After driving both MPVs, are you ready for my verdict on these 2 French MPVs?
As a family man with 3 kids and a helper, gone are my bachelor days of a 2 door coupe or a normal saloon. With the addition of car seats and the potential of grandparents in the car, many of us see the need for an MPV. The Citroen Grand Picasso (C4Gp) and the Peugeot 5008, are therefore good additions to any family. Personally, I have driven a Toyota Wish (Japanese MPV), and although it is reliable, the Japanese Toyota Wish or Honda Stream are just not as “thoughtful”. They do not have enough passenger compartments, electrical gadgets, and the safety ratings to keep drivers coming back.
On the other hand, continental Cars are a different cup of tea!
With 1.6 Turbo Engines, and competitive pricing, these French MPVs offer the option of Category A COEs (Toyota Wish and the Honda Stream are in Category B, which are more expensive) and cheaper Road Tax. At current pricing levels, the Japanese Toyota Wish is about the same price as a Citroen Grand Picasso, and thus they are definitely worth considering.
As the Citroen Grand Picasso and the Peugeot 5008 share similar platforms, it is natural to ask, which is better! Here is the verdict:
1. Peugeot 5008 has a better gearbox.
My Citroen C4GP has a 4 speed gearbox, which is primitive as compared to the Peugeot 5008. Current variations on the Citroen have a 6 Speed EGS, which is very difficult to drive, as it makes the car really jerky.
According to the Sales Executives I spoke to, the Peugeot 5008 has a 6 speed Triptronic gearbox, which is also used by the Lexus. On the road test, the gear box was smooth, and I thoroughly enjoyed the drive. With the smooth transitions, I managed to get better fuel mileage off the Peugeot, although they have similar engines! Therefore, if saving fuel is a major concern, this is another plus for the Peugeot!
2. Which car is more family friendly?
The Citroen Grand Picasso wins in this area. The Citroen has 2 extra big glove compartments on the top of the dashboard. I use these compartments to put all my petrol and membership cards and they are really useful!
The Peugeot 5008 is constructed with a shorter dashboard, and these extra compartments are not available. The shorter dashboard means there is more leg room for the front passenger, and it also gives the car a more “Cockpit” feel. However, the “Cockpit” also takes away the “Air Chillier” box found in the main console area. Side pockets on the Peugeot are also smaller, and the Citroen wins hands down in terms of functionability.
Overall, both the French Cars fare very well in this area compared to the Japanese and German counterparts. The Volkswagen Touran may be more “nippy” but it has less cabin space, and has basic amenities.
3. Which is more value for money?
Both cars beat the Japanese and German Counterparts in terms of gadgets. With Cruise Control, Dual Zone Air Con Controls, Blue Tooth Speaker Phone, Auto Dimming Rear View Mirror, Panoramic Moonroof, Pilot “Heads Up” Display (For the Peugeot 5008 only). At the current car prices, these cars give you the most gadgets with your $$$
4. Are the Cars Reliable?
This is the toughest question to answer! After owning my Citroen Grand Picasso for 2.5 years, I can tell you many things about my Citroen
In the brief 2.5 years, I can tell you that I have changed my battery 3 times!
On my Japanese Wish, I have only changed my battery ONCE in 5 years. If Both the French cars are on the same platform and running on the same electronics, expect to change your car battery regularly. The worst thing is that they “Konk out” without warning, and as the car is power electronically, nothing works when the battery is down!
If you think that it is just my car, GOOGLE IT! I have talked to numerous Citroen drivers and we all share the same fate. Each battery will cost about $200 to replace, and I have heard from the mechanics at Citroen, that the batteries only charge when you travel at 80km/h. Do you know how difficult it is to hit such speeds regularly in Urban Singapore. It is no wonder, that the car batteries have such a short life span…
In the 2.5 years, I have owned the C4GP, I have replaced my catalytic converter (Who on earth replaces those…), my fan belt, tensioner, my gearbox…Seriously, the car does not seem to last in the Asian Climate. Some people may think that I have got a “Lemon”, but I have hung around the service centre long enough, to know that I am not alone with some of these problems…
In fairness to the Peugeot, I have not owned one before, as I have only test drove the car for a week, but I think that one has to look into the reliability question, when checking out the Citroen or the Peugeot.
Some people take the plunge with the Citroen, as it is handled by Cycle and Carriage. If you are looking for better service with Cycle, I think all their best guys probably service Mercedes Benz only. The Citroen SEs at Cycle do not return phone calls, and are really slow in their service. They take a long time to get back to customers, and with the more expensive repair bills (As compared to a Japanese MPV), they make the experience difficult to swallow.
Although there seems to be many maintenance problems with the French MPVs, I can tell you that they are really fun and functional cars to drive. With their stunning good looks, both cars handle very well for an MPV. This is probably the reason why my Citroen Grand Picasso is still sitting in my driveway, and with the astronomical COE prices, still very much part of our family. If you are looking to buy either car, do get the cars armed with Warranty for at least 5 years. The extra warranty will be worth your peace of mind, and one which your wallet will enjoy as well!