Recently shown at the Geneva Auto Show the new C4 Picasso is presented as an amalgamation of the mini-van, station wagon and hatchback. Based on a new "Efficient Modular Platform," the latest C4 is 308 lb (140 kg) lighter than its predecessor, thanks to a variety of tricks like an aluminum hood, composite tailgate and other lightweight materials.

Looking at the car in profile, the Picasso appears to be two cars in one. From the forward triangular window back to the color keyed C pillar the Picasso looks like it could be either coming or going. Above and beyond the A and C pillars there appears to be another design covering the fore and aft sections.

Up front the vehicle has a stubby, contemporized look, and out back, a standard hatchback treatment. But the side profiling? From the side, there be all sorts of visual incongruities going on. MPV or no, the Picasso may need to see a psychologist for borderline personality disorder. But kudos for the narrow LED light strip flowing back off the stubby nose bits: a nice touch.

Picasso’s new EMP2 platform allowed designer Fréderic Soubirou to bring in his own stylings, but more importantly brought about enhanced architectural specifications. Reduced overhang on the front end, a lower engine block and floor, and wider tracking should translate into better handling and stability. Electric power steering helps reduce road feedback to the driver while new acoustic materials and revised dampers help to further enhance the ride.

An e-HDi 90 Airdream engine, mated with a new 6-speed clutchless gearbox, means the Picasso emits only 98 g/km of carbon dioxide while getting 3.8 L/100 km. A variety of gas and diesel engines are available, including Citroen’s e-HDi 115 gas engine with 6-speed manual, or diesel options that deliver power from 92 – 115 hp and 230 – 270 Nm of torque respectively (170 – 200 ft.lbs). A BlueHDi engine that meets Euro 6 standards produces only 110 g/km of CO2 and features an SCR module (selective catalytic reduction) for managing NOx and carbon dioxide emissions.

Citroen pegs the Picasso’s top speed at 175 km/h (109 mph) or 209 km/h (130 mph), dependent on the power options selected. Its acceleration is unlikely to break records, with 0 – 100 km/h (62.1 mph) times coming in at between 9 and 13.7 seconds. But what the Picasso loses in acceleration it makes up for in mileage with impressive figures across the board.

Expansive amounts of external glass work means passengers are exposed to what Citroen denotes as a “loft-styled interior”. Picasso’s full length sunroof, the oversized windscreen and multitude of side windows equates to a glazed area of 5.3 sq m (57.05 sq ft). The car usually seats five passengers, but with rear seats down, storage capacity jumps to a best in class volume of 537 liters, or 630 liters with the front seats pushed up.

The Picasso’s front passenger seat can be folded forward to increase storage. In the back, passengers are treated as equal citizens with adjustable seat backs and fore-aft adjustments. A range of stowage compartments are located about the lofty cabin. A lit stowage compartment in the center of the dashboard, with jack, USB port and 220-V socket for a smartphone or tablet.

The Citroen features a number of first class amenities. A "Vision 360" camera system, similar to Infiniti’s, allows drivers an immediate view of their entire surroundings. "Park Assist," similar to Ford’s parking trickery, is also available long with Active cruise control, active high-beams, a predictive lane departure system and blind spot monitoring.

A full digital, touch-it-all-you-want interface is in place to assist with most everything but the driving. Stacked, one on top of the other, the upper 12-inch interface handles critical driver information while the lower 7” display controls all the in-car functions: dual-zone air conditioning, navigation, audio, telephone, driving aids, connected services, etc.

On the connectivity front, Citroen's Multicity Connect system, a portal for connected applications, is controlled from via the 7-inch touchpad. The multi-function like device provides information for the nearest gas station, hotel, restaurant, weather, traffic updates, etc.

The Citroen C4 Picasso will be launched June 2013 in France.

Source: Citroen