Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Citroen C3 Picasso

I like cars.

You wouldn’t know it from the sluggish sharrabang that I drive, but yes, I like a nice motor John.

To aid the enjoyment of our recent school holidays Citroen UK were kind enough to lend us a Citroen C3 Picasso.

The car is a small MPV that counts its competition as the Vauxhall Meriva, Nissan Note and Ford Fusion. Of which, the Meriva is all I have first hand experience of.

Now a 110 BHP family diesel might not be everyone’s idea of fun, but for us it was. That amount of power is all you really need. It is strong enough to drive fully loaded at a brisk pace, and also allows you to easily overtake cars on single carriageways. While at the same time, not being so powerful that you find yourself naturally flaunting the speed limit wherever you go.

We were testing the top of the range ‘Exclusive’ model. Which also came with metallic paint, and ‘Black Pack’. A very smart looking thing, much sharper than its peers I reckon.

This car had lots of gadgets: Dual climate control, MP3 input, cruise control, automatic headlights, one touch electric windows. It also had an integral fragrance dispenser, so you don’t have to have anything unsightly on the dashboard, apart from my son’s feet of course (apologies to Citroen UK).

When I asked my son what he liked about the car, in his succinct reviewer mode he said: “Numbers, and the shiny bits.”

Which I believe translated to the digital dash, and the various chrome finishes on the cars smart looking interior.

The digital dash is not something I believe I would ever prefer to a traditional dial version. But it is only a minor irritant.

I like the electric child locks on the rear doors, as I am often unwittingly locking people in my own car with my neanderthalic mechanical childlocks.

Auto electric retractable wing mirrors were also good, not only because on some of the narrow country roads we go down it is handy to draw them in, but also as they are a very good visual reminder to if I have locked the car.

The drive itself was very nice, handling was very sharp, and it is definitely a punchy car to drive, without it feeling like you are keeping it on a leash. Gearbox was excellent, I liked it. Clunky, not clicky, like some small cars I have driven.

Driver's position is comfortable, I am 6ft 2, and was afforded generous headroom. Visibility is excellent. The three-part panoramic windscreen gives the driver an excellent vantage point, which is demonstrated well in this video.

Overall size suited us, and how we used it. At times we comfortably fitted three children and two adults in it. My dad, a six footer, was impressed with the space afforded in the rear seats ‘even behind a lanky driver’.

Fuel economy was reasonable, the onboard computer says we averaged around 45 mpg. And that included a vast collective of driving conditions and journey types.

I worked out the OTR price of this particular vehicle to be £17,170, but prices start from £12,445. And if you are in the market for a small MPV I would thoroughly recommend checking out the Citroen C3 Picasso.

I must also thank Citroen UK for sponsoring our Hadrian’s Wall Walk.