Citroen Xsara Picasso (2000-2010) review
The Picasso is the UK's best selling compact MPV, bettering even the car that started the segment - Renault's Scenic.
The Picasso is the UK's best selling compact MPV, bettering even the car that started the segment - Renault's Scenic. The Picasso has been very good for Citroen, the French firm improving its sales markedly in the past few years. The Picasso's success is as much down to the quality of the vehicle as Citroen's aggressive pricing, which allows it to regularly undercut rivals by not just hundreds, but often thousands of pounds. Its high driving position, versatility, clever storage space and big boot are all standard Compact MPV fare, it also featuring the usual plethora of cubby holes and cup holders. Perhaps a step too far is the flimsy, wheeled, shopping basket in the boot, which, if you choose to use it out of the car, will make you look utterly ridiculous. The three rear seats can be easily removed and are comparatively light, though the Picasso lacks the seven-passenger capability found in Vauxhall's clever Zafira. Neither do the seats offer perfect comfort; those looking for good lumbar support will be disappointed.
The Picasso rides well and on the open road it feels surprisingly agile for such a tall vehicle. That height means a commanding driving position. An easy gear change is at hand, literally, the gear lever being mounted just a hand fall from the wheel, high on the dashboard. The petrol engines are quiet, with a lively, enjoyable drive on offer from the 1.8-litre unit, the 1.6-litre feeling rather overwhelmed. It's the other way around with the diesels, the 2.0-litre is an old engine producing just 90bhp and rather lacklustre performance, the 1.6-litre HDI adding 20bhp and better refinement, economy and range too - over 750 miles being possible on one tank of fuel. Specification was enhanced early in 2004 to include equipment like a CD player across the range and minor styling enhancements inside and out too. The pricing remains as aggressive as ever though, making the Picasso an appealing vehicle for all families, whatever your budget.