An invitation to ferry over to Birkenhead to watch Rory McIlroy do his thing with such panache at the recent British Open on the Royal Liverpool links course at Hoylake opened the opportunity to extend the weekend by a few days for some exhilarating motoring in the nearby mountains of North Wales.
Now that’s the kind of driving that just cries out for a sleek, slung low to the tarmac, rorty-exhausted sports car.
But, as luck would have it, my test car was nothing exotic but rather a sensible, upright, seven-seater family car.
It speaks volumes for the Citroën Grand C4 Picasso 7 that I had plenty of fuplentn regardless.
Those Frenchies have certainly got the Mid-size MPV format sorted and this model, priced from £19,200 to £27,855, is a class leader in all departments, including price.
The styling is handsome and contemporary inside and out, with controls and dials that are a model of clarity and help create a wonderful light and airy feeling, with exceptional cabin space in rows two and three. Access to that third row has been enhanced through optimised rear door apertures. Indeed, overall Citroën claim this car is the most versatile, practical and elegant offering in its market sector.
The Grand C4 Picasso’s two-litre turbo-diesel delivers record low emissions for its sector and provides fuel economy figures of up to 73.4 mpg in the combined cycle. It can reach 62 mph in 10.2 seconds from standstill, topping out at 128 mph.
True performance, however, is about much more than just raw figures. With its long wheelbase and suspension that is set with a near perfect balance between comfort and roadholding, this thoroughly likeable vehicle easily keeps pace with the flow, even on the twisting, switchback roads of Snowdonia.
With more glass than its rivals and a fairly upright driving position, the Grand C4 Picasso is easy to drive and handles like a dream – and it also has a commendably tight turning circle.
A panoramic windscreen and sunroof added to the pleasure of a few days out in the wild blue yonder and even a torrential if short-lived downpour on the Sunday plus some seemingly endless roadworks on the motorway could not spoil one of the best motoring experiences of the year.
Would it have been as fulfilling had I been piloting one of those aforementioned sports cars? Probably not.