The interior designers have really come up trumps with the C8, which to my mind is a very stylish and exceptionally well thought-out 7-seater – and it looked particularly good in the ‘Wicked Red’ of the review vehicle.
While the 2-3-2 layout is standard in cars this size, it’s the little things that make all the difference to those with young children in tow, like kids being able to move easily about the cabin when parked at the side of the road for a bite to eat. With this in mind, the hand brake has been moved over to the outside of the driver’s seat so as to leave a walk-through gap between the two front seats.
The three tiered dashboard is almost space age and has everything you need need to see centred and within easy reach, the dials in a very fetching light green background. Two big lidded compartments are placed on the top of the dash, while the gear shift and air conditioning controls are on a little binnacle that juts out at the bottom of the central area.
I particularly liked the sliding side doors, which can be opened electrically, either by pushing buttons inside or with the key-fob. No straining here, and a lesser liklihood of chopping fingers trying to slide a door closed.
It’s also fairly easy to get in or out of the two very back seats as the two middle row end seats roll forward and tip over for easy access. If you wish you can remove all five back seats for a huge cargo area.
Finding somewhere to store all the precious little items kids want to take along is no problem with this car, which has over 50 storage areas, including a hidden one beneath the front passenger seat. A neat drawer at the lower end of the central console has an air-conditioned section for keeping cans nice and cool.
Need to do a little work on the laptop or perhaps the little ones might like to do some serious crayoning? Just fold the rear seats down and – voila! – you have a practical desktop. There are also aircraft style tables with integrated cup-holders at the back of the front seats.
I have to say that driving the car at first proved a bit awkward for me as my right foot on the accelerator tended to catch against the wheel arch. However, I got used to the pedal placing after a while.
For long distance trips on an open road, the review car with the 2-litre 110bhp diesel was perfectly adequate, though I suspect the 2.0-litre 138bhp petrol engine might be be more suited in power terms to the size of the car, especially if you have to wind it through mountains with a full family and luggage on board, or when you’re pushing it through. But the diesel engine is a very, very quiet drive, and the big 80-litre fuel tank will take you nearly 700 miles … good for travelling down through France on a family holiday, for instance. At 40mpg, which is very good for a car of this size.
On such a trip, the whole family will be able to comfortably see the countryside go by, as the C8 provides really good all-round visibility, especially up front from the huge sloping windscreen.
The C8 is high on standard equipment, including ABS, six airbags, remote control central locking, air conditioning, automatic headlamps and wipers, those twin side sliding doors, trip computer, rear park assist, CD, ‘guide me home’ headlights and. It also comes with a very stylish pair of roof rails which can be stored together at the back of the roof to give a spoiler-type effect.
Overall, there’s an elegance from this Citroen which is not always available from some other MPVs, and I left it back with some wistful thoughts about a long drive into the sun sometime.