It’s always a battle when you are looking for a car that will fit the bill for family life and at the same time not look like little more than a box on wheels.
Citroen gave the family MPV a real run for its money when they introduced the Zsara Picasso in 1999, and it has been through more than a few makeovers since, each time refining the design making it that bit more appealing.
The current C3 Picasso has been given a very pleasant restyle and went on sale last month.
It may be far less streamlined in appearance than the original Zsara Picasso, but it has an unmistakable, beefy, muscular character all of its own as a result.
On the outside, new styling features include a revised front bumper and the latest Citroen chevrons; together with the addition of LED daytime running lights for a fresh new look as standard on VTR+ models.
Two new body colours have also been introduced; Ink Blue and Pearlescent White.
Inside, not only does the spacious cabin offer an exceptional view of the road, it has also been updated with a sophisticated new trim called Mistral Mixou cloth, which is specified as standard on all VTR+ models.
An electro-chrome rear view mirror is now included in C3 Picasso’s Automatic Pack option at no extra charge and the new-look C3 Picasso comes with new 16″ Blade alloy wheels as standard on VTR+ versions.
The version of the car I tested was the Special Edition C3 Picasso CODE, which comes with an array of additional equipment; including striking black or white Clover 17″ alloy wheels, a stunning panoramic sunroof, chrome door mirrors and roof bars; all for a step-up cost of just €500.
I must admit, if I was financing a C3 Picasso over a few years, this would be a very sensible option pack – especially considering the car already comes with Bluetooth, cruise control with speed limit, LED daytime running lights and air conditioning as standard.
In terms of space and size, the car measures just 4.08m long, with an innovative design that creates one of the biggest cabin lengths in its class – at 1.6m long, it is a rival for some MPVs in the segment above.
And, access to the C3 Picasso cabin is made easy with straighter and more rectangular doors, which, thanks to the long wheelbase, don’t intrude on the rear wheel arches, thus creating a larger opening for rear passengers to enter/exit.
The functional design of the C3 Picasso achieves one of the best ratios of internal space to external size of any vehicle in its class, delivering impressive standards of adaptability, space and convenience together with surprisingly good visibility.
Just a few inches longer than an average supermini, the C3 Picasso offers class-leading passenger space and a 500-litre boot, one of the biggest in the sector.
In developing the C3 Picasso, Citroen laid down demanding quality and reliability standards.
Other key aspects of the design process were to ensure that the C3 delivered a smooth and comfortable ride, together with high standards of handling and road holding.
In the metal, the C3 Picasso delivers these design objectives with high standards of fit and finish, as well as providing responsive yet comfortable on-road performance.
This ensures that it is as much at home in the city as on the motorway.
Whatever, the road, the C3 Picasso’s driver benefits from the vehicle’s compact dimensions and exceptional visibility.