Citroen C4 Picasso (2013-2018) Review
Stylish and practical, the Citroen C4 Picasso is the people carrier to beat
Strengths & weaknesses
- Comfortable to ride in
- Efficient engines
- Lots of interior storage
- Doesn't feel precise to drive
- Touchscreen remains a bit fiddly
- No cheaper than a family crossover
The Citroen C4 Picasso might look like a car that puts style over substance but this five-seater people carrier is one of the most practical and versatile cars on sale.
It's focused on comfort, with a smooth ride, supportive seats and an interior that remains quiet all the way up to motorway speeds.
Families looking for a big car with extra space are increasingly moving away from people carriers like the C4 Picasso in favour of rugged-looking and taller crossovers such as the Renault Kadjar, Nissan Qashqai and Kia Sportage. Prices are generally a little cheaper than the C4 Picasso too.
But the C4 Picasso offers more flexibility. The huge 537-litre boot can be expanded even further by pushing the rear seats forward on all but the cheapest models - particularly useful if you have children who don't need a large amount of legroom.
It's not quite as tall as crossovers either. This has allowed engineers to give the C4 Picasso its cushioned ride but does mean that you don't get the same commanding position that you would in a crossover.
The focus on comfort, which makes the Citroen smoother than the Ford C-Max or Renault Scenic, means that it will lean in corners if you try and zoom through them quickly, but this is no sportscar: the steering is light, which makes it effortless to manoeuvre in car parks, but leaves you unsure about exactly how much the wheels have turned when cornering. The engines are designed for efficient, steady driving.
Apart from the small glovebox, there's little to criticise in terms of storage space. The boot is larger than other people carriers including the Ford C-Max, Fiat 500L and Toyota Verso, you can have drawers underneath the front seats, and underfloor storage in the back. These do mean that you shouldn't use a child seat with a support leg over these.
If you want seven-seats, then the larger Citroen Grand C4 Picasso has them as standard. But it is more expensive, costing £2,000 more when new. For the same price as a standard C4 Picasso, you could have a seven-seat Vauxhall Zafira Tourer or Kia Carens.
Every C4 Picasso has a 7in colour touchscreen, which was made much more straightforward and smooth to use when the car was updated. It’s still not as good as having a dial to control the functions, though. All but the cheapest C4 Picassos have a 12in widescreen display at the top of the dashboard, which you customise to display the most useful information for you.
The C4 Picasso was independently crash-tested by Euro NCAP in 2013 and scored a full five-star safety rating. The score is still valid for the current updated car. All models have three sets of Isofix mounting points to secure child seats.
|3 years / 60,000 miles
|From A (free) to C (free in the first year, £30 thereafter)
Best Citroen C4 Picasso for...
Best for Economy – Citroen C4 Picasso Touch Edition BlueHDi 120
The mid-range diesel engine has an official fuel economy figure of 74.3mpg but still delivers good performance.
Best for Families – Citroen C4 Picasso Feel BlueHDi 120 EAT6 auto
The automatic gearbox is smooth, the diesel engine frugal and Feel trim comes well-equipped with parking sensors and sat-nav.
Best for Performance – Citroen C4 Picasso Feel PureTech 130 6-speed manual
It might not feel sporty to drive, but this petrol engine is zippy enough in town and smooth on the motorway.
One to Avoid – Citroen C4 Picasso BlueHDi 100 manual
The cheapest diesel engine just doesn't have the power to cope with the C4 Picasso's bulk and as a result, feels lethargic in everyday driving conditions.
- 2013 The new Citroen C4 Picasso goes on sale. Trim levels run from VTR to VTR+, Exclusive and Exclusive+
- November 2014 Selection Edition offered for a limited prios, with 17in alloy wheels, panoramic sunroof, plus slate grey / cloth interior
- September 2016 The C4 Picasso range is updated, with updated exterior styling and additional safety options. A more responsive dashboard screen, with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, becomes standard. New trim levels (Touch Edition, Feel, Flair) launched
- May 2018 The Citroen C4 Picasso is renamed Citroen C4 SpaceTourer
Understanding Citroen C4 Picasso names
Trim level Feel
There are three trims in total (Touch Edition, Feel and Flair). Each higher level means more equipment and a larger price.
Engine 1.6 BlueHDi 120 S&S
Diesel models are marked Blue HDi, while the petrol engines are badged PureTech. The engine's size is given in litres (1.6) and some models also include the horsepower in their name (here it’s 120hp). S&S stands for stop-start, indicating that the engine will switch itself off when you stop - at traffic lights, for example - then start again when you want to move off.
Gearbox 6-speed manual
6-speed shows that the car has six gears. Automatic models are badged EAT6.
