Citroen C3 Picasso

Exclusive 1.6 HDi

Citroen C3 Picasso
Citroen C3 Picasso, interior
Citroen C3 Picasso, boot
Citroen C3 Picasso, rear
Citroen C3 Picasso, side

IT'S not too often that I find myself driving a surprise packet but Citroen has most certainly produced the goods in its latest venture.

The C3 Picasso has nudged the style council to be aware of its presence.

There's a great deal of family friendliness around the C3 Picasso and with short, wide opening doors and raised seating, the installation of kiddy seats should also prove a fairly easy exercise.

Thanks to the slightly raised seats the Picasso feels less cramped  than some of its competitors while a soft ride shows the car to be very much a smooth operator.

This version of the C3 is only slightly longer than a conventional supermini while it proved a whole lot roomier inside due to the high roofline allowing for more upright seating.

The 60/60 split rear bench with slide back and forth facility ensures that driver and passengers can make the most of the relatively large amount of cabin space available.

Boot capacity also proved decidedly generous ranging from 385 litres with seats up to a huge 500 litres with them down while the rear bench can be folded flat in a matter of seconds.

In the features department of the Exclusive mode driven here there is remote central locking, front electric windows and a CD player. This range topper also comes with climate control, electric folding door mirrors and even some very clever rear parking sensors.

People space and practicality is also in decent supply with room for five cabinside. The boot also features a dual floor which helps to keep certain items out of sight. Deep door pockets are also useful additions to the cabin area, plus, there's a trio of 12-volt sockets.

The cabin feels airy and roomy and forward vision proved to be exceptional courtesy of a wrap-around windscreen complete with thin pillars. However, no doubt the rear legroom will perhaps not suit all.

Drivers of most shapes and sizes should be able to make themselves comfortable, too, thanks to quite a decent range of driver's seat and steering wheel adjustment.

No electronic parking aids are fitted as standard but parking is quite straightforward for the vehicle is a little on the narrow side and can slot into most parking spaces with ease. Citroen does have an option pack which adds rear parking sensors, a reversing camera and sat nav.

The digital instrument cluster has been offset from the driver's line of sight in the centre of the car atop the dash and some may find it can take a little getting used to.

Meanwhile, the latest C3 Picasso comes with remote central locking as standard while all doors, including the very operator friendly light tailgate, lock automatically upon starting your journey.

You sit pretty high and are whisked along by a superb 1.6 diesel engine paired with a six-speed manual gearbox.

It drives and handles well whether through twisty lanes or simply eating up those motorway miles, although perhaps it does do its best work around town.

Citroen does put its official diesel usage figure at just under 60mpg and along with some generous CO2 emission levels of 125g/km the C3 Picasso does qualify for Band D Road Fund licence in its first year with nothing to pay and £100 thereafter - all of which helps to make this particular mode of transport a very economy conscious companion indeed.

FAST FACTS

Citroen C3 Picasso Exclusive 1.6 HDi

Price: £17,295

Mechanical: 118bhp, 1,560cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 114mph

0-62mph: 11.2 seconds

Combined MPG: 58.8

Insurance Group: 125g/km

C02 emissions: 15

Bik rating: 19%

Warranty: 3yrs/ 60,000 miles

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