Open gallery Close by Matt Burt 5 February 2012 Follow @@Matt_Burt_ Share
How we test cars
In 10 years, Citroën has gone from being a mere bit-part player in the European MPV market to its dominant force; the Citroen C3 Picasso is further proof. Where once it fielded just one large MPV now it has close to ten. The Picasso name has been used throughout, first on Citroen’s now-defunct Xsara (which the C3 effectively replaced), and then on both the five and seven-seat versions of the Citroen C4 Picasso.
You have only to look at Citroën’s burgeoning DS range to see how the marque has undergone wholesale brand overhaul – and this C3 Picasso is further proof. Steady and staid are out, as cool and quirky make a welcome return.
In a decade, Citroën has gone from being a mere bit-part player in the European MPV market to its dominant forceMatt BurtExecutive Editor, Autocar
And if looks were the only factor, it would seem that Citroën has remembered the formula that made it great all those years ago, not just with the original DS but also with cars like the 2CV, Traction Avant and, more recently the GS and CX. All showed that a car didn’t need to look practical to be practical, that space and chic were not mutually exclusive, that a car could brim with character yet still understand the needs of the family motorist.
On paper, this member of the Picasso family appears to have enough of these attributes to claim to be a compact MPV you’d own more through choice rather than circumstance. The question is whether there is enough substance behind the style for it to cut it, not just in the showroom but in the real world. While this incumbant edges closer to being replaced, we are safe in the knowledge that Citroën aren’t booting their new found edginess into touch, as the next generation Citroen C3 Picasso will borrow its design cues from the peculiar Citroen C4 Cactus and the rather bewitching third generation Citroen C3.
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You won’t spend hours trawling through the C3 spec list deciding which model to choose – there are two engines – a turbocharged 1.2-litre petrol and a 1.6-litre diesel to choose from and two trim levels. There’s no auto option, though.
Related Citroen C3 Picasso 2009-2017 reviews
Citroen C3 Picasso 1.4 VTi VT first driveCitroën C3 Picasso 1.6 HDi 90 VT first driveCitroen C3 Picasso 1.6 VTi 120 first drive
Verdict Model tested: Rating:
Citroen C3 Picasso 2009-2017
GoodInteresting stylingClever packagingComfortable rideBadDull driveDriving positionPoor performance