Femme brutale

If only the kids got a vote


Sometimes there’s just no understanding women PEOPLE will tell you that marriage is a blissful union and that it’s all about sharing life’s best moments with someone, but really it’s not; it’s about the arguments.

Without the frequent fights and ding-dong disputes, marriage would feel even longer than it does, and your choice of car is as good a reason as any to go at it.

I chose this quirkily expensive and basically unjustifiable Citroen C4 Picasso partly because I have an almost inexplicable love for it (although I prefer the dieselengined and more practical Grand Picasso), though I fully intended to hide this slightly embarrassing admission behind the coverall excuse that a lot of men no doubt use: “I got it for the wife.”

I was utterly convinced she would love everything about it and would laud my wisdom to all her friends, and even my mother-in-law. She would coo over the comfortable leather seats, which have heating and massage functions and even a little divan for the passenger’s legs. A great lover of visibility, she would openly weep over the genius of its glassiness and the fact you can slide the sunvisors right back to create a bigger windscreen and a lighter, bigger-feeling cabin. Like me, she would mildly geek-out over the two big colour screens, with their calming pictures of grass and giant maps. And finally she would rejoice at the adjustable, tumble-down row of rear seating with its little desks for our children, and its ability to haul small pianos, ponies and so on when the seats are folded away.

Sadly, none of that appealed to her in the slightest and, instead of praise, I was given two earfuls on how much she hates the Picasso and, seriously, how long are we stuck with this thing for?

After some invigorating shouting, I deduced that she hates the idle-stop system most of all – the way it lurches back into life, the way it lets the car roll back – and the way the wheels spin when she plants her foot (never happened to me), and yet contradictorily the fact that nothing happens at all when she floors it, because it feels like “an oversized lawn mower”.

Oh, and it’s also impossible to get a feel for how wide it is, probably because the visibility is no good.

This is not the first time, sadly, that I’ve completely misread how my beloved might feel about something, nor will it be the last, but it’s up there with the most genuinely shocking. I love the Picasso, and after a couple of weeks with it I like it even more (although the idle-stop system is annoying, and too difficult to disable, and I still think the diesel is a far more useful engine). And I love it for a number of what I would call girly reasons, so I really thought it would be a home run at home, but I was wrong.

About the only thing we agree on is that we’d never, ever buy one for the $47,890 asking price – but even then we argue about why not.

If only the kids got a vote

WHILE my wife was quick to point out how wrong I am about the Picasso, I was right about one thing for once, which is that our children would love it. They are blown away by the massage seats, the fold-down tables, the screens, the giant sunroof and, most of all, by the fact that there’s a torch built into the boot, which doubles as an interior light. They actually begged to be locked in the boot together. Usually I have to trick them into that.


Not even the clever sliding sunvisors have been enough to convince Mrs Corby of the Citroen’s genius. Tough room, folks


Date acquired: June 2015 Price as tested: $47,890 This month: 868km @ 8.4L/100km Overall: 2747km @ 8.9L/100km