The Citroen Grand C4 SpaceTourer offers sharp styling that does a good job in disguising the fact that, like all seven-seat MPVs, you're basically buying a big box. With economical BlueHDi engines, great safety provision and lots of glass, this Gallic MPV feels several notches above the class average, especially since the introduction of a more sophisticated top-spec engine and auto gearbox combination, plus extra safety kit.
As ever, the engine choice is naturally weighted towards diesels because that's what Citroen does very well and it's also what British customers expect to buy. The 1.5-litre BlueHDi 130 will continue to be the big seller. There's also a pokier 2.0-litre BlueHDi 160 diesel option too, mated to a new 8-speed EAT8 auto gearbox. Petrol customers get a PureTech 130 petrol unit. And there's the option of the brand's smooth EAT8 auto transmission.
Stick with the diesel and you'll find that the 130hp unit offers reasonable acceleration, the engine note is muted and it shares the same improved body control and sharper steering that's engineered into all of the latest Grand C4 SpaceTourer models. Citroen also claim that the suspension has been tuned to work with a variety of wheel sizes, so you won't be punished with an unduly harsh ride if you opt for a bigger set of alloys.
On the move, don't be put off by initial unfamiliarities of design and drive. After all, you probably wouldn't be looking at this Citroen in the first place if you didn't want something just that little bit different from the usual character-free compact people carrying experience. Just enjoy this car for what it is as you float over road imperfections, marvel at the unusually hushed levels of refinement and enjoy the benefits of a commanding driving position that's a huge help at roundabouts or when parking and, with the standard panoramic screen, makes it seem like you're suddenly viewing the world in high definition.
On to design. The change of name hasn't come with a change of look, so these revised Grand C4 SpaceTourer models keep the previous Grand C4 Picasso's three-tiered light signature at the front, which is synonymous with Citroen's contemporary design language. The grille is separated into two parts by the body-coloured bumper and sports a glossy black registration plate mount and a second air intake. Plus there are smart 3D-effect rear lights, classy 17-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels and buyers get the option of a black two-tone roof, with the option of a silver coloured roof bar option.
Otherwise, it's much as before, with clever interior packaging that designer Frederic Soubirou is clearly proud of. We like the optional lounge-style front passenger seat that features an extendable foot rest and massage function. On a more practical note, you get up to 793-litres of bootspace when the third row of seats is pushed into the floor, a total that can rise as high as 2,181-litres with the middle row also folded.
Those middle row seats can be slid back and forth, reclined or folded flat independently of one another. What's more, the floor is devoid of a raised tunnel, aiding utility still further. The side windows do angle in fairly sharply which can make taller rear seat passengers feel a little pinched - and the rearmost pews are really only suitable for kids. Other than that it's hard to find fault. Materials quality in the cabin is smart, with classy metal finishes and simple yet effective ergonomics, something we have rarely been able to say of previous Citroens.
In summary, whether this French MPV will appeal depends upon your priorities. There may be some buyers in this segment for whom ultimate driving dynamics dictate the choice of a Ford or a Vauxhall in this segment. I can only imagine these people to be in the minority though. Most in search of a modern People Carrier prioritise practicality, running costs and clever design. If, as here, they can have all of this with class-leading style and technology thrown in, then so much the better.
This Grand C4 SpaceTourer offers perfect proof, if you ever doubted it, that an MPV can do more than just provide comfortable, efficient transport. It can be.. Well, what Citroens once were: clever, futuristic, expressively designed. Cars you'd be genuinely proud to own.Click here to find out more about our Citroen Grand C4 Space Tourer range