“Good morning ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. I hope you’re enjoying your journey on board the Citroen Grand C4 Picasso. We are cruising at a steady 38.7mpg, and as you can see through the panoramic sunroof, the weather is typically awful. Radar collision alert is active, and for your personal comfort, feel free to adjust your seating position and climate control...”

After 12 months running the exceptionally frugal yet uninspiring Toyota Prius Plug-in, I’ve moved into upper class to take charge of our luxurious Citroen Grand C4 Picasso.

Yes, it’s big and practical, which is exactly what you would expect from a seven-seat MPV, but the levels of comfort and refinement have been a revelation. 

Last autumn I borrowed editor-in-chief Steve Fowler’s Range Rover and was blown away by the quality and detail. The inside of our Citroen is the closest I’ve come to that kind of luxury since.

Our Exclusive+ model comes with leather front seats that are exceptionally comfortable. They adjust electrically, and have heating and massage controls to the side. The passenger also has the option to recline and raise a footrest, which gives my wife the option to nod off on long journeys. 

Plus, the dash layout and displays are simple and elegant. They hide a depth of technology, media and safety controls that take time to master, but are intuitively designed without the need to reach for the handbook.

Cabin materials mirror this simplicity, with a top-quality look and feel to the touch-sensitive controls and trim.Aside from the comfort, the option to transport seven people rather than five is a real luxury. One-car journeys are now the norm, so extra passengers in the form of grandparents, cousins or school friends can all be accommodated – even with guitar-shaped luggage!

These passengers have been overwhelmingly positive in their response to the Citroen. They love the widely adjustable rear seats with their acres of legroom. In fact, they’ve praised everything – from the individual rear climate control switches to the vast headroom and huge panoramic sunroof – and made references to ‘flying first class’ and ‘travelling in style’.

Any car would struggle to compete against a Prius Plug-in for economy, and the C4 is currently returning a mere 38.7mpg on my daily city commute. It’s made for fuel-sipping on long French autoroutes, but the responsive diesel makes the Picasso surprisingly fun on twisty country lanes; it’s less exciting in town, although stop-start does kick in to make the best of my daily delays. It also records time spent stationary – up to a quarter of my daily commute!

My next big trip will take the Citroen to the Dordogne in France for a family break. Many people would dread such a long drive, but I can’t wait for take-off.

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