644mm.
How many seats does the Citroen Picasso have? The answer is seven, whether you choose the petrol or the diesel - but notably, the petrol model has a space-saver spare wheel under its boot, where the diesel misses out because it has an AdBlue system.
Yep, by some marvel of packaging magic, the brand’s engineers managed to pack seven seats, a reasonable boot (165 litres with all seats up, 693L with the back row folded, 2181 with the five rear seats folded), plus a spare tyre and a lot of style into a very compact package.
That’s not to say this is a seven-seater to suit all the needs of buyers who want seven seats. The back row is tight for anyone nearing 183cm (six-feet) tall, and there is no third-row airbag coverage. According to the French brand, the occupants of those rearmost seats are inwards enough of the sides of the car that they theoretically shouldn’t need airbag cover. Depending on your safety stance, that may rule it out for you - or perhaps make you change your mind as to whether you use the back row regularly or not.
Even so, there’s a huge amount of practicality to the cabin. You can fold the third-row seats and stow them away under the boot floor, or if you need to use them there are vents as well as a fan speed controller and a set of rear reading lights. The boot also has a light that doubles as a flashlight, and there’s a 12-volt outlet. There is one shallow cupholder and two small storage boxes on top of the wheel-arches.
In the second row the seats are also individually operable, with all three sliding and/or folding as required. The outboard seats also have a clever seat base flip-up function, allowing them to move all the way forward for easier third-row access.
The space in the second row is easily good enough for three adults to slot across, though the roof-mounted middle seatbelt is a bit annoying. There are air-vents with fan controls mounted in the B-pillars, and the front seat-backs have clever flip-down tables with lighting, and there are mesh map pockets below. There is another 12-volt outlet, a pair of slim door pockets (not big enough for bottles), but no cupholders.
The front cabin is better sorted for storage of odds and ends - there is a pair of (small, shallow) cupholders between the seats, an enormous central console box that’s easily copious enough for phones, wallets, keys and the like, plus another storage area near where you plug in your USB/auxiliary device. The way the owners manual/logbook slots under the steering wheel is neat, and the glove box is fine, too, plus there are reasonably good sized door pockets, but again they lack sculpted bottle holsters.
One little issue I had was with the steering adjustment toggle - it’s quite springy… so much so that it sprung back and hurt my finger every time I adjusted it. That mightn’t be an issue if you’re the sole driver, but it’s worth noting.
As striking as the lovely leather trim is, the dashboard design is what I love most about this car. There’s a huge 12.0-inch high-definition top screen that shows you an enormous digital speed readout, plus you can have it show you the mapping and sat nav, or the car’s vital measures, or see where your car is positioned by way of the standard-fit 360-degree camera.
The lower 7.0-inch touchscreen is where the action happens: it’s your point of control for the media system, including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring, the dual-zone climate controls, car settings, and phone. There are supplementary volume and track controls, plus the steering wheel has things sorted pretty well in terms of ergonomics, too.
Okay, to clarify: I love this set up to a degree. I don’t like that the air conditioning controls (apart from de-mist for front and rear windscreens) are all within the lower screen, which means - on a really hot day, for instance - you have to fumble through menus and tap the screen repeatedly, rather than just turn a dial or two. Every sweaty second counts when it’s 40-degrees-plus outside.
The big reason the VTi is more practical than the more expensive S is that the lower-priced car has one extra seat. The middle row of the VTi-S is made up of two swivelling-sliding captain's chairs with old-school business class style leg rests. The VTi's middle row is far more conventional with that extra seat, meaning a total of eight.
The middle row can slide fore and aft and the seatback reclines. Life is a little desolate in the back row, with few convenience features apart from a fixed glass window so they can watch more fortunate people. To be fair, the seats back there are comfortable and offer better-than-expected legroom, and there are even ceiling-mounted air vents.
Despite having eight seats, there are "only" six cupholders on board and you can only get to two if the middle row is fully occupied. The third row has them built into the mouldings either side of the seats. Front-seat passengers also score a handy, pop-out-and-up tray that will fit two big phones right next to the two USB ports.
Boot space is, as you would expect, variable. It starts at 330 litres with all seats in place, which is smaller than an HR-V's boot. A very neat trick is the way the back row folds right into the floor. If you weren't paying attention, you'd think Honda short-changed you and sold you an absurdly tall wagon.
Drop those rear seats and let the middle row-dwellers have all the available space and the boot expands to 1332 litres. Push the middle row forward and you gain another 340 litres to 1672, although you won't have much legroom. Fold all of the rear seats and you have 1867 litres. The second row doesn't come out and it is rather in the way, but it's handy if you've got a long flat pack or modest shelves or cupboards to shift. Great for a bunch of balloons, though. With room left for a clown or two.
Price and features
Citroen Grand C4 Picasso8/10
With a sub-$40k price tag, the Citroen Grand C4 Picasso suddenly enters a realm of relevance that it didn’t before.
The official list price is $38,490 plus on-road costs, and if you haggle hard, you might be able to get one on the road for about forty grand.