Citroen C4 Picasso Engines
Petrol: PureTech 110, PureTech 130
Diesel: BlueHDi 100, BlueHDi 120 and BlueHDi 150
The cheapest BlueHDi 100 diesel engine is basic. It even comes with dated five-speed manual gearbox and doesn’t have the power to maintain motorway speeds without having to rev the engine.
The other engines in the line-up are available with either a six-speed automatic gearbox or six-speed manual. Both are better suited to the car and its frugal engines, because they allow you to accelerate more smoothly and quietly drive along at higher speeds.
The petrol engines are best if you’re going to use your C4 Picasso for mainly short journeys or low-speed driving because they are cheaper than the diesels - the saving you make buying one is likely to outweigh the cost of their higher fuel consumption. The 110hp engine is a little bit weedy but will get you up to speed; the more powerful 130hp version will do it more rapidly.
The star engine in then line-up is the BlueHDi 120 diesel engine because it’s powerful without having to rev it. You feel a surge of power as you press the accelerator, and it’s extremely quiet at steady speeds. An official fuel economy figure of 74.3mpg still translates to more than 60mpg in real-world driving, so running costs will be low.
The EAT6 automatic gearbox works well with this engine, shifting gears quickly. You can also select gears manually using paddles behind the steering wheel.
Unfortunately, the BlueHDi 150 engine feels and sounds a little tractor-like compared to its smaller sibling, despite offering the most impressive performance figures. It's also more expensive to run.
0 - 62mph
Citroen C4 Picasso Trims
Touch Edition, Feel and Flair
Brand new C4 Picassos all come well equipped in the latest set of trim levels. It’s important to choose carefully, as much of the equipment is not available to buy unless it’s fitted as standard. So, for example, you can’t go for the cheapest car and pay extra for massaging front seats: they are only available on more expensive models where they are fitted as standard.
That said, you won’t feel short-changed by the cheapest Touch Edition cars, which have rear parking sensors, air conditioning and 16in alloy wheels, among a long list of standard equipment. Three sets of Isofix mounting points are included in the rear seats, so you can securely fix three child seats in a row if they are narrow enough.
Every C4 Picasso has a 7in dashboard touchscreen with digital radio and Bluetooth for wireless phone connection. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto software is also included to replicate your smartphone’s display on the screen.
A second, 12in screen displays information more clearly is included on cars with Feel trim, which costs an extra £1,300. This also includes has front seats that massage the driver and front passenger, larger 17in alloy wheels, parking sensors at the front, as well as the back, and blue cloth seats.
For a further £2,300, top-of the range Flair cars add a large panoramic sunroof, reversing camera, self-parking technology and a keyless system, which unlocks the doors automatically and allows you to start the engine with the press of the button. There’s half-leather upholstery and rear occupants have fold-down tables with reading lights.
Additional options include full leather seats and a 360-degree camera that provides an image from around the entire car. The £600 Driver Assistance Package adds includes a warning if you drift out of your lane, self-dimming rearview mirror and automatic headlights that can switch off main beam to avoid dazzling other drivers. For another £200, the Driver Assistance Package 2 adds adaptive cruise control to keep you a set distance from the car in front.
Citroen C4 Picasso Reliability and warranty
The C4 Picasso comes with Citroën's standard three-year/60,000-mile warranty, which is similar to that that offered by Ford on the similar C-Max model and Volkswagen's popular Touran.
The Renault Scenic and Toyota Verso MPVs offer between a four and five-year warranty with either 100,000 or unlimited mileage.
Citroen hasn't always performed particularly well in the annual Auto Express Driver Power customer satisfaction survey, typically languishing towards the bottom of the manufacturer's chart. This year it was ranked a lowly 126 out of 150 cars for reliability. Most complaints came from owner with rattly or fragile interior fittings.
Used Citroen C4 Picasso
The current generation of the Citroen C4 Picasso was launched in 2013. It’s an improvement over the car it replaced, feeling less bouncy and more nimble on the road. Fuel economy is better and it offers a new modern design inside and outside. These models are available from around £9,000.
The least-well equipped versions were badged VTR, but VTR+ models are a better buy, as they have useful extra equipment, including rear parking sensors and a digital radio. Exclusive models feature a reversing camera and sat-nav, while Exclusive + cars have leather seats and a panoramic sunroof.
These trim levels were dropped in favour of the current format this September, when the car was also updated with more efficient engines and updated technology. Crucially, this included an updated version of the touchscreen that’s used to control the car’s ventilation system, radio and phone functions. The newer version is now much easier to use, making it less distracting while you’re on the move.
Any used examples of this latest models will be rare and expensive - the C4 Picasso holds its value well. The simplest way to identify them is by their front grille. The latest car has a small grille, containing the numberplate, which is above a long black rectangular strip running between the small, round front foglights..
Earlier models have a large six-sided trapezoid grille, containing the numberplate. The foglights are separate and there’s no rectangular black strip.