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2007 Citroen C4 Picasso Review
by Karl Peskett

2007 Citroen C4 Picasso

Test model: 2007 Citroen C4 Picasso HDi

Recommended retail price: $39,990 (2.0 Petrol), $44,990 (2.0 HDi diesel)

CarAdvice rating: (3.5)

2007 Citroen C4 Picasso Review
2007 Citroen C4 Picasso Review
2007 Citroen C4 Picasso Review

By: Karl Peskett

When you buy a people mover, it’s usually out of necessity. Hauling about the kids and their associated gear is the intended role. But rather than settling for a box on wheels, families are opting for seven-seat 4WDs. The reason? In general, they look better than people movers and, owners will tell you, they have the option of going off road.

The great round-Oz trip beckons. But how many actually do it ? Meanwhile there’s the fuel consumption, parking woes, interior packaging, and of course the dirty looks from those who attribute global warming solely to you and your 4WD.

To cash in on the enviro-friendly move away from 4WDs, Citroen has launched its new people-mover, the C4 Picasso. It’s been deliberately styled to distance itself from the traditional box-style seven-seater and, in the metal at least, it’s a looker. Certain elements of the C4 hatch have been carried through, to give it a clear family link.

2007 Citroen C4 Picasso Review
2007 Citroen C4 Picasso Review
2007 Citroen C4 Picasso Review
2007 Citroen C4 Picasso Review

The chromed double chevron grille sits in line with the rest of the Citroen range, and its side profile is inoffensive, even stylish. Fibre-optic brake lights are a highlight, as are the integrated vertical lip-spoilers in the brake light assembly, which give extra directional stability. On the launch drive this was put to good use at speed, where cross-winds presented no challenge.

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The C4 Picasso’s dynamics are a mixed bag. It will hang on to the road on smooth asphalt, with no significant understeer, but is caught out on extra rough patches of the road with a skittish rear end. Potholes crash through the cabin, with stuttering suspension travel. On some undulating sections of the roads around Ku-Ring-Gai Chase in Sydney the Picasso showed up its most significant downfall – poor body control.

The Picasso bounced up and down to the point of almost inducing motion-sickness. The drive route was completed one-up and possibly more weight over the rear axle would help with the back end being too light. But the planned pneumatic rear suspension won’t take away the fact that the C4 Picasso feels underdamped.

2007 Citroen C4 Picasso Review
2007 Citroen C4 Picasso Review
2007 Citroen C4 Picasso Review

On the road, the electric steering is light but feel-deprived, and the brakes start out spongy, but progressively bite harder when pushed. Pedal travel is worryingly long, though and the positioning is curious with the pedals feeling like they’re almost underneath you.

The footrest is also quite close, with your left leg seemingly propped up instead of being rested. Some people will appreciate the higher driving position though, and it was helpful to be able to see ahead and follow the other cars on the launch drive.

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The steering houses controls for all sorts of functions, and in general it’s intuitive, the only problem coming when you turn the wheel quickly. Because the radio controls sit on the fixed hub, you can inadvertently change the station as your hand brushes against the small scrolling wheel.

2007 Citroen C4 Picasso Review
2007 Citroen C4 Picasso Review

Also, the rim of the wheel and your hand block the view to the demisting buttons, mounted with the climate control on the right side of the car. Audio controls mounted lower or behind the wheel would have been better too.

Amazingly, for the sporty types (don’t laugh now) Citroen have seen fit to mount gear-change paddles behind the wheel. Not sure why, because the Aisin auto is good enough to not warrant it.

Packaging is a highlight, with every conceivable nook and cranny being utilised for storage. There’s underfloor lockers, dashtop gloveboxes, fold-out door bins, aircraft-style seat-back tray tables, etc. Even the boot is useable when the third row is unpacked.

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Safety is also commendable with a five-star Euro NCAP rating. Inside, every seatbelt has its own monitor, so you can tell if young Johnny has unclipped himself, and there’s a kiddie-watch mirror for settling familial arguments.

