Picasso paints a

rosy picture

OVER the years, the design team at Citroen have never been afraid to throw convention to the wind when penning their new cars.

With masterpieces such as the Traction Avant - made famous in the Maigret TV series - to the little 2CV workhorse with its 41-year production run, to the highly-futuristic DS machine of the mid-1950s, the French marque led where others feared to tread.

In recent times, Citroen may have toned things down just a little, but with their Xsara Picasso they were to the forefront in the new multi-purpose people carrier sector which exploded into the marketplace over the last decade or so.

A few years ago, Citroen gave us their second Picasso, the larger C4 version which became one of the most popular sellers in the MPV sector. Then in 2009, it became the turn of the latest C3 Picasso to join the fray.

And with it, Citroen were back to their funky best, with what they said was a vehicle "for the individual thinker" with a flexible and functional interior just perfect for today's family needs.

The C3 Picasso offered bags of style, with a retro design mixed it with more contemporary lines to give it a quirky exterior look.

While the car's overall dimensions looked quite modest - in reality it was not much longer than your average supermini - Citroen yet again worked their magic and there was masses of space for five adults to be driven around in comfort.

Yet not only did it offer class-leading amounts of passenger room, the car's 500-litre boot was also one of the most generous in its class. And while that figure was impressive enough, the rear seats tumbled down to offer a flat loading bay which could gobble up a whopping 1,506 litres.

Following in the footsteps of its larger C4 Picasso big brother, the C3 Picasso also benefitted from huge expanses of glass coupled with slim-line pillars, which gave the driver clear and uninterrupted views of both the road ahead and to the side.

Buyers could also continue the airy ambience theme and opt for a panoramic glass roof.

Initially, the car came with a choice of two petrol and two diesel engines. The petrol pair comprised the VTi 95bhp 1.4-litre offering and the more powerful VTi 120bhp 1.6-litre, both developed in a joint venture with BMW.

The diesel offerings were the tried-and-tested HDi 90 1.6-litre - which was to become the best-selling model - and the similar-sized HDi 110, which pumped out 90bhp and 110bhp respectively. Both did their bit for the environment with low CO2 emission figures of 125 and 130g/km.

And to help add to the car's green credentials, some models were fitted with Michelin energy saver tyres, which reduced CO2 emissions even further while also aiding fuel consumption.

But while doing its bit for the environment, the Picasso also delivered on the road. The ride was softish yet comfortable while bumps and uneven surfaces were taken care of with ease.

Safe, practical, spacious and stylish, the C3 Picasso certainly raised the bar in the ever-popular people carrier market, and coupled with their C4 Picasso, Citroen found themselves once again bringing a touch of excitement and fun back into family motoring.

Expect to pay between £4,900 to £6,800 for a 2009, 59-plate diesel HDi 1.6-litre VT model with around 40,000 miles on the clock, or between £4,000 to £5,600 for a 1.4-litre petrol VTi 95.

Similar trim 2010 10-plate models with around 40,000 miles will cost between £5,500 and £7,500 for a 16-valve diesel and between £4,800 and £6,500 for a 16-valve petrol powered VTi.



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