Family feud

Battle lines drawn as French scuffle becomes weighty issue



ďOOH, Daddy, is this the blue car that Mummy hates! Why do you still have it?Ē

My daughter moons up at me from the back of the Citroen C4 Picasso Marriage Wrecker, looking at me like she canít understand how Iíve never noticed what her motherís wrath is like.

Itís fair to say things have not improved in that department, but Iím almost refusing to be swayed and I am still shouting loudly in favour of the cool-looking Citroenís versatility and amenity.

It spent the start of its Wheels tenure with Mr Ponchard, who is about as likely to be found in a second-hand Ssangyong Stavic as he is to be seen ferrying children around. Heís so Sydney-cool heís going to need to have a hipness replacement when he gets older.

Ponch loved the Picasso, surprisingly, but I like it for very different reasons, like the fact that it can return a solid fuel number (unfortunately itís still expensive to run, because it takes a minimum of 95 RON) despite carrying around so much crap.

Any car used by a family is up against it when it comes to matching claimed fuel figures, frankly, because young children in particular are seemingly incapable of leaving the house without at least three of their favourite toys, a drink bottle and two interesting sticks they found between the front door and the car.

They are also infuriatingly incapable of being able to remove most of these things from the vehicle when they get from the vehicle when they get home. The inevitable result, unless you have servants, is that your car becomes cluttered to the point of being weight-handicapped by various crap (Iíll take responsibility for the 50 copies of Vanity Fair in the boot, and Iíll claim that they were there for rear downforce).

I realised just how bad this problem is when shooter Wielecki and I went out to snap some Picasso-like pictures and he could barely fit his camera gear, and his surfboard, in the usually vault-like interior.

I could easily be carrying around an extra humanís worth of unnecessary crap (including at least two bags of clothes that my wife likes to keep in the back of every car weíve had, possibly on their way to a Smith Family bin, or possibly just there until the end of eternity).

Itís possible the Picasso might save more fuel if I left the idle-stop system on, but I must admit itís starting to get to me with its eagerness to turn off and reluctance to re-engage. Being left with dead steering as youíre about to make a right-hand intersection dash is no fun, either.

So Iím not sure thatís to blame for this monthís less pleasant 12.2L/100km figure. I think an angry right foot might be to blame.


Date acquired: June 2015 Price as tested: $47,890 This month: 329km @ 12.2L/100km Overall: 3076km @ 9.3L/100km

Push my buttons

What leaves the bitter taste of defeat in my mouth this month is the fact that you have to press no fewer than three buttons to turn off the confounded idle-stop system, which is too eager to engage and then lets the car roll back before it fires up again.

Worse still, you have to turn the damn thing off every time you drive, which is, as someone in my house may have mentioned, extremely annoying.