Thinking inside the box

28 Mar 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Thinking inside the box
First Drive | England | C3 Picasso |

The ‘Picasso’ cognomen upon the new C3 provides an interesting, if obvious, torch with to scrutinise Citroen’s new people its two box ‘form follows function’ is arguably a million miles from the great man’s artistic style; yet it’s is pure cubism.

Which is to say a mess of shapes and textures in that some will a just that – a big and an ergonomically detrimental one at that but others will laud it for its and style. Which side of the you fall on will depend on how you about things like centrally mounted digital encasements (if it’s possible to feelings on such things). But way, one thing is immediately with the C3 Picasso: it’s

In the Metal

Where rivals the Nissan Note and Renault try to use creases and off camber silhouettes to excess bulk, the C3 is the more a late ’90s Sophie about its bulk – it it loud and proud, using chunkiness as its aesthetic USP. it works: the Picasso is possibly the people carrier that you buy purely because of the way it looks on a postcard, please). A happy by of that is, of course, a mass of space.

Obviously it’s based on the C3 though – albeit a stretched one – so there’s not class level of legroom in the The boot floor is of a useful if a little skinny, and the split bench folds down making this a seriously piece of MPV. Most however, is the Sistine Chapel of a (in terms of its height, not its decoration).

You probably build a second for another row of seats in there.

we have two major gripes the Picasso. Firstly, this is a car, right? And in my experience, have a Womble-like hoarding

Why, then, has Citroen to give this thing any storage space in the cabin? The box is the worst offender: to look at its door of an aperture you’d it was the size of a dishwasher, but open it and more like a teacup. no storage bin in the centre console, and if the little box on top of the dash is good for a of biros, where will notepad go?

The other thing is that of the really useful family stuff – like tables on the front seat rear sun blinds, a boot that doubles as a torch, a net, and much needed floor storage row two – is for the top-level Exclusive model.

isn’t bad though – on par with (and built much of the same stuff as) a C4. There’s some obvious switchgear in there too, if sort of thing bothers or you.

What you get for your

Space. Wonderfully cheap, dubious space. We’ve gone into our misgivings the interior layout and lack of to accumulate rubbish in (although put that, maybe it’s a thing?).

But you can’t complain the people space on offer in thing, especially when you can get one for Ј11,495. Granted, that buy you a 1.4 petrol VT, which is a little and underequipped, but it still has the same features and commodious cabin as the specced diesel versions.

They all get ABS, electronic ISOfix, child locks, all the a family buyer will and an initially slightly frightening that makes the hazards go a bit mad if you the brakes on. Nice touch

For all it’s cheapness as an entry the VT is best avoided because it do with bargain basement like black door plastic wheel trims and no air – so you’re best off a VTR+ in terms of price/equipment That gets alloys and air con and a few useful touches like a mirror to watch the kids each other with. where it’s at if you want to the Picasso’s full people potential, but that starts at for a 1.4-litre, which isn’t but of course it’s taking out of properly cheap territory.


It’s like driving any recent small Citroen, is to say it’s bland and detached, but for that with a modicum of comfort, blighted significantly by a driving position. Much the C4, the C3 Picasso suffers from a foot well with set too high and no clutch footrest, the steering wheel is angled a bus’s, so you end up with this ‘arms outstretched, legs driving position.

The gear change is classic too. Even on our box fresh the pun) test cars, one had about four inches of travel in the stick in any gear. sloppiness, really.

That as it’s not too bad to drive because, the C4-based MPVs; Citroen has got the just about right this one. It still about a bit, of course, but it has near the annoying tendency to backwards and forwards, left and that its bigger brothers do. It with potholes and things very well, taking the of the brunt through the damping than the entire body, is nice.

The engine line-up is a to Citroen already, and four-fold: two units of 1.4- and 1.6-litre and two 1.6-litre turbodiesels with or 108bhp. The petrol engines, push out either 94bhp or depending on capacity, are both free revving, quiet you thrash them and adequate only one person on board. this being a people and all that, it’s better to it up because you need the extra to get up hills and things.

As ever, it’s the stronger of the two the best bet, but the 89bhp about manages to muster up torque to slug the boxy along adequately. It takes 15 seconds to get to 62mph though, is a bit embarrassing, isn’t it?


Despite it’s packaging (not withstanding the cabin inadequacies), don’t be under any as to the size of this thing. it has a small footprint, relative to proper MPVs, but in the flesh it more like a member of the C4 than the C3 one. As one of Citroen’s told us, after explaining it was on a C3 they can do anything they with platforms these can’t they, as he gesticulated with his hands.

But as it turns it only looks so big because tall. The wheelbase is indeed by 80mm, though it’s a good 15cm longer the C3. Still, that’s still to be easier to park than a C4, and is, it feels twice as big even as despite having a smaller

Unlike many tall Citroen really has made a car feel big, rather just look it.


We the C3 Picasso – a lot, in – because it’s the of car that Citroen should be and it’s been executed very well. Whatever you about its design, fundamentally has achieved what so many fail to do and made a small car absolutely massive. Unfortunately, it have been much if the French firm had focussed on quirkiness in the cabin and more in it a practical family space.

like a buying a house and it with a load of pretty furnishings and wallpaper, then moving in and finding you have to all your stuff in your garage because you forgot to space for wardrobes. Plus, the position is horrible. Citroen has a genuinely great family car on its

Mark Nichol – 3 Apr

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