FRENCH car makers have led the field in providing practical family transport for decades.

In an age when the crossover is king, they are still winning hearts and minds by providing spacious and well-equipped MPVs that are also stylish and easy to drive.

A perfect example of this is the Citroen Grand C4 Picasso, which will appeal not only to families but also businesses looking for low-tax costs.

The trick here is to offer a best-in-class combination of style, comfort and advanced technology, along with a spacious and versatile interior. And this car pulls off that trick.

This seven-seater has a flexibility that makes it the perfect family load-lugger. But while others might offer a rather drab interior, the Grand C4 Picasso appears futuristic thanks to the split touchscreens that dominate the dashboard.

But there’s a lot more to it than that. This is such a beautifully designed car, with light flooding in from all angles, plenty of space for seven if the rear load space is not required and a giant windscreen that provides a peerless forward view.

Superbly adaptable for family life, it even comes with three child seat anchorage points and a comprehensive range of safety equipment.

The Grand C4 Picasso was refreshed a year ago, bringing subtle external re-styling and revised trim and powertrain options.

In addition, it gained new optional driver assistance packages and active safety systems such as active lane departure warning and blind spot monitoring.

Available with Touch Edition, Feel and Flair trim options, prices range from £23,420 to £30,845.

I tested the Flair edition, which comes with a host of top-end features such as a panoramic sunroof, reversing camera, park assist, hands-free tailgate, keyless entry and start, fold-down aircraft style tray tables and even a massage function on the half-leather front seats.

The Grand version, and its smaller C4 Picasso brother, features an upgraded 3D Citroën Connect Nav system and voice recognition for interaction with the navigation, phone and media functions.

There’s a more dynamic front end, with a wider, lower front bumper and gloss black central moulding and new 3D-effect rear lights, which come as standard across the range.

There are four interior design styles and five upholstery choices, which allow the cabin to be adapted to individual lifestyles.

And with the introduction of the PureTech 130 and 110 engines, the broad range of Euro 6 PureTech and BlueHDi engines is extended.

I tried the 150hp diesel engine, a big smoothie that when teamed with the six-speed automatic transmission makes for effortless driving. With a capability to sprint from 0 to 62 mph in 10.1 seconds, it is no slouch either. And when the need arises, you can bring into play the paddle shifters for a more urgent manoeuvre.

The Grand C4 Picasso measures 4.60 metres long, and the fold-flat front passenger seat increases load length to over 2.5 metres. In row two, the three independent seats are all the same width. They can fold down flat, recline for more comfort, slide back and forth for extra boot space or leg room of up to 159mm. Row three has two seats that fold into the boot floor, along with dedicated air vents on the top trim level.

Underneath all that quite gorgeous design, practicality is at its heart.