As mentioned, it’s a seven-seater, and it comes rolling on standard 17-inch alloys.
Some of the other features include auto headlights, auto wipers, LED daytime running lights, puddle lights, smart key and push-button start, and an electric tailgate.
You don’t see it in the interior images here, but if you buy the most affordable Grand C4 Picasso model you get cloth seat trim, but still a leather steering wheel. And of course there’s the 7.0-inch media screen with built-in sat nav that displays on the 12.0-inch high-definition screen up top.
There’s Bluetooth phone and audio streaming as well as auxiliary and USB points - but in this day and age, just one USB isn’t terrific. I guess the first trip to the servo could include the purchase of a couple of those 12-volt USB adaptors.
As for people-mover competitors at this price point? There are a few, such as the LDV G10 (from $29,990 drive-away), the Volkswagen Caddy Comfortline Maxi (from $39,090), the Kia Rondo Si (from $31,490) and the Honda Odyssey VTi (from $37,990). The best people-mover we reckon you can buy - the Kia Carnival - is relatively exxy, starting at $41,490, and it’s more physically imposing, too.
Or you could be like the vast majority of buyers and forego the French charm and Avantgarde styling of the Citroen for a mid-sized SUV with seven seats. Examples priced near the entry-grade Grand C4 Picasso include the Mitsubishi Outlander, Nissan X-Trail, LDV D90, Holden Captiva or even the Hyundai Santa Fe or Kia Sorento.
Honda offers two specifications in Australia; the VTi and VTi-S. This week we spent time with the more practical, eight-seater VTi, the version that does without the famous captain's chairs.
The $37,990 VTi undercuts the S by nearly 10 grand, which is quite a difference. The VTi leaves Japan with 17-inch alloys, a six-speaker stereo, dual-zone climate control, remote central locking, reversing camera, cruise control, auto headlights, leather steering wheel, power windows, folding heated mirrors and a space-saver spare.
The passenger-side rear door also has an electric slide, with a button on the dash and the key fob for remote activation. It's a neat party trick.
Honda's ageing multimedia software fills a 7.0-inch touchscreen with jagged old graphics and fails to fill it with Android Auto or Apple CarPlay, like in the Civic and CR-V. The sound is fine, but it's not a great system to navigate or use.
Engine & trans
Citroen Grand C4 Picasso7/10
Under the bonnet is a 1.6-litre petrol four-cylinder turbo unit producing 121kW of power (at 6000rpm) and 240Nm of torque (at a low 1400rpm). If you think about what other seven-seat people-movers have, that’s only okay - for instance, the cheaper LDV G10 people mover has 165kW/330Nm.
The Citroen may have a smaller engine capacity and outputs, but it’s also quite light - it weighs 1505kg (kerb weight) because it’s so small. The LDV, by contrast, weighs 2057kg. In short, it punches at, but not really beyond, its weight.
The Grand C4 Picasso is front-wheel drive, and uses a six-speed automatic transmission with a manual mode and paddle-shifters… yes, that seems unnecessary. The shifter is up on the steering column, which is an ingenious use of space, but the fact it has a dedicated manual mode means you may often choose M rather than D, particularly if you’re in a hurry.
If you plan to do a lot of towing, this isn’t the car for you. The claimed towing capacity is 600 kilograms for a trailer without brakes, or just 800kg for a braked trailer. The diesel is a better bet if that matters to you, with a 750kg un-braked/1300kg braked rating… though that’s still below average compared to some similarly priced petrol seven-seat SUVs like the Mitsubishi Outlander (750kg/1600kg), LDV D90 (750kg/2000kg) or Nissan X-Trail (750kg/1500kg).
Hey remember the Odyssey V6? Yeah, me too. It was great. Almost nobody buys people movers anymore and even fewer people buy big-engined ones, so the V6 disappeared into the black hole.
Citroen Grand C4 Picasso8/10
The claimed fuel use for the Grand C4 Picasso petrol model is just 6.4 litres per 100 kilometres, which is rather impressive. It requires 95RON premium unleaded, meaning the cost at the pump can be markedly higher than regular 91RON.
In the real world, a lot of turbocharged cars tend to be thirstier than the claim suggests, but we saw a relatively decent 8.6L/100km during our time in the Grand C4 Picasso.
By comparison, the diesel is said to use a miserly 4.5L (17-inch wheels) or 4.6L (18s).
Let’s do some maths: the average cost per 1000km, based on claimed fuel usage, works out to $65 for the diesel and $102 for the petrol, and you’ll get about 40 per cent more distance per tank out of the diesel, and typically diesel is cheaper. But even so, the extra $6000 outlay on the initial purchase of the diesel will still take plenty of mileage before you break even.
Citroen Grand C4 Picasso9/10
I’ve mentioned the word ‘charm’ already in this review, and the adjective to describe what I think about the drive experience is ‘charming’.
I love it.
