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Comparison test Vans: Grand C4 Picasso vs. Carens vs. Grand Scénic vs. Touran

Hans-Dieter Seufert
Grand C4 Picasso vs. Carens vs. Grand Scénic vs. Touran
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V ans were and are absolutely unsuspicious of a noteworthy glamor factor. An early Chrysler Voyager or a first-generation Renault Espace may be iconic today, but are they glamorous? Probably not.

A van is seldom in love. Rather, he gradually works out his place in life as a helper who is always ready. He is completely unpretentious as a moving helper, holiday calendar or leisure buddy if you don't spend quality time on the weekend sorting stamps, but perhaps paragliding. 'Ready when you are,' is the message of the diesel vans in this comparison test. Well, let's not wait long.

Citroën Grand C4 Picasso with lots of equipment and great variability

A Citroën can of course do a lot of things differently - especially if it bears the name of the great differentiator Picasso. So the bonnet of the Citroën Grand C4 Picasso is long and rather atypically horizontal for Vans, and there are two digital ones in the interior Information centers in the middle of the longitudinal axis.

You can do it, but you don't have to. Because the view of the round instruments leads away from the direction of travel. And the playfully designed displays do not inform the driver very quickly either Ease of use in all respects is not one of the core competencies of the Citroën Grand C4 Picasso, because even adjusting the air conditioning means tapping on the touchscreen.

Other things are considerably besides ser solved. The front seats even have a massage function, the tailgate closes electrically - but so violently that you should be afraid of clumsy fingers - and the second row of seats is cleverly designed: When the outer seats are pushed forward, the seat surfaces fold upright so that the way is possible to the two individual seats in the very back (700 euros) is not too narrow.

In general, the Citroën Grand C4 Picasso, which does not burn much in terms of variability, comes up with an unusual abundance of equipment details. Adaptive cruise control and lane departure warning - there are actually not many more useful ways to tune the tight base price. You can even park automatically at no extra charge.

Fine-tuning would be more beneficial for the chassis of this Citroën Grand C4 Picasso, which is also made with materials that look cheapthe quality shows potential for improvement. This van doesn't like short joints at all, appears shaky and uncomfortable to them. The comfort is better - to which the large front seats also contribute, despite the annoying head restraints on the neck - on a level road surface at a constant tempo its hard sound becomes less present. Anyone who judges agility from the tight chassis will be disappointed. Strictly understeering and unwillingly following the uninspiring steering, the Citroën Grand C4 Picasso works through corners, swaying violently and ends up sooner rather than later in the clutches of the rigidly intervening vehicle dynamics control. When asked about active driving pleasure, it does not have a satisfactory answer, but it still trumps with the lowest test consumption - 6.6 l /100 km.

Kia Carens is inexpensive but good

The Citroën Grand C4 Picasso thus marks the top of the test, while the Kia Carens is the thirstiest with 7.0 liters. Less displacement and less power are therefore not always the best recipe for cheap consumption. Buying the Kia is, at least in this round, the best way to save the household budget. Like the Renault Grand Scénic, it stays below the 30,000 euro limit and even offers seven seats as standard. The quality is hardly noticeable in the price: Everything looks carefully assembled, from the sloppy trays on the front seat backrests, however, the material towards the rear becomes easier.

The operation in the Renault Grand Scénic appears logical, the instruments are large and easy to read. The monitor of the standard navigation system is adequately dimensioned, but shows rather pixelated maps and only opens small preview windows without lane recommendations - not very effective in tricky turning situations.

After all, the variability of the Renault Grand Scénic is just as good as that of the Citroën Grand C4 Picasso with three individually foldable and sliding rear seats, and as with all competitors, the back of the front passenger seat can also be laid flat and used as a table. Driving itself is fun. The gears can be changed more precisely than in the Citroën Grand C4 Picasso, and the car is easier to hold. At a higher speed there is a comparatively lack of emphasis, but the 1.7-liter runs a little more cultivated than the French two-liter. The Kia Carens also handles springs better without deserving praise.

Like the Citroën Grand C4 Picasso, it sways vigorously during fast steering maneuvers and pushes over the front wheels at accelerated speed. And as with the Citroën, tough ESP interventions show that pragmatic good-enough quality thinking had priority over looking for the best solution. But with this complaintAlways keep in mind the low price and the extensive seven-year guarantee.

Renault Grand Scénic offers the luxury of a large space

The Renault Grand Scénic is priced in as cheaply as the Kia Carens, and in the case of the Bose Edition equipment line one cannot complain about incomplete standard equipment either. The third row of seats costs extra, and when it comes to the availability of assistance systems, the Renault Grand Scénic and the Kia are not in the forefront. But the rest of the car - it fits very well into the life of a family or a person who is active in leisure time.

Since the second row seats can only be removed on the Renault Grand Scénic, it is the only one to show off more than 2,000 liters of storage space, which also corresponds to the impressive payload of 656 kilograms. Far from such top values, but consistently at a good to upscale level, the other qualities of the comfortably resilient and cultivated motorized Renault Grand Scénic show up.

Front and back it sits better than the Citroën Grand C4 Picasso and just as well like in the Kia Carens, the digital instruments are somehow easy to read, and the operation, including the practical rotary push button between the seats, is less mysterious than a Renault newbie initially suspects. The Renault Grand Scénic, it looks pleasantly unpretentious, turned towards the practical also in the choice of materials. Yes, some surfaces could feel better. But nothing creaks, nothing cracks, and wherever you look, nothing really catches the eye.

This is a very pleasant way to live with this Renault Grand Scénic, which has so many compartments and shelves that its makers must have simply been men of practice with at least two children. The fact that the seat covers are zipped and can be quickly removed for cleaning in the event of a mishap fits into the pleasing image of this van, which is also fun to drive. The steering is comparatively communicative, cornering is definitely noticeable and balanced suspension comfort can be experienced. Even the 130 HP of the small engine are not a disadvantage worth mentioning. Because the Renault Grand Scénic is fast enough, especially since it stays quiet even at high speeds.

VW Touran with overall victory despite high costs

The alphabet plays into the dramaturgy of this comparison test perfectly hands, the new VW Touran comes last. Compared to its predecessor, which was really not a tight box, the wheelbase grew by a good eleven centimeters. The consequences for the space in the second row, where the VW Touran has the most comfortable seats ready, even exceeds the interior measurements.

Even tall guys sit herewith extra-long legs, completely unrestricted, and thanks to the boxy body, their heads also keep enough distance from the roof recesses. The driver and front passenger find space in large cushions with good lateral guidance and look at a dashboard that is tidily structured in the tried-and-tested Wolfsburg manner and is well thought-out to use. Without a long learning phase, the things of daily life such as telephoning, navigating or streaming music are done, and driving itself is more enjoyable than in any of the competitors. Neither when steering nor when shifting the cultivated and powerfully motorized VW Touran looks so-so. Rather, it pleases with its high precision, polished manners and exceptionally good suspension comfort (adaptive damper 1,035 euros).

Once you have got used to the elevated seating position in the VW Touran, you almost forget to drive a car with Can transport almost 2,000 liters of luggage or seven people (two single seats in the very back cost 640 euros extra). Yes, the VW Touran Highline is expensive and still comparatively poorly equipped. A lot costs extra, the clear defeat in the cost chapter is therefore well deserved. But this does not change anything about the clear overall victory. Because the VW Touran is the wild card in this van quartet. Without a question.

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