The designers of the house with the “double chevron” did it again: with the C3 Picasso they created a mini-MPV of quite stunning poise and revolutionary design. On top of this, it’s far bigger on the inside than its outward appearance may suggest. The most remarkable we found about this car is that it never feels like a compromise has been made. The CITROËN C3 Picasso is practical, but great fun. Roomy, yet agile and easy to park. Safe and adaptable, but certainly not lacking in style or driving pleasure. The genius of Citroen sets new standards in this segment. We drove the 1.6 HDI Diesel version, and we would suggest, read on…
Hans Knol ten Bensel
Besides a lot of town driving, we took the car on a longer trip on the motorway to Flemish Tielt to make a reportage about the 4 x 4 event there, (see elsewhere on this site) and we were impressed by its “big car” behaviour. The car gives the driver and its passangers a very reassuring feeling. Despite being one of the most compact MPVs on the market, its still manages to make you feel safe, sturdy and confident in any environment. It cruises silently along at the 120 kph legal speed limit, completely comfortable and fuss-free, and the 110 HP HDI Diesel lets you feel that it can cruise easily at much higher speeds.
The top version of the C3 Picasso we drove sported a very nice looking leather steering wheel.
High speed stability is perfect, the suspension is very comfortable, wind and road noise very subdued, so we snugly nestled ourselves in the captain front seats and let the speed control unit do all the work…
Besides being an excellent motorway cruiser, the C3 Picasso is also an urban phenomenon, perfectly suited to the city with its very willing Diesel engine(s) and great visibility. Others picture it ruling the country lanes, with its rugged looks, great handling and oodles of interior space for kids, outdoor gear, pets or groceries.
As a (compact) MPV befits, there is plenty of room, the C3 Picasso gives you up to 1,506 litres of flat space behind the front seats. The CITROËN C3 Picasso’s boot also has two positions which enables space for up to 385/500 litres of storage. Of course, this is a French car, and therefore there are plenty of other handy compartments throughout the cabin for safely storing personal belongings.
In typical Citroen fashion, the rev counter/speedometer unit is original to say the least... but very readable!
The controls are also well placed where they indeed should be, and also thanks to the consequent styling everything feels fresh, yet somehow familiar at the same time. The driver-focused sweeping dashboard puts all controls and displays within easy reach. The manual gearshift is placed higher to improve comfort and driveability, and the fully adjustable raised driving position gives you great all-round visibility and – as we said - confidence.
… and excellent road manners
The C3 Picasso not only looks, but also feels agile and ready for everything, not least due to its compactness. Thanks to improved suspension and a low centre of gravity, the Picasso is well balanced and steady on the road. This sense of confidence is enhanced by one of CITROËN’s many strengths – ensuring excellent all-round visibility with high-and-wide panoramic windscreens and a commanding driving position that you can adjust to your preference. The C3 amply proves this point. We also note here the recent introduction of the new C3 Visiospace, taking the excellent visibility even further.
The C3 Picasso is one of the safest cars in its class, with up to six airbags, ABS, optional Electronic Stability Programme (ESP) and a 4-star brand new Euro NCAP rating.
Performance and frugality
The 1.6 HDI 110 HP Diesel proved an excellent companion. In our test car, it was coupled to a standard 5 speed gearbox, and left nothing to be desired in terms of low end torque, acceleration, high speed performance (the car is good for a top speed of 182kph and accelerates from 0 to 100 kph in 12,7 seconds.) The engine is very docile and last but not least very frugal: we registered an average fuel consumption of 4.8 l on 100 km during our test. The PSA group makes indeed excellent Diesel engines, this car again proves the point…
The vast experience of Citroën shows clearly in this C3 Picasso, making a versatile, pleasant compact yet roomy compact SUV with excellent visibility and road manners. Add to this the original and unique styling and shape(s), and it is easy to see why the car wins many hearts, including ours!
Hans Knol ten Bensel
Photographs were taken with the Nikon D40, with a 0.3 EV underexposure setting as the car had a dark color. Subsequently; very little corrections (if any) were needed with Photoshop