If questioned, some Citroën staff will admit informally that their research has shown that buyers of cars like this have not the slightest interest in driving fast. And we believe them. But we also believe that a car can be good and fun to drive at all speeds and at all levels of effort, something Citroën appears not to have taken into consideration.
There is nothing for even a mildly appreciative driver here; the steering is direct and linear but gives no feeling of actually being connected to the front wheels, while the chassis makes only token efforts to control the body’s primary motions. And if this were not enough to deter you from throwing it around, the unsupportive seats undoubtedly are.
When we tested the Picasso, it came with ESP that could be switched off only below 32mph, suggesting that the need for it above this speed is so great that its presence is non-negotiable. Strange, then, that unless you pay Citroën extra for this feature, it is unavailable at any speed.
But at least the ride quality is good, something Citroën will rightly claim is rather more important to the typical Picasso buyer than handling prowess. The suspension may be simple, but it’s also compliant enough for comfort yet sufficiently well controlled not to be unduly affected by having a full load on board. But of course a compliant ride isn’t going to go very far towards helping a driver and passengers who can’t get comfortable due to the deficiencies of the car’s interior.
Be aware, though, that should you opt for some of the fancier alloy wheel treatments available, the ride quality will take a noticeable knock, and they won’t magically improve the car’s handling.