Citroen C3 Picasso (2009-present)

The Citroen C3 Picasso is a stylish and practical family car, but it’s getting on a bit in years

Strengths & Weaknesses


Chic styling
Easy to drive
Spacious inside


Poor second-hand values
Not many storage compartments
Driving position can be uncomfortable

First introduced in 2009, the Citroen C3 Picasso mini-MPV has been around for a quite a while now, but it’s still a smart-looking, cheap and reasonably spacious way to transport yourself and your family around. However, it faces some more up-to-date rivals, such as the Ford B-MAX, Nissan Note, Hyundai ix20, Vauxhall Meriva and Kia Venga, so you should weigh up all your options carefully before buying.

If you’re after seven seats, you’ll need to look at bigger cars like the Citroen Grand C4 Picasso – the C3 Picasso and its competitors are more about offering extra headroom and luggage space than carrying more people than a regular hatchback. Disappointingly for a family car, however, the Citroen is a bit short on storage bins and compartments for things like toys, drinks bottles and mobile phones. With kids on board, you need as much of these as you can get.

It does, at least, have what Citroen calls the ‘Spacebox Storage System’. This allows you to fix the rear seats in of two position – one for maximum legroom and one for maximum luggage capacity – as well as dropping some or all of the seats to boost capacity further.

As the C3 Picasso is coming towards the end of its time on sale, the range of engines and trim levels has been slimmed down of late and there are now just two of each on offer, with buyers able to pick from one petrol and one diesel engine. The good news is that even the entry-level version is fairly well equipped and dealers are offering big discounts on BuyaCar, so you can get a lot of car for your money.

Another area where the C3 Picasso shows its age is safety: it has only a four out of five crash-test rating from Euro NCAP. This isn’t hugely concerning, but it does show that it’s no longer a cutting-edge model and the rest of the class has moved on.

Last Updated 

Tuesday, October 18, 2016 - 12:00

Key facts 

Three years / 60,000 miles
Boot size: 
500 litres
Tax (min to max): 
£20 to £30

Best Citroen C3 Picasso for... 

Citroen C3 Picasso 1.6 BlueHDi Edition
Simply put, of the two engines on offer, the diesel is more economical than the petrol. It’ll return around 72mpg if driven sensibly and costs just £20 a year in road tax.
Citroen C3 Picasso 1.2 PureTech Platinum
We think family buyers should consider the higher-spec Platinum trim, as it adds a panoramic sunroof to brighten up the interior and convenient touches like automatic lights, rain-sensing wipers, power-adjustable heated door mirrors and rear electric windows.
Citroen C3 Picasso 1.2 PureTech Edition
The 1.2-litre petrol engine is zippier than the diesel, getting the C3 Picasso from 0-62mph in a reasonable 11.8 seconds. It’s definitely the engine to go for if you do mainly urban driving and only occasionally take long trips on the motorway.

Citroen C3 Picasso History 

  • January 2009 First goes on sale in UK
  • March 2010 Efficient ‘Airdream+’ versions added to range
  • August 2010 Recall of 611 C3 Picassos for potential fuel-pipe leak
  • October 2010 Recall of 13,000 C3 Picassos for loose windscreen trim
  • October 2010 Range updates adds more standard equipment
  • June 2011 Recall of 24,000 C3 Picassos for possibility of passenger activating brakes
  • September 2011 C3 Picassos among 9,000 Citroens recalled for engine cutting out
  • December 2012 Further standard-kit upgrade
  • February 2014 C3 Picassos among 279 Citroens recalled for potential fuel leak

Understanding Citroen C3 Picasso car names 

  • C3 Picasso
  • Engine
    1.6 BlueHDi
  • Trim level
  • Engine
    1.6 indicates the size of the engine in litres, while BlueHDi is what Citroen calls its efficient diesels. The 1.2-litre petrol is called ‘PureTech’.
  • Trim level
    There are just two trim levels, with different levels of standard equipment: introductory Edition and higher-spec Platinum.

Citroen C3 Picasso Engines 

Petrol: 1.2 PureTech 110 Diesel: 1.6 BlueHDi 100

It’s a simple A or B, petrol or diesel choice when selecting what engine you’ll have in your C3 Picasso. Both are available with both trim levels, so you don’t need to factor that into your decision.

To make things simple, we’d recommend the cheaper and faster 1.2-litre petrol (which Citroen calls ‘PureTech’) unless you do a lot of motorway driving and rack up a high annual mileage. Although the 1.6-litre diesel (known as ‘BlueHDi’ by Citroen returns significantly better fuel economy on paper, it has a higher list price and you’ll struggle to make back the difference unless you’re doing in the region of 10-12,000 miles a year.

Neither engine can compete with the very latest offerings from rivals (such as Ford’s 1.0-litre EcoBoost petrol) when it comes to running costs, though. No C3 Picasso is totally exempt from road tax and there are more economical cars out there.

Citroen C3 Picasso Trims 

Edition, Platinum

You’ll find that your decision is an easy one to make here, too, as once again there are just two options to pick from.

The entry-level C3 Picasso Edition isn’t short on standard equipment: you get power-adjustable mirrors, a 12v power socket, on-board trip computer, tyre-pressure monitoring, a height-adjustable driver’s seat, 16-inch alloys, LED daytime running lights, roof bars, foglights, a leather steering wheel, cruise control, rear parking sensors, air-conditioning and Bluetooth phone connectivity.

Platinum includes a few nice little touches that make everyday motoring easier and more comfortable, such as a panoramic sunroof, dark-tinted rear windows, automatic lights, rain-sensing windscreen wipers, electric windows all round and heated door mirrors.

All C3 Picassos come with emergency braking assistance, but more advanced safety system such as collision-avoidance sensors and lane-departure warning aren’t available – an indication that this car has been around for a while and is no longer at the cutting edge.