Citroen C3 Picasso -

Used Car Review

CITROEN'S smaller Picasso people carrier - the C3 - is well designed and practical as a family holdall for four or five.

But with the higher output engines it is also good to drive.

It's a brilliant small estate that is actually not small at all when you look inside. I was amazed how much I could cram into one for a holiday over to the beautiful mountains in the west of Ireland.

The pugnacious looks might not be to everyone's taste but I found they grew on me and I enjoyed it tremendously - even on some poorly surfaces Irish country roads, where the suspension smoothed everything out beautifully.

The roadholding is safe and sure, with less roll that you might expect from a tall car, and excellent grip even when pressed very hard.

The electric power steering has plenty of feel on the move and a tight turning circle, together with the vertical rear, make it very easy to park and manoeuvre in tight spaces.

A friend who owned two of the diesel versions over four years regularly achieved a real road 60 miles per gallon, which has to be very special.

The diesels seem to make up the vast majority of these C3s on the market secondhand, but there are good petrol engines too.

The diesels are all 1.6 litres in various levels of turbocharging. First comes a 90bhp version that takes just over 13 seconds to reach 60 from rest and is capable of 68mpg.

Next there is a 100bhp BlueHDi model. This has a number of economy details built in and has 100bhp, which is enough for 0 to 60 in 12.1 and an excellent rating of no less than 78mpg.

Finally, there are 110 and 115bhp versions in upper models and these have identical 60 miles an hour times of 10.8 seconds and are rated at 58mpg.

Petrol models may well be cheaper year for year, and usually come with lower mileage too.

These start with a 1.2-litre Puretech turbo with 110bhp that gets to the benchmark in 10.3 seconds and is capable of an excellent 67mpg.

Then there is a 1.4 VTi non-turbo with 95bhp. It takes 11.8 seconds to get to 60 and is capable of 44mpg.

And finally, there is a 1.6 VTi that covers the sprint in 10.6 and is also capable of 44mpg.

All the engines should be smooth and quiet on the move, although the diesels can be noisier when started from cold if they have a lot of miles under their wheels.

And don't forget, whichever model you are interested in, walk away if there's no service history. You need to know the car has been properly cared for before parting with your hard-earned money.

Any garage that tries to sell a car without history these days should be charging much less that the market price because of the uncertainty over its previous care.

Latterly, the entry model Edition came very well equipped, with audio remote control, air conditioning, very good seat adjustment, traction control, alloy wheels, cruise control and parking sensors.

Pay about £6,600 for a '17 17-reg 1.6 BlueHDi diesel Edition, or £8,950 for an '18 67-reg 1.2 PureTech petrol Platinum.

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