Citroen C3 Picasso review 2019

Find out more about the Citroen C3 Picasso in the latest MOTORS Review

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Out of 5


  • Supremely practical
  • Comfortable ride
  • Plentiful headroom


  • Prone to body roll
  • Some interior build issues
  • Interior was very outdated by end of production
Model review

With production starting in 2008, the Citroen C3 Picasso served – alongside its larger cousin, the C4 Picasso – as a replacement for the popular Xsara Picasso MPV.

As it is based on the C3 platform, the Picasso is a compact MPV, but it has often been noted for having an impressively roomy interior. A decent selection of diesel and petrol options also heighten its appeal, and while certain rivals in the sector are dynamically superior, the C3 Picasso is perfectly passable to drive.

When the C3 Picasso was revealed back in 2008, its styling was lauded, and even today, good examples of those earlier cars still hold up well to the eye test.

After four years on the market, a revamped version of the C3 Picasso arrived at the tail-end of 2012.

Latest model

It’s safe to say that aesthetics and design were the points of focus when the C3 Picasso was reworked in 2012.

The car received a styling overhaul to bring it in line with the rest of the Citroen range, as well as getting the then-new ‘Mixou’ cloth interior trim and eMyWay satellite navigation system.

An expanded range of trims and engines was also added alongside LED daytimes running lights on some of the more exclusive variants.

The C3 Picasso would ultimately be replaced indirectly in 2017, by the C3 Aircross; an example of how SUV/Crossover body shapes have thoroughly taken over the market once strongly held by MPVs.

Value for money

As the C3 Picasso isn’t available as a new car, let’s dive straight into the second-hand market for prices.

Certain early, pre-facelift examples of the C3 Picasso can be found for around £2,000. These models do typically come with high-mileage, but once you get closer to £2,500, many of the used options are in relatively good condition. Pre-facelift models with less than 50,000 miles can be bought for less than £3,500.

For the most part, facelifted C3 Picasso models are available for a shade under £4,000, though there are some cheaper anomalies with exceedingly high mileage figures.

Cars from the final year of the vehicle’s production – 2017 – can be had for around £8,000, a price point where you can find some lower-spec models with less than 15,000 miles on the clock.

Looks and image

The C3 Picasso’s styling was applauded on its launch in 2008, and it still holds up as a particularly smart-looking mini MPV. It’s van-like in its silhouette, so some could be forgiven for misidentifying it as a Berlingo, and while it looks a little bit cheap in the base ‘Edition’ trim, it is genuinely smart in the higher grade trims such as Platinum.

Rivals, such as the Ford B-Max, are notably more dynamic, but the C3 Picasso is perfectly passable on a day-to-day basis. Most importantly, it has a very comfortable ride, a detail which can often make or break the usefulness of a car such as this. Even though the soft setup means it is prone to body roll, having cushioned suspension is likely to be more important if you’re in the market for a car like this.

The steering is light, which means it is ideal for nipping around town, if a little unprecise when you venture out of town.

The driving position isn’t particularly wonderful, especially when it comes to space in the driver’s footwell, but these minor foibles aside, there is very little to negatively flag when driving the C3 Picasso.

Space and practicality


Visibility in the C3 Picasso is a particular highlight; as it might well be the easiest MPV to park.

The boot is of class-leading size too, with an impressive 385-litre capacity, although this can be extended to 500 litres if the rear row is pushed all the way forward. Fold the rear seats down, and you’re essentially left with a be-windowed van, perfect for a suitcase-heavy run to the airport.

A hurdle that the C3 Picasso does stumble at is the lack of storage bins inside the cabin, but there is a positive compromise, as headroom and rear passenger room is exemplary for a car of this size.

By 2017, the dashboard of the C3 Picasso rather dated, however, it performs all of its functionalities well.


There were a trio of petrol engines and a pair of diesels available with the C3 Picasso from its refresh in 2012.

Of these, the most powerful motors are the pick, and you’d have to say that the 113bhp diesel motor is the best overall. It was officially quoted at 58.8mpg at the time of release, but it falls just a little short of that in the real world.

The pick of the petrols is the 94bhp motor, which is capable of 44.8mpg.

Running costs

Insuring the C3 Picasso is a relatively inexpensive process, sitting between group 14 and 16 depending on engine and spec.

Servicing is a relatively inexpensive process at Citroen dealers, so long as nothing is amiss.

Things to look out for

The Citroen C3 Picasso had numerous recalls before the refresh in 2012, which affected tens of thousands of cars, so it’s worth checking if there are any outstanding recalls, which can be done online.

There are some issues reported by owners in regards to build quality, particularly in the interior, while some negative feedback has been placed upon the gearbox. However, overall, the C3 Picasso seems to be impressively free of consistent issues.

As always, be very observant if you take one for a test drive, and pay particular attention to interior creaks and noises in this instance – what might be insignificant over 15 minutes could become the bane of your existence by the time you park it on the drive for the first time.

If you are to experience issues with the Picasso, they will likely involve the engine and suspension.


Rivals for the C3 Picasso include the Vauxhall Meriva, Ford B-Max and the Nissan Note. While the B-Max is a better drive, none of these cars are quite the all-round package of the Picasso.

While the MPV market is far from fashionable right now, Citroen is definitely one of the manufacturers that has mastered the art.


While it’s less of an issue now that the C3 Picasso is strictly a used car, the residuals on this model were particularly frightening when it was new. It would lose 10 per cent more than rivals such as the B-Max in its first year on the road, and today’s used values are further proof of the model’s rather abrupt drop in value over the years.

If you’re looking to get good money back, the C3 Picasso maybe isn’t the right buy, but the same can be said for most of the MPV sector due to the meteoric rise in popularity of SUVs.


As the C3 Picasso is no longer on the market, trims don’t have quite the same level of effect on price. However, you should be sure to read the spec sheets thoroughly before buying to ensure that you’re getting what you want.

The base spec on the Picasso is the Edition trim. With this spec you get halogen headlights, 16-inch alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights, exterior chrome details such as the fog light surrounds, cloth interior trim, a leather steering wheel, rear parking sensors and cruise control.

Upgrade to Platinum spec, and you gain stylish 17-inch alloy wheels, black design accents, a panoramic sunroof, front and rear electric windows and electrically adjustable, heated and folding door mirrors. You also get automatic lights, wipers and air conditioning.

There were some very impressive colours available for the Picasso, including the fetching Karma Purple and Ruby Red. The remainder of the paint line up was formed of motoring’s primary colours; white, silver, grey and black.


  1. Light steering makes it a doddle to drive in town
  2. Class-leading practicality
  3. Lacking interior cubby holes
  4. Well-styled
  5. Superb headroom all-round
  6. Dashboard feels rather dated, especially on newer models
  7. Some older cars may be due a recall
  8. Miscellaneous reports of rattling interiors
  9. Superb value on the used market
  10. Still a leading choice if you want a mini MPV