It may look small and cute, but the C3 Picasso is a surprisingly useful family car
When it comes to the driving experience, the old model of Citroen’s C3 Picasso is beaten by more modern opposition – but age hasn’t withered its excellent qualifications as a family car.
Those distinctive exterior looks conceal a remarkably practical vehicle that tops rivals like the Ford B-Max on interior space. Its boot is Golf-sized, which is good, and you can alter its capacity and give rear passengers more space by sliding the back seats forward or back.
There are more reliable small cars, like the Honda Jazz, but as a used left-field choice for families, the Citroen C3 Picasso has a lot going for it.
The old-generation C3 Picasso was on sale from 2009 until the facelift model came along 2013, so you’ll have no problem finding an affordable car on the secondhand market. The range of trims is VT, VTR+ and Exclusive. There’s not much kit in a VT, so we’d recommend a VTR+ as it provides aircon, cruise control, side airbags and alloy wheels.
How much will you need? As little as £2,500 will secure a smaller-engined petrol or diesel car with 70,000 miles on the clock and a fully-stamped service history book.
Diesels are better for higher-mileage drivers as they combine good economy with stronger power in the most commonly used mid-range. If petrol is your favoured fuel, we’d suggest going for the 1.6 rather than the 1.4. It’s the natural choice for low-mileage drivers, and will cost you anything from £4,000 for a 2010 specimen.
Stretching to £7,000 will put you in the ballpark for facelifted cars which, besides updated looks, also had more efficient engines.
What should you be looking out for in a used C3 Picasso? Citroen has issued a fair few recalls on this model, so get hold of a list from the manufacturer or one of the specialist marque websites and make sure they’ve all been carried out.
The city-based nature of many C3 Picassos’ lives means they’re more susceptible to dents in the doors from careless supermarket parking. As a family car, the interior will have taken some stick too, so don’t expect perfection in that department. Go through all the electrically-operated features for correct function and watch out for a diesel particulate filter warning light: they can easily clog up if the previous owner hasn’t taken the car out for longer runs.