There is always a fear when confronted with a compact MPV like this that its considerable weight, substantial frontal area and puny engine will result in a car that’s unable to get out of its own way. And so it proves with the Picasso.
It is neither the heaviest of its selected class of rivals nor the least powerful, but its power-to-weight ratio always ensures it’ll struggle. Which goes some way to explaining performance with some engines that could be described as pedestrian only if you’d woken up brimful of goodwill.
A 0-60mph time for the best-selling 99bhp diesel version of 12.8sec isn’t just slow; it’s close to inconvenient, making you plan each lunge into fast-flowing traffic with more than usual care.
But once under way the C3’s humble firepower is not the drawback it might first seem. The 99bhp diesel does at least supply adequate mid-range torque, and if you find yourself hunting through the sloppy five-speed manual gearbox for a more appropriate ratio, you will at least find the lever uncommonly close to hand.
The more powerful diesel offers more performance across the range for a fractional mpg loss and a greater asking price. If you're prepared to pay the premium, you'll likely find the extra performance welcome.