These days SUVs – Sports Utility Vehicles – are all the rage. Let’s not forget it’s ugly step-sibling the MPV - or Multi-Purpose Vehicle. Lacking the SUV’s sporty good looks, they’re actually the perfect choice if you need a small family-friendly car with lots of practicality. And the Citroën’s C3 Picasso is pretty much king among the MPV.
Citroën built the Picasso between 2008 and 2017. It seamlessly combines a sense of solidity with quirky style. Its square-shaped exterior is adorned with lots of smart details to enjoy. The chrome lines set into the nose of the MPV pay tribute to Citroën’s famous chevron badge and along with the double black radiator grilles, which are set above and below the bumper, make it look like the car is smiling at you.
From the side, big prominent wheel arches add a touch of toughness to the Picasso’s character. The wide black plastic strip that runs down the bottom of the car’s side is a neat touch and should help prevent the Picasso picking up scratches if others fling their car doors open against it. This is useful if you spend lots of time shopping, shuttling the kids around or tackling airport runs.
It seamlessly combines a sense of solidity with quirky style.
What’s it like to drive?
You won’t need to ponder long over which engine you want - the Picasso only came with the choice of a 1.2-litre petrol and a diesel.
The petrol engine is fine, but the diesel has more punch if you regularly roll with a full crew and kit on board. The diesel engine is also more economical and so worth considering if you cover a lot of miles.
If you like a nice comfortable ride that soaks up lumps and bumps in the road with ease, the Picasso fits the bill. Thanks to its light steering, you’ll find it easy to manoeuvre around town. Once you get up to speed on country roads, the steering weights up nicely to help you steer through bends with confidence.
If you like a nice comfortable ride that soaks up lumps and bumps in the road with ease, the Picasso fits the bill.
While the Picasso’s primary focus is to carry passengers, you won’t feel left out in the driver’s seat. The Edition trim level comes with rake and reach adjustment on the steering column, and a height-adjustable driver’s seat to help you find the perfect position.
Thanks to an ideal combination of big windows, narrow pillars and standard fit parking sensors, the Picasso is surprisingly easy to manoeuvre in and out of tight sports.
You might want to dig out your CD collection for this used car, though you can still connect via Bluetooth and USB of course. The Picasso’s instruments are mounted high up in the middle of the dashboard, the idea being that you barely have to take your eyes off the road when you glance at them. Some models were fitted with sat-nav system when new, while the top-spec version has a reversing camera.
There’s plenty of space up front with good leg- and head-room. In the back there’s acres of room for a couple of adults and a third can sit comfortably enough in the middle seat as well. To get even more comfortable, the outer rear seats recline and slide backwards and forwards. Cabin stowage is not as good as it could be, with small glovebox and door bins. However, there is space to store kids’ belongings under the back seats.
If you are worried that all this passenger space comes at the expense of small boot, don’t be. The Picasso’s boot is excellent, as big as some estate cars, and with a huge square opening and a flat load lip, it’s easy to slide boxes, large suitcases and even lightweight furniture in and out with ease.
If you need more space, you can fold the 60/40 split seats forward in a few seconds to give an even longer, but equally flat floor. There’s a hidden boot floor as well – ideal if you need to stow the kids’ items somewhere fully out of sight.
Running costs and reliability
The petrol engine has a claimed 56.5mpg, which is likely to translate as around 45 mpg in the real world. The diesel has a claimed 72.4 mpg, so should give you 60 mpg– it’s a wholesome investment car that is not often considered expensive to run.
What cinch loves
The Picasso proves the point that you don’t have to join the SUV crowd to move your family around. It has its own unique style and charm and stands out from the crowd. You can fit a ton of stuff in the boot and lower the seats in a matter of seconds to transform the Picasso into a van-like vehicleyou could move flat with.
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The Picasso is a super-size MPV that combines practicality and styling in an affordable package. It’s good value for money, well equipped and inexpensive to run. It’s as easy to drive around town as it is comfortable and relaxing to live with on the motorway and provides an impressive mobility solution for those with two or three children in tow.
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