Citroen C3 Picasso (2009-2017) Review

The Citroen C3 Picasso is a practical family car, but it’s been surpassed by a new generation of crossovers

Strengths & weaknesses

  • Chic styling
  • Easy to drive
  • Spacious inside
  • Poor second-hand values
  • Not many storage compartments
  • Driving position can be uncomfortable
Citroen C3 Picasso prices from £5,550.

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 one of two positions – 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.

Key facts

Warranty Three years / 60,000 miles
Boot size 500 litres
Width 1766mm
Length 4101mm
Height 1670mm
Tax (min to max) £20 to £30

Best Citroen C3 Picasso for...

Best for Economy – 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 according to official tests (50-60mpg is more realistic) and costs just £20 a year in road tax.

Best for Families – 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.

Best for Performance – 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.


  • 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 names

Engine 1.6 BlueHDi

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 Platinum

There are just two trim levels, with different levels of standard equipment: introductory Edition and higher-spec Platinum.

Citroen C3 Picasso Engines

1.2 PureTech 1101.6 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 weren't available – an indication that this car has been around for a while and is no longer at the cutting edge.