Citroen C4 Picasso (2013-2018) Expert Review

Citroen C4 Picasso (2013-2018) Expert Review

The Citroen C4 Picasso is a five-seat people carrier with futuristic styling that combines technology, safety and practicality in a package that will have real appeal to families. There are petrol and diesel alternatives, and the latter have overwhelmingly found favour with frugal owners, thanks to their fuel economy and relatively low running costs.

Fact File

Body Styles

  • Five-door MPV

Years Available

2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018

Main Rivals

Introduction

Citroen C4 Picasso (2013-2018) Expert Review

MPVs, or people carriers, were a popular family car option in the early years of the millennium. Their practicality – especially seven seaters – was a real boon to those parents who had kids and kit to carry, but they were often seen as a bit dowdy and the very nadir of driving as an enjoyable activity.

Some of that was justified, but carmakers responded with turning up the design wick and offering consumers MPVs that could actually be considered quite stylish.

A case in point is the Citroen C4 Picasso, which went on sale in 2013. OK, so it might not exactly be a work of art worthy of the great Pablo it was named after, but it certainly had real kerbside appeal. From its LED daytime running lights at the front, linked by a chrome strip incorporating the Citroen chevrons, through its well-proportioned side profile, to its almost handsome hatchback at the rear, the C4 Picasso is a car that refutes the idea that MPVs have to look dull.

The interior continues the theme, with an airy, spacious feel, complemented by a clean, unfussy dashboard. This is well laid out, with the upper trim levels having two displays – a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment display in the centre console for controlling all the car’s functions (sat nav, Bluetooth, climate control, etc), plus a 12-inch HD screen above, which displays driver information. There are also steering wheel-mounted controls, but Citroen has gone a little bit overboard with them, in our opinion. Drivers will undoubtedly get used to them, but it might take a couple of weeks after taking delivery of the car before that happens.

There’s no shortage of space in the five-seater cabin, especially in the back, where there are three equal-sized seats, as opposed the usual smaller middle seat; they all move forward and backwards independently, too, which is neat. Headroom and legroom in the rear are plentiful, too, so adults can sit in comfort.

In terms of boot space, there's a 537-litre capacity that expands to 630 litres when the rear seats slide all the way forward and, when folding the rear seats flat (and they do go flat), it increases to 1,851 litres. The Volkswagen Touran is the only rival with a bigger boot (695/1,857 litres).

On the road, the C4 Picasso handles perfectly decently: it can’t quite match the Ford C-Max or Renault Scenic, but it does the job without any drama. There’s plenty of grip and the steering is accurate, but the body does roll a fair amount in the bends. However, the compromises are in the pursuit of better ride quality. Citroen knows a thing or two about building comfortable cars, and the C4 Picasso does nothing to damage that reputation. Bumps and broken surfaces are absorbed really well, creating a fuss-free experience for the occupants, which is always a major plus when carrying family around.

None of the engines offer massive performance – the 0-62mph times of all the variants hover around the 10-second mark – but the diesels are generally quiet, only becoming gruff under hard acceleration. The C4 Picasso’s soundproofing also performs well, with little wind- or road noise intruding into the cabin, even at motorway speeds, reinforcing the relaxing nature of the car.

Three Things To Know

Citroen C4 Picasso (2013-2018) Expert Review
  • Citroen is very keen on its cars being as safe as possible, so the C4 Picasso was awarded five stars by Euro NCAP after a rigorous set of crash tests. All versions have six airbags, three Isofix anchor points and the usual stability control, while top-spec cars also feature adaptive cruise control, forward collision alert and blind-spot monitoring. Owners are also able to add optional features such as lane-departure warning, adaptive headlamps and surround-view cameras, so look for these in a used vehicle.
  • The C4 Picasso was launched with four trim levels. The entry-level VTR has standard equipment that includes 16-inch alloys, dual-zone climate, cruise control and a seven-inch infotainment touchscreen. VTR- adds automatic lights and wipers, rear parking sensors and DAB radio. Exclusive has the aforementioned 12-inch digital instrument panel, 17-inch alloys, sun blinds on the rear doors, satellite navigation and a reversing camera. At the top of the-range, Exclusive- adds safety technology, 18-inch alloys, an electric tailgate and front parking sensors. In a 2016 facelift, the trims changed to Touch, Feel and Flair: essentially, Touch replaced VTR-; Feel took over from Exclusive (but with front parking sensors and a better infotainment system); while Flair is much like the previous Exclusive-, but with the addition of full-length glass roof.
  • In 2018, Citroen dispensed with the Picasso name – the licence it had with the estate of the late, great artist expired – and changed the name to C4 SpaceTourer. So if you’re looking at used examples, cars with the SpaceTourer name will have been registered after May 2018.

