By Chris Dell
People carriers or MPVs are no longer selling in the numbers they once did, now that fashion has moved towards the SUV end of the spectrum. However, MPVs are still a very practical and useful option, not least because of the space and flexibility they offer.
The choice isn’t as wide as it used to be, but Citroen still offer ‘proper’ MPVs in the guise of the C4 SpaceTourer and the rather larger Grand SpaceTourer.
The C4 SpaceTourer is an update of the previous C4 Picasso, so it offers the same qualities, but with a new name and with a new engine/gearbox option – a 2-litre HDi diesel with eight-speed automatic transmission, as used in the car that we drove. This diesel is automatic only but the petrol model is available with manual or automatic transmission.
With 160hp the 2-litre engine delivered a good level of performance – particularly useful for overtaking – and the automatic gearbox generally behaved very well, so well in fact that in the higher gears most changes went unnoticed.
The gear selector lever is an interesting change from the norm: rather than the usual fairly chunky floor-mounted control, this SpaceTourer has a delicate little lever, located above the windscreen wiper stalk. This is very elegant, but it may take a while for the driver to become accustomed to the unusual location.
The interior is smartly finished and it has some really nice touches, such as the door handle trim plates, which add a certain flair to the car. There’s also plenty of space and having three proper seats in the back helps make the SpaceTourer a better choice for five than some of the alternatives, especially as a decent amount of rear legroom is available. The car’s airy feel is particularly welcome on longer journeys.
The suspension is very soft, presumably to try to improve ride comfort on poor roads, but the softness allows the car to move around significantly on demanding roads or when driven in anything approaching a sporty manner. Consequently the SpaceTourer is at its best when driven gently.
The light steering means little effort is needed when driving the car and the tight turning circle helps make it city-friendly. Overall a C4 SpaceTourer is a spacious but quirky family-friendly load carrier; it may not be as exciting as some alternatives, but it’s more practical than many, and it’s undoubtedly somewhat ‘different’, if you like to stand out from the crowd.
Where cost is concerned, the entry-level model, the 130hp 1.2-litre petrol-engined “Touch”, starts at £22,365, with the 2-litre diesel starting at £28,120. At the top of the range is the 2-litre “Flair”, costing £30,855 on the road.