Citroen C4 Space Tourer (2018 - 2019) used car review

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BY JONATHAN CROUCH

Introduction

If you need a family-sized five-seat MPV but don't necessarily want one, then you might want to consider this car, the efficient and surprisingly sophisticated Citroën C4 Space Tourer. You might know this model better as the C4 Picasso, which was what it was badged as prior to 2018. The French maker changed the name after a dispute with the famous artist's family, but not much changed about this likeable Gallic MPV with the badge swap. As before, it was extravagantly designed and came with some genuinely innovative features. The basics of space, safety and cost-effectiveness were all taken care of, but where this model really excels is in the other things: style, technology and a very emotive feel. By People Carrying standards, it's a bit special. But that wasn't enough to save it and the C4 Space Tourer lasted just a year on the British market before being withdrawn in 2019. Does it makes sense as a used buy?

Models

(5 door MPV: 1.2 petrol, 1.5 & 2.0 turbodiesel [Touch Edition,Feel,Sense,Flair,Shine])

History

If you'd like a spacious MPV, only need room for five and want something from the 2018-2019 period that's sophisticated and state-of-the-art, then it's to this model that we might well direct you first, Citroen's C4 Space Tourer.

You might well know this car better by its previous name, the C4 Picasso. After years of wrangling with the great Spanish artist's family, Citroen finally abandoned using Senor Pablo's famous moniker in the Spring of 2018, though only after three million Picasso MPV sales had been generated. The original Xsara Picasso model was launched in 1999, then in 2007 was replaced by the far more modern C4 Picasso. That car was re-launched in a more futuristic second generation guise in 2013, then substantially updated in 2016. Before, as mentioned earlier, being re-branded the 'C4 Space Tourer' a couple of years later.

It's tempting to think of MPV people carriers as one of the most boring sectors of car design, boxes on wheels with little wit or verve to their execution. In this case though, things are very different. Yes, what we have here is a box with wheels at each corner, but as any kid at Christmas will tell you, not all boxes are created equal. It may have been designed to go head to head with five-seat MPV rivals from this period such as the Ford C-MAX, the Renault Scenic and the Volkswagen Golf SV but in some ways, this Gallic contender feels cut from rather different cloth. Emboldened by the success of their boutique DS line of cars, Citroen decided to inject a measure of style and desirability into many of its other wares and this design certainly benefitted, still with the feel of something that's just driven off a motor show stand.

It was also available in seven-seat guise - badged predictably as the 'Grand C4 Space Tourer' - but it's the five-seat bodystyle that we're going to concentrate on here. By 2018, this variant's most significant Ford, Renault and Volkswagen rivals had been considerably improved, so in creating this model, Citroen had to do more than just change the name to keep it competitive. So the range benefitted from elements of the company's 'Advanced Comfort' programme and got the PSA Group's improved 1.5-litre BlueHDi 130 diesel engine, which could on request be mated to a more sophisticated auto gearbox than had been offered before, the replacement 'EAT8' transmission featuring much smoother shifting and eight speeds. At the summit of the range, there was a short-lived range-topping 2.0-litre BlueHDi 160 diesel powerplant. And with the plushest variants, original customers could specify a raft of extra camera-driven safety kit too. Sales lasted only until 2019, though the 7-seat Grand C4 Space Tourer model continued until early 2023.

In prospect then, what we have here is a very clever People Carrier indeed, with a glassy, futuristic combination of hi-tech style and efficient practicality that ought to stack up as a used buy. Does it? Let's find out.

What You Get

If you want to make the look of an MPV more interesting, you've basically got two options. One is to make it lower and more aggressively styled - but that'll affect practicality. The other way is to make your People Carrier look technologically sophisticated, trendy and futuristic - which is the approach Citroen took here. A huge proportion of this vehicle's original development budget was lavished on its styling, both inside and out.

We liked it back at this model's original launch in 2013 and with post-2018-era 'C4 Space Tourer' badging, this Gallic MPV remained an eye-catching thing. That certainly seemed to be Citroen's perspective, for the French maker didn't really make any significant styling changes in all the time this particular design was on sale. The aesthetics still get your attention, with a distinctive three-tiered light signature and a windscreen that flows right up into the roofline. And inside? Well the first thing you'll notice is the Panoramic windscreen. Push up the sun visor and your normal upward 28-degree angle of vision is increased to a massive 108-degrees.

The dashboard is dominated by twin screens. Virtually all new cars have some sort of central infotainment screen like this Citroen's tablet-style 7-inch 'Touch Drive Interface' lower display, but more unusual is the snazzily futuristic 12-inch panoramic HD panel up top which replaces the normal set of conventional-dialled instrument gauges. This lower monitor includes a 'Mirror Screen' feature, so you can duplicate your smartphone's display onto the monitor via either the 'Apple CarPlay' or the 'MirrorLink' Android systems. Plus you can activate compatible apps like 'Parkopedia', 'Fuel', 'Weather Crave' and 'RockScout'. Most models also got an upgraded Navigation system too, the 3D 'Citroen Connect Nav' set-up, cleverer in that the screen recognises a wider variety of contact points, so you can pinch and swipe as you would on a smartphone - or use voice recognition if that's easier. We also really like the optional rear-facing 'conversation mirror' (standard on top-spec versions) which is there to give an unimpeded view of which child has just stuffed its sticky sweet into your 12v socket.