2007 Citroen C4 Picasso Review

Where the C4 Picasso is going to dominate, is in the price. It is simply loaded with kit. The petrol 2.0-litre starts at $39,990 and with 2 models to choose from, (the petrol, and ubiquitous 2.0 diesel at $44,900) the only options are sunroof ($1750), metallic paint ($700) and a $6500 Premium Equipment Pack, which includes full leather, an ambient LED lighting package, and slightly different trim.

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Rear parking sensors, auto-wipers, auto-headlights, speed limiter/cruise-control, puddle lights, sunblinds, sliding and folding seats, air quality monitor, colour-changing dash, drinks cooler – all come as standard. In a first for this price bracket, the Picasso comes with four zone climate control.

You also get a boot light which doubles as a rechargable torch (nice touch, that), air freshener with different fragrances, fixed hub steering wheel allowing a larger airbag, electric park brake and tie-down points all over the place. In the value-for-money stakes it presents a good argument.

According to Ateco, Citroen’s Australian importer and distributor, the soon-to-be-added pneumatic suspension is probably going to add around $2000 to the base price, but based on the damping-rates with the fixed steel arrangement, it will have to transform the car to be worth it.

Citroen’s marketing strategy will be interesting to watch. The petrol and the diesel cars are line-ball in performance. Citroen are heavily pushing diesel too. At the launch, Citroen openly told us that the sticker price for the petrol will bring people in the door. We’re told that once they drive the diesel, and recognise the benefits that it brings, they’ll happily fork out the extra $5K premium. We’ll wait and see.

Citroen Oz will says its Picasso is the new lifestyle vehicle. It’s intended to pull buyers away from seven-seat 4WDs and other people movers. If you’re after a seven-seater that at a price (almost) has it all, and you’re willing to overlook its suspension flaws, then the C4 Picasso might just do that.

  • Duck

    I say…….this has got to be one of the best people movers on the market for its price, shame it does not come in a V6, but it undercuts the Toyota Tarago by nearly $10,000, same price as the Grandis, but not the Kia Carnival which is $8,000 cheaper, but id rather forlk out another $8000 for the Citroen C4 Picasso or even better go for the Disesel. Im very impressed with Citroens work. The only dissapoint would have to be the Suspension and the driving pedals for me. The vision is terrific! And the only people mover i would consider to buy then this would have to be the Honda Odyssey which costs $39,290 and thats a tricky one to choose between!

  • http://navelcontemplation.blogspot.com/2007/03/i-don-get-fashion.html supercujo

    If I was in the market for a people mover (currently have an ’07 Liberty wagon), this would be in my list of cars to drive. The Carnival feels cheap, the Odyssey has horrid rear visibility, the Tarago is just way too pricey and looks like a hire car and there aren’t many other options at that level.

    As people start to pull away from 7 seat 4WDs, the C4 could definitely get a fair few sales.

  • Martin

    This a very unfair test, most media in Europe have given the Picasso much, much better reviews. I’ve driven it by myself too and it’s surely the best minivan in its class, drives better and offers more than its competition (R Scenic, VW Touran, Opel Zafira, Mazda5 etc.).

  • Guido Euroland

    Duck ..you wouldn’t want a v6 if you drove the 2.0 diesel believe me. Your only gain would be the nice tone of a V6.
    There are better people movers but not at this price. Typical Citreon styling flair but will it be reliable.

    There is a 1.6diesel in Europe but don’t bother if you want decent performance

  • http://www.caradvice.com.au Karl Peskett

    Martin, most media in Europe don’t have to put up with the rubbish roads we have here. Unfortunately, Citroen hasn’t tuned the suspension to suit, and the car suffers for it.

    That said, the rest of the car is very good. It’s just that the suspension is a very big flaw.

    Don’t forget too, this is a quick test, not our usual week-long review.

  • Myke

    ^We also dont get the Zafira, Touran and Maz5. So unlike Europe, we don’t have a lot to compare the C4 too.

  • realcars

    Unusual for a French vehicle to have a bad ride over rough surfaces. They usually excel in this regard especially Citroen. Like the profile but don’t like the centre speedo arrangement. The innovation and flair evident keeps automotive development marching forward which is good.