It has that French suspension set-up that just doesn’t get bothered by sharp bumps because it has been tuned to deal with cobblestone alleyways. It rides beautifully at high and low speeds, loping over speed humps with ease, cosseting those in the cabin from the surface below.
It’s also tremendously quiet, with hardly any road noise intrusion in the cabin compared to the vast majority of cars out there. The coarse-chip surfaces of the M4 in Western Sydney usually offer up an ear-bashing, but not here.
The steering is like that of a hatchback, with a tight (10.8m) turning circle enabling you to pivot on yourself more readily than you might think. The steering is also quite enjoyable if you like to drive, but don’t push too hard - understeer is an imminent threat, though the grip on offer is quite good.
The 1.6-litre engine is perky enough, and responds well both in stop-start traffic and on the highway - but there is no doubt about it, the 2.0-litre turbo diesel model’s 370Nm of torque makes for motoring with a lot less effort and strain. Not that the engine in the petrol model feels like it can’t get the job done - it just feels like it could do with a little more pulling power… Again, not enough to rule it out of contention, because it’s nicely refined.
The six-speed automatic is geared towards efficiency, which means that you might find it in third gear before a hill and somewhat hesitant to drop back a gear to gather more pace. I didn’t find this too annoying, but it did help me finally understand why the manual shift and paddles are fitted.
On the whole, there is a lot to like about this: it’s a family-focused car with family-focused dynamics on all fronts.
With modest power and torque outputs and a fairly lazy CVT auto, the Odyssey is a very relaxed car. It almost encourages you to sit back and cruise. Actually, you're forced to, because it's not very quick. You can hustle if you're in a hurry, but only when it's just you on board. The 2.4-litre is readily overwhelmed when loaded up to the gills. Which, in the end, doesn't matter, because seven passengers aren't looking for the Craig Lowndes Experience in an Odyssey.
It has car-like manners and you really only feel you're in a long box when you come to park. The reversing camera is certainly helpful but the strange habit of leaving out parking sensors from the spec list (Subaru does it too) is baffling.
It corners securely and the body is kept well under control by a reasonably supple suspension set-up. It certainly rides better than the Carnival and is streets ahead of the Tarago, which is a roly-poly mess with little in the way of feedback for the driver.
The Odyssey actually puts me in mind of the smaller HR-V - competent and composed, if nothing outstanding for the driver.
The transmission also has an annoying quirk - every time you lift off, you can hear Maria Sharapova moan, or the sound of a jet engine winding down. You really only hear it when the radio is off, but it's slightly unnerving.
Citroen Grand C4 Picasso6/10
The Citroen Grand C4 Picasso was crash tested back in 2014, and managed the maximum five-star ANCAP rating. But the criteria has changed in recent years, and there are some omissions on the petrol model when compared to the diesel.
The diesel, for instance, has adaptive cruise control and auto emergency braking (AEB), but buyers of the petrol miss out on those items, and they’re not optionally available, either. And all Grand C4 Picasso buyers miss out on third-row curtain airbag coverage, with the curtain ‘bags only stretching to the second row (there are six airbags total - dual front, front side and two-row curtains).
All that said, the car is still quite well stocked with other assistance tech: it has a forward collision warning system that works above 30km/h, a 360-degree camera system (with reversing camera and front corner cameras, too), speed limit recognition, auto high-beam lights, semi-automated park assist, blind-spot monitoring with steering assist, lane-keeping assist with steering function and driver fatigue monitoring.
And for what it’s worth, the vision from the driver’s seats, combined with camera system and the clarity of the top screen, is great.
The Odyssey has six airbags and, crucially, the curtain airbags stretch the entire length of the car. You can add to the list ABS, stability and traction controls, two ISOFIX points in the middle row and three top-tether anchorages.
Irritatingly, none of the advanced safety features you might want on a car carrying so many people are available, such as AEB or lane-departure warning. Reverse cross traffic alert is only available on the VTi-S.
The Odyssey scored five ANCAP stars in May 2014.
Citroen Grand C4 Picasso8/10
Citroen has just updated its ownership promise to consumers, with passenger vehicles attracting a five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty plan, which is backed by a five-year/unlimited kilometre roadside assist package.
Previously, the plan was three years/100,000km - and that’s even what some of the paperwork on the company’s site still suggests. We assure you, though, the five-year deal is legit.
Servicing is due every 12 months or 20,000km, whichever occurs first, under the Citroen Confidence Service Price Promise plan. The costs for the first three services are $414 (first service), $775 (second service) and $414 (third). That cost cover spans nine years/180,000km.
Honda offers a five year/unlimited kilometre warranty, which goes some way to covering the deficit to the Kia Carnival's seven-year coverage.
Service intervals are every six months or 10,000km and the first 10 are covered under Honda's Tailored Servicing arrangement. This means capped pricing for up to five years or 100,000km, with costs bouncing between $267 and around $300, give or take a few bucks. Also in the schedule are a range of adaptive items. These seem reasonably -priced and include things like air filters, brake and transmission fluid.
Roadside assist is available at extra cost.