From £12,205
Fresh and good-looking mini MPV that’s bigger inside than most rivals

Our Verdict

Citroën C3 Picasso
Quirky Citroëns are back, but is square the new cool?

The Citroën C3 Picasso is a cut above the MPV norm, combining style, space and quality, but it majors on comfort not fun

What is it?

This is the Citroen C3 Picasso 1.6 HDi 90 VT. It’s the first time we’ve got behind the wheel of a diesel version of Citroen’s funky new people mover, and the first time we’ve tested it on UK roads.

What’s it like?

Look at the facts and the new Citroen C3 Picasso is nothing special. Just like the Nissan Note or Ford Fusion, it’s a higher-riding hatchback with a jacked-up driving position and more practicality than the lower-slung alternatives.

The difference is that Citroen’s offering is the first one you’d probably want to be seen in. Few car makers are producing so many design hits as Citroen right now and you can add the C3 Picasso to the list. No, it’s not quite as outlandish as some of the company’s recent concept cars, but it’s a fresh and funky take on the small, boxy MPV.

The theme continues on the inside too. Whatever perch you’re occupying there’s visibility and the dash is both good looking and easy to navigate – even if none of the materials below knee level are that special.

The figures indicate that the Picasso has more cabin and luggage space than its immediate rivals and there’s no reason to argue. One downside is that aside from a sliding rear bench there are no other MPV party tricks.

Away from the kerbside it’s on a par with rivals, but nothing better. It rides well though, soaking up most of the worst excess of UK asphalt, and it’s quiet. Spend most of your time fully laden and you’ll probably want more punch than the 90bhp diesel provides, however; something that is available in the pricier 110bhp version. Weightier steering and a more precise gear change would be welcome, too.

Should I buy one?

Yes. Despite some of the dynamic deficiencies, the C3 Picasso has finally given us a small MPV that’s going to be enjoyable to own. In fact, one of the most uncomfortable truths may be for Citroen itself. Is there any need to pay more for a 5-seat C4 Picasso?

Chas Hallett

Looking for a used Citroen C3 for sale? Visit PistonHeads Classifieds

Join the debate

Comments
13

27 March 2009

This is the type of car that will suit many people. A practical, safe, economical, spacious and comfortable car.

Not the Top Gear virus infected AMGs, M Sports, RSs,Camaros and Australian Vauxhalls and other 'sporty' cars. What is this obsession with 'sporty'? Where can you use these sporty car in Britain?

Autocar used to stand above this trend, but it seems to be succumbing...though there is still hope!

27 March 2009

Not really sure about this car or the whole genre of small so called MPV`s.

It does not sound like its great to drive (having had C5`s C2`s I understand this comment).

It does not have any party tricks up its sleeve and its trendiness appears fairly superficial. Personally I would have a new Berlingo Multispace instead.

Sorry Citroen I think you have missed a chance with this one.

27 March 2009

Very much a car of the moment with the credit cruch and people down sizing etc. I really like the design inside and out and if other recent Citroens are anything to go by it'll be decent quality.

It's just a shame that it doesn't have the fixed hub steering wheel (cost grounds I assume) and that the "higher" powered diesel is only available in the top spec.

27 March 2009

[quote jonfortwo]

Not really sure about this car or the whole genre of small so called MPV`s.

It does not sound like its great to drive (having had C5`s C2`s I understand this comment).

[/quote]Wait, you think the kind of person buying the automotive equivalent of a four-berth pushchair would prefer to have the Citroen's smooth ride exchanged for one that duplicates the road surface inside the cabin, and for its handling to exhibit a taught 'sportiness' that allows whoever's driving (ie mum) to shave 2.9 seconds off the school run? A look at your signature tells me you'd rather it be twice the price, three times as ugly and German as well...

27 March 2009

No.......

I just remember when Citroen produced truly ground breaking cars that did not follow the herd. They dont have to be best in class just original.

I am a great fan of the Smart because it brings something new to the game, OK you are no great fan and thats fine but the Toyota IQ, BMW Isetta and Fiat Topolino tells me the Smart has opened up a new market.

