Week at the wheel: Citroen C3 Picasso 1.6 HDi

23 May 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Week at the wheel: Citroen C3 Picasso 1.6 HDi
Citroen C3


Week at the wheel | Citroen C3 Picasso 1.6 HDi |

Inside Out:

Making a box on wheels look interesting is no easy task, but Citroen has pulled it off with aplomb. The simple overall shape of the C3 Picasso is greatly enhanced by the rounded edges and neat details that make this small MPV stand out from the crowd and place it alongside the likes of the MINI. Fiat 500 and Toyota iQ in the funk stakes.

Who’d have thought that of a Citroen people carrier just a couple of years ago?

Inside, it’s even better news as the tall sides of the C3 Picasso allow for upright seating, which in turn provides ample legroom for adults in the front and rear. Okay, so the width means only two adults fit in the rear before it gets too snug, but the Citroen is ideal family transport and comes with a load-munching 500-litre boot that can be expanded up to 1,506-litres with the 60:40 split-and-fold rear seats lowered.

There are also plenty of cubbies and pockets to keep smaller items from rattling free. As for the dash, this is Citroen’s best use yet of the pod-style binnacle mounted at the top of the centre console as it’s clear, easy to read (even in bright sunlight) and not a distraction while driving.

Engine Transmission:

Our test car was fitted with the 110bhp version of Citroen’s 1.6-litre turbodiesel engine, which also boasts a useful 177lb.ft of torque. Acceleration is not scintillating if looked at from the 0-62mph time of 12.4 seconds, but the C3 Picasso pays back with strong pick-up from low revs and excellent refinement. There’s also more than enough urge in-gear to do away with the need to change down a gear when many rivals require such action.

The five-speed manual gearbox has a light, easy shift and the lever is mounted half way up the centre console to be within a hand span of the steering wheel.

Ride Handling:

The C3 Picasso enjoys Citroen’s trademark cushy suspension that takes the rough edges off of any road surface. This little MPV glides along rut-addled roads with a polish that would leave many executive class cars red in the face, which also means the Citroen will not induce car sickness as readily in some of its younger occupants. Some pitch and lean under acceleration and in corners is noticeable, but the C3 Picasso is no blancmange.

The steering is accurate enough without being fidgety and there’s more than enough grip, balance and dexterity for the handling to be enjoyable for a small MPV. On the motorway, the petit Citroen people carrier is hushed, sealing out road and wind noise effectively – helped by having thicker side glass windows than most rivals to make it a fine long distance machine.

Equipment, Economy Value for Money:

The 1.6 HDi 110 Exclusive model we tried is the priciest C3 Picasso at Ј15,595, yet we can still see it as a cost-effective purchase. This is down to the funkier looks of the Exclusive and its long list of standard kit, which includes climate control, electric windows all round, cruise control, CD stereo, six airbags, rear parking sensors and alloy wheels.

The Exclusive is also the only C3 Picasso model to come with ESP stability and traction control included in the price rather than as a Ј350 option, though we’d like to see this fitted to all models. A mid-spec VTR+ model is perhaps the better buy, especially with a couple of carefully chosen extras, as it comes with alloys, air conditioning, cruise control and a full complement of airbags. The base spec VT makes do with only twin front airbags as standard, as well having no air con or alloys unless you spend the extra on them.

The 1.6 HDi turbodiesel engine in the Exclusive version of the C3 Picasso turns in a creditable 57.6mpg, or you could go for the 90bhp version’s 60.1mpg average consumption. With 130g/km carbon dioxide emissions for the 110bhp diesel, and 125g/km for the 90bhp unit, the turbodiesel C3 Picasso just misses out on low-rate road tax. However, this Citroen looks set to enjoy stronger residual values than almost any model in recent history from the French firm and it also seems well made from sturdy materials.


Citroen is a car company on form at the moment. The C3 Picasso people carrier is its best small car in a long time and works both as a compact MPV and an alternative to a supermini or small hatch. The fact we can even think of this car in the same vein as a MINI or Fiat 500, where the car is a style purchase rather than a practical buy, shows just how much the C3 Picasso moves the game on for Citroen.

Alisdair Suttie – 24 Sep 2009

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