LONG gone is the time when all drivers expected from a people carrier was space, space and more space.

The popularity of the vehicles quickly moved them out of the utilitarian van-like sector, with their soaring levels of comfort and equipment.

They have reached a new peak in the sleek Citroën Grand C4 Picasso which is probably the most practical, versatile and elegant offering in the seven-seat segment.

Priced £1,700 higher than an equivalent five-seat New C4 Picasso, the range starts from about £19,000, rising to more than £27,000.

All models sport the same light and airy cabin that offers an uncluttered feel thanks to acres of space for the driver and up to six passengers.

Technology is state-of-the-art and the dashboard houses both a seven-inch touchscreen and a 12-inch digital display. The list of systems fitted is simply too long to run through but suffice to say it ranges from keyless entry and start, reversing camera and electric tailgate, to a four-camera, all-round panoramic display and automatic assistance when parking into a tight space.

Oxford Mail:

  • The interior

Like the five-seat C4 Picasso, the upper 12-inch display can show all sorts of information and can be changed in various ways, while the lower seven-inch touchscreen controls many of the vehicle’s functions.

Should you wish, you can scroll through screen after screen, selecting front, rear or all-round cameras and electronic parking assist systems, not to mention the audio, climate control and satellite navigation, and that is all before you hook up your smartphone to the system.

But where the car scores its highest marks is in its fine balance between ride comfort and road-holding, which combine to deliver an impressive driving experience.

Like the five-seater, this is a car that comes alive when given the chance for an effortless spell of long-distance cruising.

Everyone on board is treated to a panoramic view, while the suspension soaks up bumps, without being overly soft in bends.

Luxury car features range from active cruise control and active driver and passenger front seatbelts with motors that pull the belt tight automatically in the event of danger, to automatic high beam headlamp operation, ultrasonic blind spot monitoring and a lane departure warning system.

The three second-row seats are divided into three and fold easily, and access is easy to the rear-most pair of seats thanks to a neat tilt-and-slide mechanism. But it is the people at the front who get most pampered, with a pair of front massaging seats and an airline-style footrest for the front passenger.

The family-friendly feel continues even at night, with white LED lighting on the ceiling, backlit storage spaces, trays on the front seat backs, and inner door handles, helping to create a cosy glow.

The Grand C4 Picasso still offers masses of space, but it is skilfully blended with pace and not a little grace.