Seven-seater people mover set to go on sale in New Zealand after receiving rave reviews in Europe

His boss in France owns one, his wife reckons it should be their family car, so it's an easy bet to say that Citroen New Zealand's Simon Rose will probably soon be the owner a Grand C4 Picasso people mover.

Rose expects the Grand Picasso, set to go on sale in New Zealand on March 1, to be a popular product for his brand this year.

He predicts 400 units of his French cars will be sold in New Zealand this year, with the Grand Picasso accounting for 100 of those.

And he's already had a good stab at the 400 figure, registering 50 units in January to give Citroen a record month since it began operating in New Zealand.


The seven-seater Grand Picasso was created in Europe in 2006 with a five-seat Picasso available the following year.

The all-new Grand Picasso was launched in Europe in June last year - winning Top Gear UK magazine's "Best Family Car of the Year" title with accolades from three German motoring magazines and hitting sales of 50,000.

Now Kiwis will get to see what Europe has been impressed with - with New Zealand getting the 2-litre (110kW/370Nm) BlueHDi diesel engine that has a Euro 6 emissions rating and average fuel economy figures of 4.5l/100km.

The seven-seater is paired with a six-speed auto transmission and will be available in two models - the top-spec Intensive and the entry-level Seduction.

Rose hasn't announced the price of the two models but expects it to be in the $40,000s range with seven-seater competition from the likes of the large van-like Chrysler Grand Voyager, Mazda's $58,990 SUV-style CX-9 and the smaller-sized 2-litre petrol Kia Carens.

The Grand Picasso will be aimed at families who want a distinctive-looking vehicle that is obviously European. It takes its styling cues from the chic Citroen DS5, thanks to the "boomerang-style" rear lights, while the beefy bonnet with chrome accents creates a large road presence.
Both models sit on 18in alloys, with satnav, 7in touchscreen, dual-zone air con, rear parking aid with camera, plus front and curtain airbags.

The Intensive has the added features of a 360-degree camera that makes parking a breeze, especially in busy supermarket and mall carparks.

The top-spec model also gets stop-start system and keyless entry while, for extra, you can get automatic opening boot and a panoramic sunroof.

Inside, the cabin has a spacious, even futuristic, feel thanks to the space shuttle-style wraparound head rest for the front passengers plus a large second screen in the dash that shows speed and the rear and front cameras.

One nifty family feature in the cabin is a smaller, magnifying mirror above the rear-view mirror so you can keep an eye on the kids in the back.

And it's those seats that are an important factor of the car. Each is adjustable so you can have different seating positions for the middle row to cope with legroom or as a divider between siblings.

The two front seats have massage settings and the passenger chair has a foot rest - so on long trips the fighting won't be between the kids but instead the parents as to who gets the front passenger luxury plane-style seat.

There is a middle row of three seats with two pop-up seats in the boot floor space. The third row's limited head and legroom means it's seating for kids, not adults.

With the seats down the boot space is huge; add one seat in the third row and you still have enough space for a weekend trip away but adding the seventh seat restricts you to a shopping bag-width boot space.

When Rose took his family away for weekend trip out of Auckland he had two of his sons in the middle "window" seats while another was in the third row, accessing his seat by dropping down the back of row two's middle seat.

The kids will be vying for the "window" seats in the middle row because behind the front seats are two drop-down trays with straps on the seat back to hold the screen on electronic devices, and a little light to use when driving at night.

But driving during the day around the city you know you're ub a larger vehicle so it takes a couple of city stop-start traffic light trips to get the engine and auto transmission working in sync.

Hitting winding, country roads the size of the Grand Picasso reminds me it's not a hatchback - plus you don't want your rear passengers getting carsick due to the driving.

But on the motorway the Grand Picasso comes into its own. It holds the roads firmly and in sixth gear and cruise control set to 100km/h you have a relaxing, secure ride - just as long as the kids behave.