Citroen should have made the Smart, not the "me too" C3 Picasso

27 March 2009

[quote jonfortwo]

I just remember when Citroen produced truly ground breaking cars that did not follow the herd.

[/quote]

SO you think the C3/C4 Picasso, C5 and C6 follow the herd? Don't think so.

[quote jonfortwo]They dont have to be best in class just original.[/quote]

I think you just described the cars I mentioned above. They might not be original in the way a DS was but compared to the general 21st century euroboxes from the like of Vauxhall and Renault, they are.

27 March 2009

No hyropneumatic suspension, no satellite controls, no braking system linked to the suspension, no single wipers, no dash gearchange....or moderm day engineering equivalent. OK the fixed hub wheel hints at Citroen of old, but they don`t appear to fit that any more.

No, Citroens are superficially stylish designs over conventional Peugeot mechanicals and to me the engineering achievements are equally as important as the look.

27 March 2009

[quote jonfortwo]No, Citroens are superficially stylish designs over conventional Peugeot mechanicals and to me the engineering achievements are equally as important as the look.[/quote] There's some superficial merit to your argument - until C5 and C6 are factored in. As far as I'm aware, no Peugeot possesses hydropneumatic suspension.

27 March 2009

[quote jonfortwo]

No hyropneumatic suspension, no satellite controls, no braking system linked to the suspension, no single wipers, no dash gearchange....or moderm day engineering equivalent. OK the fixed hub wheel hints at Citroen of old, but they don`t appear to fit that any more.

[/quote]

The C5 and C6 have hydropneumatic suspension. The c4 Picasso has a column mounted gear selector on EGS versions. The C4 Picasso also has a windscreen that stretches into the roof. All Citroens from C4 up have the fixed hub steers wheel. Single wiper? Thats just cheap not quirky (old Mercs excepted).

[quote jonfortwo]No, Citroens are superficially stylish designs over conventional Peugeot mechanicals and to me the engineering achievements are equally as important as the look.[/quote]

Citroens in the 90's like the Xsara and Saxo were just rebodied Peugeots but no more. They have their own feel and character which goes way beyond what the VW group clones achieve with chassis sharing. One magazine I read recently (think it was Top Gear) said "the C5 shares 85% of its hardware with the 407 yet is 85% better".

Recent Citroens may have to share some mecahnical parts with Peugeot due to modern day financial constrains but that doesn't mean they are the same. If they were how come Citroen do so much better in customer satisfaction surveys? It's because they provide something which is more than the some of its parts. Something more individual. They don't leave me cold like say a BMW or an Audi would however good their "engineering achievements" are.

31 March 2009

[quote jonfortwo]No hyropneumatic suspension, no satellite controls, no braking system linked to the suspension, no single wipers, no dash gearchange....or moderm day engineering equivalent. OK the fixed hub wheel hints at Citroen of old, but they don`t appear to fit that any more.[/quote]

And how well did most of the super quirky Citroens sell?? Exactly...like most businesses Citroen had to tone down and start appealing to the masses rather than the 12 people who wanted the super quirky Citroens of old. Yes they were cool, quaint, interesting etc.....but most people want boring wrapped up in either a snobby wrapper (most of your german cars), a 'sporty' wrapper (almost every boring vehicle imaginable, prime case in point Audi Q5) or a 'quirky' wrapper (most current Citroens, the odd Toyota & Honda etc). People do not want 'interesting' mechanicals that break every 5 minutes. Citroens today have reliable mechanicals wrapped in quirky styling with some nods to the past in the case of the hydropnuematic suspension of the bigger cars and some of the interesting things like the fixed hub wheel on the C4 etc.

Whilst I like the concept of the Smart, the execution is pretty terrible. As has been quoted many times in the past, the Ka is a much better city car than the Smart (nee stupid imho) ... the only thing the Smart does better is occasionally park sideways in a parking space. In every other way the Ka is superior, cheaper and makes you look less like a fashion victim. I am of course referring to the original Ka.

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