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Citroen reveals C4 Picasso details

Date: 15 September 2006

Citroen has given the world press an exclusive look at its all-new C4 Picasso, a month before it makes its global debut at the Paris motor show.

Slotting in between the current Picasso and the C8, the C4 Picasso, a seven-seat mini-MPV, will go head-to-head with the new Ford S-max and class-leading Zafira.

The current Xsara-based Picasso soldiers on and will continue to be made for "years to come" according to one senior Citroen exec. Expect the ageing six-year old Picasso, currently the 18th best-selling car to business, to remain on sale in the UK for as much as 18 months.

At 2cm shorter than the large C8, the C4 Picasso dwarfs its smaller Xsara Picasso brother, offers a considerable amount of interior space and an all-important third row of seating. Like the best in the segment, the it also offers fold-flat seating and plenty of clever seat-folding flexibility.

Thanks to an electronic handbrake and optional six-speed automated manual, the front interior space has been freed up. Add in the clean and simple central instrument cluster and there's an overwhelming impression of uncluttered simplicity. Instead of a floor-mounted gear change, drive and reverse are selected by a wand sprouting from the steering column, with the option of manually changing up and down using a pair of paddles.

The interior is light and airy too. All C4 Picassos gain a huge panoramic windscreen and large glazed areas as well as an optional panoramic roof - great for kids, if you believe Citroen. Following a recent investigation they found children look out car window 40% of the time. What they do for the other 60% of the time is anyone's guess.

Family-orientated buyers will rejoice in the amount of cubbies and storage areas available. There are no less than four spacious glove boxes incorporated in the dash. Like the current Picasso, the new car sites speedo, tachometer and satnav in the centre of the dashboard.

The technologically advanced C4 Picasso offers some novel solutions to make life with an MPV easier. Not only does it offer the dual climate control, there's also a quad climate control option.

Other surprise features include a novel park assist program that measure parking gaps as you drive past - up to speeds of 20mph.

Coping with the extra weight of rear passengers, certain models also receive self-levelling air suspension that can be manually lowered for loading.

Crash testing should result in the maximum five-star Euro NCAP test with engineers suggesting that a maximum four stars for pedestrian safety might be on the cards.

Prices have yet to be announced, but expect the range to start at £16,000 and the C4 Picasso to mirror its Xsara brother, with a 50-65% retail fleet split and a strong push towards the user-chooser market.