Citroen Picasso 2.0i Exclusive

If ever you needed proof that low prices mean high sales, take a look at the Citroen Picasso. It might not be the best in its class to drive, nor even offer the greatest practicality, yet it's still the top-selling MPV in Britain, thanks largely to unbeatable cashback deals.

By adding an automatic to the Picasso range, Citroen has boosted the appeal of its people carrier even further. The 2.0-litre petrol engine performs well, while the new transmission is refined, can adapt to your driving style and has a manual shift facility. And with the firm's cashback deals, the Picasso 2.0i Auto is great value.

If ever you needed proof that low prices mean high sales, take a look at the Citroen Picasso. It might not be the best in its class to drive, nor even offer the greatest practicality, yet it's still the top-selling MPV in Britain, thanks largely to unbeatable cashback deals. And the Picasso's success is all the more remarkable when you consider there has always been one glaring omission in its line-up - an automatic gearbox. Until now.

Besides the self-shifting gearbox, this version also has an all-new 2.0-litre petrol engine to overcome the power-sapping nature of the transmission. With 137bhp on tap, the Picasso 2.0i Auto can sprint from 0-60mph in a reasonable 10.9 seconds and reach a maximum speed of 119mph. Fuel economy is claimed to be a respectable 33mpg.

On the move, the new features are refined, and provide a relaxing drive. Even under hard acceleration, ratio changes are smooth, while in cruising mode, they are virtually unnoticeable. What's more, the transmission adapts to your driving style and road conditions. Usually it shifts up early to maximise economy but, if you like to make swift progress, the gearbox will be more inclined to kick down and hold a ratio - especially in sport mode. If you wish, you can select one of the four gears manually, thanks to the inclusion of a sequential semi-automatic facility.

Citroen's current £2,000 cashback deal means the new 2.0i Auto costs only £13,995 in SX trim and £1,000 more for the Exclusive version. As that is barely more than a top-of-the-range automatic supermini, it seems amazing value, not least because both variants come with cruise control, an Electronic Stability Programme and Brake Assist as part of their standard specification.

This keen pricing should help the people carrier defend its position at the top of the charts against competitors such as the Renault Scenic and Vauxhall Zafira. With automatic models accounting for around 15 per cent of some rivals' MPV sales, it is a wonder why it has taken Citroen so long to add one to the Picasso line-up.

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