Citroen will launch its smallest and most radical MPV yet, the C3 Picasso, at next September’s Paris Show. The new model, which has a close mechanical relationship with the PSA’s Peugeot 207 family, sets out to ditch the “worthy” image associated with MPVs.
When it goes on sale early next year, it will be the fifth people-carrier in Citroen’s fast-expanding range, and the third to use the Picasso name.
Citroen aims to take advantage of growing demand for Vauxhall Meriva-class MPVs over the next few years. Sales exploded from 20,000 in 1998 to 600,000 in 2005, but receded 15 percent, Citroen believes, following buyer disappointment with products that failed to offer the promised convenience. The advent of “smarter” models like C3 Picasso, they claim, will push sales beyond the former peak.
The C3 Picasso’s jaunty two-box styling — Citroen design bosses claim “devilish charm” — makes a complete break with other Citroen MPVs, though there are enough cues to maintain a family look. Its 4.08 metre length places it squarely between the C3 saloon (3.85m) and Xsara Picasso MPV (4.28m). However, the C3 Picasso’s generous 1.62m height, near-vertical tailgate and straight body sides give it the biggest seats-down luggage capacity in the class.
Two 1.6 litre diesel engines (90 bhp and 110 bhp) and two 1.6 litre BMW-PSA petrol engines (95 bhp and 120 bhp) will be offered in a range Citroen bosses plan to keep simple. They believe C3 Picasso can make life tough for the class-leading Meriva, whose European sales last year receded to 125,000 from the previous year’s 160,000-plus.