By on April 2, 2013

The MPV segment, so popular in Europe, was basically invented by the French. The Renault Espace, the grandfather of the modern minivan, was originally supposed to be a Peugeot, until PSA deemed it too expensive and sold it to Renault. Nearly two decades later, Renault disrupted the segment again with their compact Scenic minivan, which spawned imitators from nearly every single brand.

Citroen’s newest MPV, the C4 Picasso, is a massively important car for PSA and the French car industry. It’s not as sexy as the Renaultsport or Alpine products coming down the pipeline, nor does it have the enthusiast-weirdo cachet of previous PSA products. But this car will be one of the products that determines PSA’s future. Having missed the boat on making a push in the low-cost segment, the C4 and the Peugeot 208 will define the next generation of PSA products, as the two brands attempt a convoluted re-positioning in the marketplace.

The Picasso is the first car to ride on PSA’s new EMP2 modular architecture. The Picasso will be chock full of PSA’s latest tech, from blind spot cameras to massive touchscreens to adaptive cruise control. New diesel powertrains will offer in excess of 70 mpg on the European cycle and C02 emissions on par with a Toyota Prius; not hugely exciting, but if you ever hail a cab in Paris, you’ll probably be riding in one of these.

PSA desperately needs to C4 to succeed. As the test best for their next generation architecture, the future of PSA hangs in the balance. Strong sales will mean a whole new generation of EMP2 based vehicles. Failure could entail another bailout or worse.

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19 Comments on “The Most Important French Car Of The Decade Is A Minivan...”

  • avatar
    Mr Butterfly

    Sickly headlight epidemic has finally spilled over to Europe.

    • 0 avatar

      Its like a toned down version of the mess on the Juke. Why are designers creating multiple lighting pods these days? Do they just like putting holes in sheet metal and filling them with LEDs? Also is the new thing to make the windshield go half way up the roof to make up for the high belt line and loss of visibility over the hood? Sure the greenhouse is bigger but its just a view of the sky. Then again this is Citroen so all these design cues make perfect sense.

  • avatar

    Sunroofs and sky lights are great, but skinny A-pillars rule.

    • 0 avatar

      I don’t think they rule when they require a secondary window to make them skinny. DLO fail. Despite that, this is a sexy looking minivan.

      • 0 avatar

        DLO fail? Really–did you look at the pics? Would it be even sexier for you if the secondary window was covered in black plastic?

      • 0 avatar

        Form follows function. Function is to hold up the roof in the unlikely event of a rollover and also allow for decent sightlines every day. Two skinny A pillars with decent visibility is better than one broad one without same for everyday driving. DLO that says otherwise is what’s a fail.

  • avatar

    I kind of like it and 70mpg too.

    • 0 avatar
      spreadsheet monkey

      And that’s Imperial gallons. Equates to 80+ mpg when converted to US gallons.

      • 0 avatar

        You’ve got that backwards. Imperial gallons are bigger than US gallons, so a bit less than 60 mpg in the States… still good mileage though!

      • 0 avatar

        “On the European cycle”, however, so the theoretical E.P.A. or real world M.P.G. would be less.

        Carbon emissions are close to a Prius, so if you apply some conversion factor to account for burning diesel instead of petrol (a gallon of diesel has more carbon) you’d probably get about, say, 50- 60 M.P.G.? Still nothing to sneeze at.

      • 0 avatar

        You do realise that the U.S. gallon is smaller, right?

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    At this point, I think that if they make something that is decently priced, has at least a small bit of design taste, and acknowledges the priorities of its prospective customers, they’ll be just fine. I don’t know about pricing, but it looks like they’ve hit those other two targets…

  • avatar
    Felix Hoenikker

    It’s sort of a wagon
    Has a stick shift diesel.
    But, are the seats made from the foreskin of a whale’s member?
    If so, it could be the TTAC holy grail of autos

  • avatar

    I have always liked that – especially Citroen – French carmakers offer very distinctive styling, even if I don’t always like the result. I rather like this result.

    Same with Chrysler in North America. I may not like models like the 300, Charger, Avenger personally, but at least the company has been willing to do something other than small variations on the universal blob shape.

    I do wonder about the nomenclature. The dimensions of the C4 are nearly identical to our Mercedes B-class. The latter is a B-category car, the former gets classified as an MPV. Apart from the whim of the manufacturer, is there any objective criterion that determines this?

  • avatar

    Daft Punk, your vehicle is ready.

  • avatar

    I’m usually indifferent to the fate of corporations, but I REALLY want PSA to make it. I don’t care about Peugeot, and being Canadian, it is unlikely I will ever own a Citroen, but I just feel better knowing they exist. Because Hydropneumatic. and insane.

  • avatar

    You watching Honda? Make your cars look like this – interesting!

    I really like it, and it doesn’t have any goofy minivan cues to it. I really like the lights, just don’t care for the lower grille portion they filled the diamond plastic lattice.

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