Fleet News

Citroen Picasso



FROM the wacky days of the DS and the 2CV, the latest models to burst on to the scene from Citroen - namely the Xsara and Saxo - have pandered to the latest demands for more stringent safety standards, orthodox suspension settings and an interior design that better resembles its competitors rather than the inside of the Starship Enterprise.

But while conservatism might well be tolerated in the supermini and lower medium sectors, customers have come to expect something radically different in the mini-MPV sector. And let's face it, if you're trying to cram enough seating space for five, six or seven people and their luggage into a vehicle no bigger than a family runabout then an intelligent packaging concept is the order of the day.

Unlike recent revisions to the Scenic which has seen Renault move it further away from the Megane on which it's based, Citroen has moved the other way with simple 'Xsara' badging and added the family face with teardrop headlamps and massive chevrons dominating the grille.

The Picasso may also share half its parts - engines, transmissions and floorpan - with the Xsara, but that's where the similarities end. From the side, the rounded, sharply-raked rear and bulbous front give a unmistakable (and striking) 'egg-on-wheels' profile, but from a front three-quarter stance the huge glass area and low waistline look awkward.

There are three engine choices: 1.6-litre with 95bhp, 1.8-litre 16v with 117bhp and the 2.0-litre HDi common rail turbodiesel unit with 90bhp. Prices for the entry-level 1.6 LX start at ú13,600 on-the-road, ú14,625 for the 1.8 16v SX up to ú15,715 for the 2.0 HDi SX. Tested here is the 2.0 HDi LX at ú14,990 OTR - ú610 behind the cheapest Fiat Multipla JTD SX at ú14,380. The most expensive in the class is the Vauxhall Zafira 2.0 Di at ú15,500.

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.

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