From £12,205
Fresh and good-looking mini MPV that’s bigger inside than most rivals
Autocar
27 March 2009

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

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Comments
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Lee23404 31 March 2009

Re: Citroën C3 Picasso 1.6 HDi 90 VT

jonfortwo wrote:

The Smart may be flawed in concept, although MK2 versions are much better, but the idea was great and this is proved by the number of manufacturers rushing to compete. If you have not driven one I would suggest you go for a spin with an open mind, it may just cause you to rethink.

As long as it is a lenghty test drive. Myself and the Mrs had a Mk1 Smart on hire for a week once while on holiday once. My first impressions were that this is one of the worse cars ever made. The automatic gearchange was slow and jerky, the ride wasn't great and it understeers like a pig due to the skinny front tyres. However by the end of the week I loved it. It was quirky (like many Citroens) and had a real charm. By the end of that week I wanted to take that car home with me. I can't say that about any other holiday rental cars I've had. It's just a shame that the ForFour didn't have the same charm.

jonfortwo 31 March 2009

Re: Citroën C3 Picasso 1.6 HDi 90 VT

jonfortwo wrote:
The Smart may be flawed in concept

OOOps, must proof read more carefully :( - i should have said flawed in execution.

jonfortwo 31 March 2009

Re: Citroën C3 Picasso 1.6 HDi 90 VT

I had two Dyane`s, a Visa, an early BX, and an AX. With the exception of the AX all of them uniquely engineered.

None of them ever let me down or broke, the myth of unreliability was put about by the nationalistic motoring press of the 1970`s. They were reliable because they had very little to go wrong on them, no radiator, flaps for windows etc. More than once did i leave friends behind heading to the south of france with sick Bluebirds and Cortinas.

Ironically I think more and more people would like the 70`s Citroens today as we are a much broader minded nation as we embrace "foreign" product much more readily. The saddest part of Cits line up today is that where they once excelled, the small car, they sell us a Toyota engined, Toyota. A good car it may be but its not a Citroen. Citroen should look at the Nano for inspiration just now.

The Smart may be flawed in concept, although MK2 versions are much better, but the idea was great and this is proved by the number of manufacturers rushing to compete. If you have not driven one I would suggest you go for a spin with an open mind, it may just cause you to rethink.