CITROEN will release a smaller version of its acclaimed seven-seat Grand C4 Picasso people-mover in Australia early next year to take on the likes of the Mazda 6 and Hyundai i40 Tourer.
Dropping the “Grand” prefix but scoring a sleeker rear-end silhouette, the C4 Picasso also ditches the third-row pew for a stylish, yet practical, five-seat wagon alternative.
Although the newcomer sits on a shorter wheelbase, the Citroen C4 Picasso and Grand C4 Picasso will share everything forward of the B-pillar as well as underneath, including the all-new EMP2 front-drive modular platform that also underpins the second-generation Peugeot 308 out soon.
One big change, however, is the switch from a diesel to petrol powerplant in the more petite C4 Picasso, courtesy of the PSA Group’s e-THP turbocharged 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine that develops an impressive 121kW/240Nm.
Mated exclusively to a six-speed automatic transmission, it will major on low fuel use and emissions, aided by idle-stop technology. The Grand’s e-HDi turbo diesel may come later if demand exists for it.
Sime Darby Group Australia marketing manager Dimitri Andreatidis told Wheels that the success of the seven-seater Picasso had paved the way for the baby Grand’s arrival in the first quarter of 2015.
“We’re very excited about the Picasso,” Andreatidis said. “The Grand Picasso has been very well received in Australia. The dealers and consumers have responded very positively. It is being well supported.
“It’s also a brand halo vehicle for us, in that it brings to life our brand signature of creative technology. It has been designed for families. The only difference between the Grand and regular Picasso is the number of seats.”
Andreatidis said both C4 Picassos would target families seeking European style, technology and efficiency, but at different stages of life and transport needs.
Since its February launch, the latest Grand C4 Picasso has become the bestselling Citroen passenger vehicle in Australia – although its paltry 173 sales year-to-date is a drop in the ocean compared with the 1644 units recorded by the people-mover market-leading Honda Odyssey over the same timeframe.
The first-generation C4 Picasso was only sold in seven-seater guise in this country from 2007, though a smaller version was always available elsewhere.
The latter’s direct predecessor – the Peugeot 306-based Citroen Xsara Picasso – was released in France in 1999.
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