  • Foggy

    I’ve had this exact same car (including the colour) for about 6 months now, and whilst I agree with the few shortcomings that Karl has mentioned, I’d consider them fairly minor in the context of its role as a people mover.

    Yes, it’s a bit twitchy when negotiating mid-corner bumps, but realistically, the soccer mum crowd won’t be concerned if their lap time suffers slightly as a result.

    The ride is a little harsh because of the (beautiful) 17″ wheels and low profile tyres, but this is one of the things that makes it so much more stylish/attractive than other people movers.

    After 6 months of ownership and day to day city driving, with a few country trips thrown in, I am very satisfied with the overall package that the “Pikachu” offers…. and I certainly believe it deserves at least 4 stars in your ratings.

    The PSA 2.0 diesel is a marvel, and the Aisin 6 speed box should provide years of trouble free service. As with any manufacturer, the claimed fuel consumption is a little worse than the figures they suggest.

    What sets this car apart to me is the flexibility of the seating and storage, and the available space in a package that is externally similar in size to most mid size cars…. this thing is a Tardis!

    The individually adjustable 2nd row of seats is brilliant. The (actually useable) 3rd row that folds flat into the floor is something that other car manufacturers seem to be baffled by.

    The little things like
    – the built-in window blinds
    – large boot area where the rear windshield isn’t raked so steeply that it cuts your load capacity in half
    – the quad-zone aircon with individual controls
    – the huge moonroof coupled with the massive windscreen that makes nighttime driving an absolute pleasure
    – the uber-comfortable driver & passenger seats
    – the conveniently placed child seat anchor points (Honda, please take note)
    – the style, and many admiring looks and compliments that you get
    – the ability to have 7 seats with the attached stigma of being one of the “SUV crowd”
    – the service intervals of 20,000km
    – Having a speed limiter AND cruise control. The speed limiter is so useful on our camera infested roads
    …and the list goes on

    For what it’s worth, I also love the paddle shifts and use them quite regularly, not for every gear change, but for when I want to override the software’s decision of when to change up or down.

    As far as reliability is concerned, the first 6 months has been trouble free, and the vehicle feels as solid and well put together as it was when new. These vehicles are built in Vigo, Spain and waiting lists in the UK are still almost 6 months.

    I look forward to your full review, and I hope you have a few kids on hands to assist you with reviewing how this car performs in real life situations.

  • McLovin

    Hi Foggy, how much exactly does your 6 month old Picasso use on diesel/petrol?
    i do like its unmatched features against the common people mover out there (Tarago, Odyssey, Grandis…etc etc)
    The turn offs would definitley be the suspension as the reviews would always mention.
    Would there be any after market suspensions available to solve this problem?

  • Foggy

    Hi McLovin, I’m getting about 9L/100km with city driving on Sydney’s congested streets, which is the majority of driving that I do. On country trips, I get about 7 L/100km. Don’t be fooled into thinking you’re going to save a lot of money on fuel though, the 20 cent premium that diesel seems to attract is nigh on scandalous.

    There is an answer to the suspension “issues” …. the factory option for pneumatic rear suspension. I would have got it for sure…. except for the 6 month wait to get a “custom order” at the time, because none of the stock that Citroen Australia brought into the country had it.

    I also know another owner who asked the dealer to order an additional set of the 16″ wheels (the standard wheels for the petrol model) and have them fitted to soften the ride. He still has the unused 17″ wheels in his garage for when he decides to sell the car.

  • Guy UK Boy

    Yep that diesel premium cost is a rip off although its only about 12-13 cents here. Apparently its something about the energy per in a litre of diesel is greater than a litre of petrol and the goverment reflect this in the taxation. We’re being ripped off again.

    Welcome to rip off Britain the land of empty wallets.

  • Duck

    Why dont we get the Zafira and Mazda 5 in Oz!!!!!!!!!11

  • Tonyn

    prob cause holden tryed the zafira and it failed miserably!!

  • Andrew M

    20,000 service intervals? gee id hate to see the oil when you pull the plug out of the sump

  • Duck

    So the Zafira is good for Europeans!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Duck

    OK why dont we get the Mazda 5 in Australia?

