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Citroen C3 Picasso: Test Drive

Date: 09 February 2009   |   Author: David Motton

Category: Small MPV
P11D price: £14,795
Key rival: Renault Grand Modus

The C3 Picasso is gunning for private money first and fleet sales second, but there are good reasons for business users to consider Citroen's latest MPV.

The spacious, practical interior and low emissions of the diesel models are the main benefits of choosing the C3 Picasso. The 1.6-litre diesels are familiar from other models in the Peugeot-Citroen family, and put out 92 or 110PS, although even the lower-powered version is lively and willing.

Economy is a claimed average 60.1mpg for the 92PS models, while emissions of just 125-128g/km (depending on spec) place it in the 18% tax bracket. However, a Renault Grand Modus 1.5 dCi 86 is more tax-efficient, since it emits just 118g/km and slots into the 13% band.

The more powerful diesel, a better choice for high-mileage users, offers useful extra poke, especially at the top-end of the rev-range, yet still returns 56.5mpg and emits 132g/km.

The two petrols, developed with BMW, are both smooth and refined, although they need to be worked hard, and don't get anywhere near the diesels' economy and CO2 figures.

Unfortunately, all the engines produce too much noise at speed. The relatively low fifth gear is to blame, and a six-speed gearbox will be a welcome addition in 2011. Wind noise is also intrusive at motorway speeds.

Otherwise the Picasso drives well. The ride is soft and comfortable, and while the steering is light and short on feel, it's easy at parking speeds. All-round visibility is excellent, too.

Inside, anyone swapping from a Xsara Picasso will be amazed by the improvement in build quality. Soft-touch plastics and solid construction makes the car feel more upmarket than a Modus or Vauxhall Meriva.

For such a small car, there's plenty of space, too. Rear legroom matches many mid-sized MPVs, and there's a useful 385 litres of luggage space.

Citroen C3 Picasso 1.6 HDi 16v 92PS VTR manual
P11D price£14,795
Model price range£11,495-£15,595
Fuel consumption60.1mpg
CO2 (tax) 125g/km/18%
BIK 20/40% per month£41/£81
Service interval12,500mls/2yrs
Insurancegroup 6 (estimated)
Boot space (min/max)385/1506 litres
Engine size/power1560cc/92PS
Top speed/0-62mph108mph/13.4secs
On sale 9 April 2009
Verdict Good looks, plus
great interior for both
quality and practicality


Good looks, plus great interior for both quality and practicality