Which One to Buy

Citroen C4 Picasso (2013-2018) Expert Review
  • The most economical C4 Picasso is one powered by the 1.6-litre diesel engine that is the core engine in the range, but with different power outputs. Our pick is a 118bhp version (Blue HDi 120) that officially returns 74.3mpg (according to the old NEDC fuel economy testing regime).
  • If you don’t want a diesel, there are two petrol versions, with our pick being the 1.2 PureTech 130 three-cylinder unit being the most efficient, returning an official fuel economy figure of 55.4mpg. It’s powerful enough – it produces 128bhp and 0-62mph takes 10.1 seconds – and it feels fairly refined for a three-cylinder engine.
  • If safety is your priority, we’d recommend going for the fully loaded trim level, which was called Exclusive- before 2016 and Flair after that date. It has adaptive cruise control, forward collision alert and blind-spot monitoring, but look out for cars that also have the optional Serenity Pack, which adds even more safety kit.
  • If you want to sync your smartphone, you’ll need to look for the facelifted cars from 2016 and after. The Feel trim level added a number of additional features to the infotainment system, which included Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, so you can sync your smartphone and access some of the apps while on the move.

Running Costs

Citroen C4 Picasso (2013-2018) Expert Review

Around 90% of all Citroen C4 Picassos are sold will with a diesel engine of one kind or other, so fuel economy is clearly, and understandably, a priority for the vast majority of owners.

Most of the diesel engines are variants of the 1.6-litre HDi unit, with tweaks and updates during the C4 Picasso’s time on sale. At the time of the initial launch there was an 89bhp variant, called HDi 90, with the e-HDi 90 mated to the six-speed automatic gearbox, with both returning 74.3 mpg (although this figure was arrived at under the NEDC test, so in the real world something around 60-65mpg is more likely). This was later tweaked to provide another 10bhp and became the BlueHDi 100, with the official fuel economy remaining the same.

The Blue HDi 120 adds a little more power, but the economy figure is the same, so it’s probably the sweet spot in the engine range. With a little more power still, the 2.0-litre BlueHDi 150 (later, the BlueHDi 160) is a little less economical, but 70.6mpg (which is probably 55-60mpg in real-world driving conditions) is still pretty impressive.

A couple of petrol engines, for those drivers who cover the majority of their miles in town, are also worth considering, especially the 1.2 PureTech recommended above. An official 55.4mpg is pretty good, even if it's more likely to be 40-45mpg in the real world. The THP 165 engine, which was retired from the range in 2016, claims fuel economy 50.4mpg.

With Vehicle Excise Duty (car tax) based on emissions up until April 2017, the amount of CO2 the different versions of the C4 Picasso emit could be important depending on when the car you're looking at was registered. The 1.6 diesels mostly emit less than 100g/km, so if the car was registered before that date, you won’t have to pay anything in tax, while the 112g/km of the BlueHDi 150/160 and 1.2 PureTech’s 115g/km will mean annual bills of £30 a year. The 140g/km of the THP 165 commands an annual bill of £150. If registered after April 2017, the date the VED tax rules changed, then you'll pay an annual sum of £150 on all variants regardless of engine.

Insurance groups are fairly low, starting at 14 and going up to 25 (out of 50), so most family drivers should have reasonable annual premiums.

Citroen doesn’t tend to charge a huge amount for servicing and, for cars over three years old, a fixed-price service deal is available, with prices starting at around £115 for an interim service and £195 for a full service.

Reliability

Citroen C4 Picasso (2013-2018) Expert Review

The one area in which Citroen cars often fall down is in the area of reliability. The company has improved over the years in which the C4 Picasso has been on sale, but in many of the leading customer satisfaction surveys, it tends to be in the lower reaches of the tables of most reliable manufacturers.

The C4 Picasso doesn’t make many appearances in reliability surveys, but its seven-seat sibling, the Citroen Grand C4 Picasso, doesn’t tend to fare well. One survey reported that 22% of cars suffered a fault, with electrical issues the most common problems, along with suspension glitches. Other issues included those to do with the battery, bodywork and engine. The good news is that most cars were repaired in less than a week, with 90% of repairs being free: however, some owners reported having to spend more than £1,500 to rectify problems.

The Citroen C4 Picasso does have a three-year/60,000-mile warranty, though, which is the same cover available with its Ford C-Max and Volkswagen Touran rivals. Meanwhile, the Renault Scenic and Toyota Verso both came with longer warranties originally: four-years and 100,000 miles with the Scenic and a five-year/unlimited mileage guarantee with the Verso. The Kia Carens, meanwhile, had a seven-year warranty.

The CarGurus Verdict

Citroen C4 Picasso (2013-2018) Expert Review

The C4 Picasso is a very able car and it’s fair to say that in many ways it could be considered a class leader.

It is certainly one of the best-looking MPVs on the market and, when you step inside, it continues to impress with the quality of the materials and the way in which the cabin and the controls are laid out. It’s also spacious and feels really airy – especially if you manage to bag a car with the full-length sunroof – while the rear has plenty of room. It’s a very comfortable way to travel and there’s the extra practicality of lots of useful storage spaces and cubbies. It’s also very safe, especially if you have one of the higher trim levels, which have more safety equipment fitted as standard.

The only caveats are that it isn’t as enjoyable to drive as the Ford C-Max and, the biggest, that it isn’t the most reliable model in the class: the Toyota Verso and the Kia Carens are better bets in this department. That said, the C4 Picasso probably offers the best all-round package in the five-seat MPV class.

Search for a Citroen C4 Picasso for sale on CarGurus.

Updated by Craig Thomas

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