  • No Name

    Mazda 5 – Because it don’t have a V6/8 which means it won’t go down well with you lot and it only does 0-100 in 10.5s.

    The Aussie car market is so small the economics of bringing it over to sell small numbers don’t add up.

  • Foggy

    In response to Andrew W’s question about 4 comments above, being a little “old school” myself, I too was very sceptical about this.

    I’ve spoken to a few mechanics and engineers about the longer service intervals, and there’s definitely a variation of opinion on the subject…. However, I’m inclined to believe one of the guys who said that the production tolerances and material selections in engine construction, coupled with the appropriate synthetic oils will ensure that these PSA engines are easily capable of achieving the claimed 20,000km between services (including oil changes).

    The trick is to do your best to make sure that the servicing dealer uses exactly the same oil specified by the manufacturer, as many of them do skimp in this area.

  • o

    the new zafira in UK is well worth a look at. it looks like an astra wagin but with better proportions and height the idiot falcodore range though couldnt put up with a 4cyldinder engine and not being able to go off and speed and drag whenever they want

  • alex

    hello foggy and everyone else, writing from Cyprus thinking of buying the picasso woried a bit for reliability never had a Citroen.

  • Andreas

    Hi Foggy, I am also from Cyprus like Alex and was thinking of buying the C4 Picasso but was worried about the reliabilty of the car.

    Although, at first glance the car impressed me and seemed a good quality product generally. I am mainly worried about other issues which might have been carried over from the c4 hatch, and if the engine will last.

  • Foggy

    Here’s an 18 month (25,000 km) ownership update, especially for Alex and Andreas in Cyprus, if you haven’t yet bought one and are still concerned about reliability:

    Things I love about my “Pikachu”

    * The style. I still enjoy looking at it and admiring its beauty, especially in comparison to the other people movers. We get plenty of positive comments from people about our little spaceship.

    * The seating flexibility. With dog crate, prams, luggage, baby seats, bikes, scooters etc. you can always find a way to make them all fit.

    * The uber-cool retracting visors and the massive arc of visibility that they provide.

    * The reliability. No breakdowns or any bits falling off yet (touch wood)

    * The Leather seat option pack. Although it’s a huge additional cost, the seats are so supportive and comfortable and the memory for seat & mirrors is a massive plus when we regularly alternate vehicles.

    * The folding electric mirrors that are part of the leather option pack are very useful when you have a narrow driveway or garage as we have.

    * The optional panoramic roof is worth every cent. With the size of the glass on the roof and the massive windscreen, it almost feels like you’re driving a convertible.

    * The massive boot space.

    * That little rechargeable torch has come in handy a few times. The plethora of cabin lights also come in handy when travelling with children at night, as do the tray tables with night lights.

    * The dual (front & back) aircon is great, especially when you have a child asleep in the back seat.

    * The integrated retractable sun blinds are so much nicer than having to use one of those window socks (which tend to become a permanent obstruction for a few years).

    * The relatively small external shell means it’s easier to park than many mid/large size sedans.

    * The baby seat anchor points are in the most convenient location of any car I’ve seen.

    * You can fit three child safety seats abreast in the centre row without it being squishy.

    * In the Citroën tradition, it’s a great highway cruiser, with every occupant looked after and not feeling closed in.

    Things I’m not so thrilled about

    * The sun reflecting off the chrome trim on the dashboard glovebox and the double chevron on the steering wheel hub. This chrome is part of the Leather Option pack.

    * The fuel economy is still not as good as expected. About 9.5L/100km around town, and about 6.8 L/100km on the highway (with a full load). Not as good as advertised.

    * The long front overhang, especially as we have a steep approach angle on our driveway. Suffice to say that the front air dam has a lot of scratches.

    * The tyre wear. The Michelins are a very soft compound, and will probably need replacing at about 35,000km of mainly city driving.

    * The complexity and features mounted on the steering hub is still a bit too complex compared to other implementations that use additional stalks for things such as cruise control.

    * The acceleration off the line could be improved if first gear was a bit taller. The engine certainly has enough torque for it.

