Citroen Picasso Exclusive

The Citroen Xsara Picasso is Britain's best-selling MPV. Against stiff competition such as the Renault Scenic and Vauxhall Zafira, the double chevron's competitive pricing, keen marketing and tempting cashback offers have rocketed the distinctive Picasso to the top sales slot.

The Citroen Xsara Picasso is Britain's best-selling MPV. Against stiff competition such as the Renault Scenic and Vauxhall Zafira, the double chevron's competitive pricing, keen marketing and tempting cashback offers have rocketed the distinctive Picasso to the top sales slot.

This has led to a demand for a luxury model - and here it is. At �14,795 for the 1.8-litre petrol and �15,495 for the 2.0 HDi diesel, the Exclusive is pitched at mid-range opponents such as the Zafira Comfort and Scenic Dynamique, yet beats them easily on specification. Automatic climate control, electric rear windows, a refrigerated glovebox and a full-length sunroof are absent from its rivals, but does the Picasso leave its competitors trailing? We're not sure. It's a well equipped family holdall, but side-by-side with a Zafira, the Citroen's case doesn't look so strong. It lacks the Zafira's stability, and our test car had trim rattles, clunky suspension and proved noisy at speed.

The 2.0 HDi unit is sluggish through the gears, but cruises comfortably and returns an impressive 51.4mpg. The 1.8 is livelier, but hits you in the wallet at the pumps. The Picasso is also less practical than the Vauxhall, with five seats rather than seven, a narrower load area and poor driving position.

The Picasso lacks the Zafira's composure, but it's still great value, with only Korean rivals such as the Daewoo Tacuma coming close to it on price.

Another big value package from Citroen. The Picasso's price and kit are unbeatable, but some rivals are much better to drive.

At a glance

* Citroen Xsara Picasso Exclusive on sale in the UK now

* 1.8 petrol version priced at �14,795; 2.0 HDi is �15,465

* �800 cashback offers are available for both models

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