The dream of extreme sportiness and everyday life, fantasy and reality, the forcefulness of a flattish shape and the huge spaces in an MPV. Among the most appreciated novelties at the Paris Show, the two new models from Citroën – the C-Metisse and C4 Picasso – seem to be the interpretations of cars at the antipodes one from the other.

The MPV for large families and serene journeys on the one hand, the individualist, unconventional red fury on the other. In actual fact they are closer together than they seem, at least as regards their ability to respond well to a common demand: namely, the public is less and less willing to buy a car solely because it is sporty or only because it is practical. They ask for more. The C4 Picasso “is a car you buy out of necessity: kids, luggage… a purchase driven by reason, not by passion. By contrast we wanted the buyer to regain pride in his vehicle, to possess it and drive it. This is why it was important to raise its level in the form of more status and more sportiness”, explains Oleg Son, the MPV’s design manager.

Red and muscular, like a true sports car, “shape-wise the C-Metisse is a rather bold vehicle which forms part of the general trend of brand renewal we have been working on for some time. In terms of substance, it is an intelligent object that explores alternative propulsion systems, that seeks innovation. The designers were given great freedom of action and this led to a really interesting result”, comments Jean-Pierre Ploué, design chief of the French manufacturer.

The two cars are part of the ongoing commitment to rebuild and rejuvenate the brand image to attract young people who have to buy functional cars out of necessity, but who do not stop dreaming. “We had an advantage with the first Picasso, and this could not be ignored. This is why we wanted to retain the softness of shape that distinguished it from other, boxier MPVs. The C4 Picasso is highly functional, but it is also very similar to a saloon”, stresses Ploué.

The article continues in Auto & Design no. 161

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