So how will those children fare once they're installed rearwards and ready to plug their gaming equipment into one of the three 12v sockets scattered around the car? Well, pull open rear doors that open wide to a 65-degree angle for excellent access and it certainly looks pretty spacious, with comfort you can properly appreciate thanks to a proper seating arrangement. Unlike many People Carriers, this one doesn't position the unfortunate middle rear passenger with legs astride a central transmission tunnel and perched on some hard and narrow pierce of bulging foam. Instead, there's a completely flat floor and a rear cabin seating area made up of three separate identically-sized chairs that can be reclined and folded flat independently of one another. Avoid entry-level trim and you'll find that they can be slid backwards and forwards too.

When the hatch is raised, you'll find yourself gazing at the largest cargo area in the class from this era. Even with the seats slid right back, it's 537-litres in size up to parcel shelf height - and you can increase that to as much as 630-litres if you push the three chairs forward.

What You Pay

There are certainly bargains to be found here. A 2018 1.2-litre PureTech 130 petrol model with typical 'Feel' trim values at around £14,850 (around £17,250 retail), rising to around £16,500 (around £18,900 retail) for one of the last late '19-plated versions of the same model. Want a diesel? A 1.5 BlueHDi model on an '18 plate with 'Touch Edition' trim values from around £12,600 (around £15,000 retail), with one of the last late '19-plate models valuing at around £15,700 (around £18,100 retail). All quoted values are sourced through industry experts cap hpi. Click here for a free valuation.

What to Look For

Most buyers of the C4 Space Tourer that we surveyed were very satisfied but inevitably, there were a few issues with some cars. Most of the issues that arise tend to relate to things like the air conditioning and various spurious warning lights illuminating on the dash. Check these things on your test drive. One owner had a problem with the electronic handbrake that stuck on and stranded him. Others complained about starting problems, electric window squeaking and an engine management light that kept coming on in the dash binnacle. One owner had a problem with a drive belt that came off the runners. Look out for all these things when you check out used stock. A problem with the AdBlue system could mean that models made between October 2019 and March 2020 don't clean up their exhaust emissions properly. A Citroen dealer software update should have solved this problem, so make sure that's been done if it applies. Some models built in May 2018 had a loose oil sump plug; again, if that applies, make sure the recall work took place. Otherwise, it's just the usual things; check for alloy wheel scratches and interior child damage. And insist on a service history.

Replacement Parts

(approx based on a 2018 C4 Space Tourer 1.5 BlueHDi) Consumables for the Citroen C4 Space Tourer are reasonably priced. An air filter sits in the £10 bracket, an oil filter is around £7 and a fuel filter will sit in the £16 to £27 bracket. Brake pads sit in the £26 to £46 bracket for a front set (£28-£58 for rears), while front brake discs sit in the £52 to £70 bracket (£71-£114 for rears). A wiper blade will cost in the £7-£21 bracket to replace. A radiator is in the £147-£212 bracket. A water pump is around £21.

On the Road

On the move in a C4 Space Tourer, the driving experience is a little bit different from what it would be in other rival family MPVs. There isn't much fun to be had in terms of driving dynamics but in compensation, you float over road imperfections, marvel at the unusually hushed levels of refinement and enjoy the benefits of a commanding driving position. That's a huge help at roundabouts or when parking and, with the panoramic screen, makes it seem like you're suddenly viewing the world in high definition.

Under the bonnet, most original buyers chose the volume 1.5-litre BlueHDi diesel powerplant offering 130hp. There's also a 2.0-litre BlueHDi diesel option with 160hp. Elsewhere in the range, the efficient 1.2-litre three cylinder PureTech petrol engine was offered in 130hp form. Most models came with auto transmission option too, the jerky old six-speed 'EAT6' self-shifter ditched in this C4 Space Tourer favour of a much smoother eight-speed 'EAT8' unit that was optional with the two 130hp powerplants and standard on the top BlueHDi 160 diesel.

Overall

Not every family needs seven seats in an MPV and for those that don't, the C4 Space Tourer offers a smartly-styled, hi-tech equipped and very practical alternative. The improvements that came with this model's change of name were welcome, though most of them were targeted at pricey variants. There's no doubt though, that this design had evolved by 2018, having come on a long way since we first saw it back in 2013. Back then, the futuristic looks always seemed a little out of kilter with the old-tech petrol engines and rather basic levels of media connectivity then provided. With all this sorted, this C4 Space Tourer could offer perfect proof that a People Carrier might be able to do more than just provide comfortable, efficient transport. It could be. well, what Citroens once were: clever, futuristic, expressively designed. Cars you'd be genuinely proud to own.

We think you'd feel like that if you needed a model of this kind and this were on your driveway. Get a model whose original owner ticked all the right boxes and you'll get an MPV that really seems to have been created with a bit of love. From the panoramic windscreen to the optional lounge-style massaging passenger seat, from the widescreen HD instrument display to the fact that you can sit and Facebook your friends on the touch screen, it's a car you'll feel has been designed just that little bit differently.

In short, there are pleasing signs here of the Citroen we used to know. The manufacturer that took risks, pushed the boundaries of technology, created magic and brought us cars that sat apart from the ordinary norm. If that sounds appealing and you're in the market for a model like this one, then we think you'll find a lot here you'll like.

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