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In-depth reviews

Citroën C3 Picasso MPV (2009-2017)

“The Citroen C3 Picasso is a practical and easy-to-drive family car, with distinctive styling that makes it stand out from the crowd.”

Carbuyer Rating

3.1 out of 5

Owners Rating

4.2 out of 5

Read owner reviews

Pros

  • Easy to drive around town
  • Good headroom inside
  • Distinctive styling

Cons

  • Disappointing interior storage
  • Unimpressive residuals
  • Poor driving position

Great-looking family MPVs have become something of a Citroen speciality in recent years – the French company seems to have a real gift for combining form and function to very desirable effect. The Citroen C4 Picasso and Citroen Grand C4 Picasso are are real statements of Citroen’s MPV artistry, and while the smaller scale of the C3 Picasso means it isn’t quite so elegant, it certainly stands out against its less imaginative rivals.

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The rounded form of the C3 Picasso has been around since 2009, and it’s fair to say that it’s starting to show its age a little now. However, despite the clever pillarless sliding doors of the newer Ford B-MAX and the rear-hinged doors of the Vauxhall Meriva, the Citroen can still hold its own.

Rivals like the Kia Venga offer impressive accommodation a at lower price, and the C3 Picasso replacement, the Citroen C3 Aircross which is expected during 2017, will have its work cut out to beat the current C3’s package while providing good value for money. Meanwhile, if you need seven seats, you’ll need to look towards bigger, more traditional SUVs.

The tall, rounded shape makes for a spacious interior, and none of the five occupants on board is likely to complain of a lack of room. The boot is generous, too, and is a convenient shape. In fact, the useful luggage compartment makes partly makes up for the limited amount of storage inside the car – one of the Picasso’s few disappointing features.

As the C3 Picasso is readied for replacement, the range has been simplified to just two trim levels. Entry-level is Edition, while the range-topper is the Platinum. Edition models are well equipped, with rear parking sensors, cruise control, alloy wheels and Bluetooth phone connectivity. Upgrading to Platinum adds larger wheels, an additional pair of 12-volt accessory sockets, dark-tinted rear windows, a panoramic sunroof and leather steering wheel. Since this package of options comes for £1,000, it looks like good value.

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Only two engines are offered – a 1.2-litre 99bhp petrol or 1.6-litre 108bhp diesel. Neither make the C3 Picasso a sporty car, but the diesel feels the more sluggish with its 13.3-second 0-62mph time. It’s relatively quiet once cruising speed is reached, though, and can manage 72.4mpg. At 56.5mpg, though, the petrol isn’t far behind, and this is the engine we recommend.

A comfortable ride is another C3 Picasso strong-suit. Its soft suspension makes light work of potholes and poor road surfaces, while light steering and excellent visibility mean it’s simple to drive around town. There’s a fair amount of body lean in corners though, and the C3 Picasso’s height means it can suffer from wind buffeting on the motorway.

Citroen’s reputation for reliability has improved in recent years, but the C3 Picasso’s 108th place out of 200 cars in our 2015 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey is average at best. A 20th place finish for Citroen in 2015 (out of 32 manufacturers) saw the brand rise six places from the previous year, but it’s fair to say there’s still some way to go. In terms of safety, the C3 Picasso scored four out of five stars in its Euro NCAP safety tests. While this is by no means disastrous, rivals like the Ford B-MAX managed the full five stars.

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Richard is a former editor of Carbuyer, as well as sister site DrivingElectric.com, and he's now Deputy Editor at Auto Express. Having spent a decade working in the automotive industry, he understands exactly what makes new car buyers tick.

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