The exterior of the new, 140kg lighter, five-seat Picasso features a contemporary front-end design that Judge Dredd would be proud of! The futuristic front lights help distract you from the fact that Picasso is first and foremost a big box built to carry people!
I love the chunky front end and general quirkiness of the exterior. The car looks very solid and the latest design is an improvement on what was one of the better-looking compact MPVs to begin with. Side-on, you see functional, wide-opening doors.
Access to the car is blissfully easy, as you seem to just step into the seat in one movement. The larger 537-litre boot is accessed via a large one-piece tailgate – it could be lighter to use, plus shorter drivers might find it a bit of a reach to close. The boot features a flat load area that is set nice and low. My test car came with an inflation kit, so no spare wheel.
The massive amount of glass used hints at an airy cabin, and the five-seat Picasso doesn't disappoint. Inside, the seats are individually adjustable (including sliding forwards and back). Passengers get a commanding view of their surroundings. The driving position is good, but drivers need to get used to looking through acres of glass via the massive, panoramic windscreen.
The base of the windscreen is so far away from the driver it's in another time zone! Thankfully, the pillars that divide the panes of glass are thin, so forward vision isn't compromised. The interior trim materials used feature some innovative embossed plastics and some nice colour combinations. Picasso continues to be a stylish and fashionable MPV.
Picasso has some wonderful toys to play with depending on specification: VTR, VTR+, Exclusive and Exclusive+. On 'VTR+' models there is a DAB (digital) radio tuner in addition to FM/AM. Also, connectivity for smart phones etc is excellent via the centre cubby. Exclusive and Exclusive+ get a 12-inch HD panoramic screen mounted in the middle of the dashboard (above the seven-inch touch screen). It displays the speedometer plus a host of selectable items. There are a few 12-volt charge points in the cabin, too. Other mod cons available include Park Assist ('Exclusive+') that will manoeuvre the car into a parking space for you. 'Multicity Connect' allows users to access a multiple of apps via their 3G network (Facebook, Tripadvisor, traffic updates, weather etc).
On the open road Picasso is quiet, which is impressive when you consider it has such a big cabin. The ride comfort is also impressive and although it's no sports car, you can make swift progress without much effort or discomfort. Our 115hp diesel, six-speed manual test car never felt short of power and was very economical on fuel.
To make driving even less stressful our Exclusive+ test car comes with massaging seats in the front, plus the passenger gets an extendable leg cushion with their 'Relax' seat. The kids in the back have no complaints on cold mornings as this specification gets four seat heaters as standard!
Prices start at €24,495 for the five-speed, 90hp petrol Picasso and rise to €35,095 for the range topper, the diesel automatic.
Picasso is a great-looking compact MPV that is very easy to use.