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First look: New Picasso is latest Citroen masterpiece

Airy: Citroen says the new Picasso has the largest glass area in its class.

Citroen reveals its second-generation Picasso and this one's definitely headed to Oz

7 Aug 2006

Citroen Australia will finally get its hands on its mini people-mover masterpiece, the Picasso.

The quirky French car-maker last week released images and details of its second-generation C4 Picasso – the successor to the original Xsara-based model – ahead of its global public debut at the Paris motor show in September.

Locals will get to preview the flexible mini people-mover, which now boasts seating for up to seven, at the Australian International Motor Show in Sydney in late October before it goes on sale here in the first quarter of 2007.

Despite the popularity of similar models in Europe over the last decade, local sales of the mini people-mover segment have seen a significant decline recently – with Holden discontinuing its Astra-based Zafira and Mazda doing likewise with its Premacy.

However, with fresh-faced rivals such as the latest generation Chrysler PT Cruiser and Renault Scenic II and escalating fuel prices, Citroen Australia is confident the C4 Picasso will help re-invigorate the niche "yummy mummy" sector.

"As our fuel costs are rising and our roads are increasingly crowded, more and more motorists are having to reconsider their attachment to four-wheel drive cars as a solution to space requirements and family and lifestyle transport," said General Manager of Citroen Australia, Miles Williams.

"The Citroen C4 Picasso is the ideal alternative, building on all the benefits of the Xsara Picasso, adding new ones, such as seven seats, and providing a new family transport solution for Australia.

"We believe that the C4 Picasso could prove to be one of our most successful cars."

33 center imageCitroen Australia claims excessive demand for the Xsara Picasso in Europe restricted its availability for local importer, Ateco. However, Citroen has worked in conjunction with Ateco this time around to ensure that Australia is in line with the global product rollout of the C4 Picasso.

Powered by a choice of either a 2.0-litre petrol four-cylinder with 106kW, or the frugal 2.0-litre HDi diesel powerplant that delivers 102kW, the C4 Picasso is driven through the front wheels via a new six-speed electronically-controlled automatic transmission which Citroen claims reduces fuel consumption by up to five per cent and emissions of carbon monoxide by 5g/km.

While the basic architecture is borrowed from the stylish C4 hatch, the Picasso has a unique rear suspension with adjustable airbags and a more upright body that delivers greater interior space, class-leading seating flexibility and ‘outstanding’ visibility with a wide-angle panoramic front windscreen that Citroen says doubles the forward vision compared to conventional people movers.

With large side windows, and the biggest glass sunroof currently available on a compact people-mover – which is likely to be an option in Australia – Citroen says the Picasso has the largest glazed area of any of its rivals: up to 6.4 square metres.

Even when the sun goes down, the Picasso is full of nifty features, including reading lights in the head restraints, illuminated storage bins, a rechargeable torch in the boot and soft light emanating from the headlining. The colour from the interior lighting can also be customised to personal choice.

The dashboard has been designed to maximise storage space, including four large compartments and a refrigerated cubby that can hold large bottles.

The gearbox controls are located on the steering wheel while the selector and shift paddles are positioned on the column itself.

Like the C4 hatch, the Picasso has the unique fixed-centre steering wheel hub that features the main comfort functions and driver aids, while air-conditioning controls are located at either end of the dashboard for individual adjustment by driver and passenger.

With exterior dimensions measuring 4.59 metres in length, 1.83 metres wide and 1.66 metres high, the C4 Picasso has an exceptionally large cabin with a flat floor and class-leading elbow space across all three rows of seats. Citroen says the three second-row occupants have equal width seats, while the third row has enough space to seat two adults with bespoke footwells.

Both the second and third-row seats can be stowed away easily, creating a flexible mini-van with 576 cubic litres of storage space – the most in its class, claims Citroen.

Citroen Australia will release full specifications and pricing for its C4 Picasso following its premiere in Sydney and prior to its official arrival in Australia early next year.

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