Citroen's artwork better than Picasso'sBy Maurice Hardy
August 11, 2009
There’s nobody in the world of cars, or at least in Europe, apparently more in tune with buyers of MPVs.
So it’s hardly surprising that Citroen has recently added another to its range, the C3 Picasso. And it’s no surprise that other makers will be watching how this car performs in sales terms.
The answer to their question is that it will do well, and that was almost a foregone conclusion for me before I had driven it. Now, after time behind the wheel I can promise that it won’t disappoint you, either.
Buy the best version, the 110 bhp 1.6 litre turbodiesel Exclusive and it will set you back £15,595, which is a large amount of cash by anyone’s standards. But you get value for it as the car is stacked with kit but the range actually starts with the VT 1.4 petrol model at £11,495 and, knowing Citroen, that will be equally as impressive.
The big thing about Citroen MPVs, apart from the fact they can be big things, of course, is that they do what they say on the tin. So even as a five seater and only loaded to the window line you’ll get 500 litres of stuff in the boot. But roll the seats over and you’ll triple that with a little bit extra on top.
One of the things families will want from the car is affordable running costs and even this highest ranked Exclusive model that we had would give 53 mpg without any trouble. That means an easy range of 540 miles from the 50 litre fuel tank without running dangerously short and I reckon owners who are soft pedalling in their own cars will see significantly more. If that is one of the big drivers in your buying decision then the 90 bhp 1.6 diesel promises an improvement but there is a trade-off through lower performance levels, which probably won’t bother you.
The petrol cars won’t do so well, of course, but they save you significant cash on the purchase price. To buy a VT with a diesel, for instance, sticks £1,100 on the price and you would have to be doing a huge number of miles a year to see any payback, even allowing for the fact some of the difference will come back when you sell it.
No matter which C3 Picasso you choose, of course, it will come with the same spacious body as every other model in the range and it’s this that forms the biggest buying decision of all.
Now I know a thing or two about big bodies, especially ones with a big bump sticking out the front, so am fairly well qualified to talk about the shape of the C3 Picasso.
While its big bump is where it produces its energy, mine is where I store energy. It’s therefore remarkable how much more the C3 can produce from its small energy store compared with what I get from my big one. And its big rump has a far better purpose than mine, which is just for one person to sit on.
I’m also well qualified to discuss ugly, so can fairly comment that the C3 is not a beautiful car in view of its shape. But at least its lack of looks has a practical purpose whereas mine is purely so neighbours can use me as a threat when their kids misbehave.
I had wondered where Citroen had found the inspiration for the car’s style but all has now been revealed as there will be a new C3 mainstream model out early next year that looks very appealing. The C3 family of cars is therefore going to generate a lot of interest.
In the meantime, this new C3 Picasso makes a great family chariot. It has masses of space for five people and a decent amount of load capacity without being too bulky. It has everything just where it should be - in fact I reckon it’s a better work of art than anything Picasso himself managed to produce.