    * The electronic parking brake is annoying when you just want to push the car forward a fraction in the garage, you need to start the engine to release the park brake.

    In summary, I still love my Picasso, I’m still adamant that this is definitely one of the most practical family cars.

    • Freya Davidson

      Hi Foggy, Thanks for all the info. I am hiring a C4 4 Picasso in London, to use while we are over there. We have a baby and need to hire a baby seat with the car in London when we get to Heathrow. The hire co. are telling us we can just fit the seat in ourselves as it is just fastened with the seat belt , is this legal?? Bearing in mind we will be on a street while doing this…Can we anchor it ourselves, reading your piece re: baby seat anchor points in a convenient position, do we need to take an extension, and the bolt perhaps , any advice would be great!
      Thanks to everyone.

  • Alek

    Hi Foggy
    I assume that you got the diesel model… is it correct? How do you rate the panoramic roof on hot days (i.e. 30-40 degree days). Does the air con cope well? Did you have any squeaks / rattles? And what do you think its overall built quality compared to Honda / Toyota? Re. Michelin tyres, do you think they will they perform better (have more millage) if slightly over inflated? How do you rate the service costs… at same/average level or higher compared to other brands?
    Many thanks

  • CESAR Augusto

    3 anos?????

  • http://www.pat-testing-expert.com Pat Testing

    Love Citreon, wouldnt get me driving anything else! – especialy this model!!

  • http://www.pat-testing-expert.com Pat Testing

    Love Citreon wouldnt drive anything else, love this model and my next new car will be the same!

  • http://what? Princhester

    Can anyone answer Alek’s question about heat and the glass roof? This car ticks every box for me but I usually don’t even buy cars with a sunroof because they get so much more heat in: it’s like buying a greenhouse to drive round in. Anyone experienced this with the Picasso?

  • KN

    Hi foggy, can you give a bit of update after 33 months of driving the car.

    any issue with its reliablitly as i heard they tend to break down quite often ?

    also the brochoure says it comes with bluetooth, does that mean there is a bluetooth phone system?

    many thanks

  • Foggy

    It’s been a while since I’ve come back to check the comments on here, but here’s a quick list of things to note after having had this car for 5 years.

    My wife has been the main driver, and has done about 70,000km of ferrying the kids around mainly in inner city conditions. The drivetrain has been faultless in that time.

    I had some relatively minor issues with trim, namely:
    1. Passenger side visor was not locking in to the forward position and kept sliding back on takeoff. Ateco refused to accept the problem, but the dealer has implemented a fix.

    2. The electronic handle to open the tailgate broke loose twice. It is a flimsy design that I hope Citroen have since rectified. The first time it was replaced under warranty, and I had to fix it again last month, but it was much worse as the entire plastic moulding was coming off.
    Once again Ateco denied all responsibility, but my dealer did an excellent job of repairing it with some additional screws and some plastic welding.

    3. Switches on electric mirrors and drivers window weren’t working consistently. Dealer found that there was some dirt buildup on the switches which is very likely as the car has been parked under a pine tree at night for some years now. Switches cleaned and problem is now fixed.

    Other than these things, the car has been flawless for the last 5 years. I see many people posting comments on car websites about the poor reliability of Citroens, but I have been very happy with mine after 5 years.

    I think the trick to good reliability is to ensure that it is maintained by the right dealer. From my experience, many of the dealers just have Citroen as another niche brand in their stable, and their dealerships and mechanics aren’t as committed to the specialist care and understanding required to service vehicles with such complexities. I travel to the other side of town to have my car serviced by the right dealer, even though I have another Citroen dealer only 5 minutes away. The trip to Roselands is well worth it!

    Fuel economy is around 9.5L/100km on what is mostly short 5-10 minute trips to shops/schools etc. in the horrible Sydney traffic.

    For those that have asked about the sunroof; the electronic blind does a fantastic job on a hot day, and you can’t notice any difference between a car with no sunroof.

    I’m thinking about a DS5 now, but it doesn’t appear to be big enough internally to suit my needs, so it looks like I’ll have the Picasso for a little bit longer.