Fleet News

Citroen Xsara Picasso 1.6 HDi Exclusive



THREE months have passed since I first tried the latest version of the Citroen Xsara Picasso and I have to admit that despite being bettered by increasingly more glamorous competition, the car has certainly proved its worth.

It is not exciting or dynamic, it doesn’t have the wow factor that makes you want to go ‘cruisin’ in it, but it certainly is a great family car.

The new 1.6-litre HDi engine is more than powerful enough, there is room for five in comfort, it has a high driving position and loads of handy stashes and useful kit.

And I’m not the only one to like the Picasso – Citroen has so far sold more than 70,000 models in the corporate sector to date – and of those about 50% were diesels.

The Picasso is not perfect by any stretch of the imagination and a recent weekend away to Southwold on the Suffolk coast highlighted a few new pluses and minuses. The optional turn-by-turn sat-nav (£1,000) is invaluable, easy to use and although not the greatest visual display, the audible directions (in a rather assertive female voice) got us stress-free to our destination.

The funny thing is that on Picasso models that have sat-nav, you can’t set the clock in the conventional way but have to use the sat-nav remote control to access it. I have no idea why this is and have just put it in the ‘quirky’ pigeonhole along with the persistent child locks mentioned in my last report.

Despite the revamped look, new engine, higher spec and various cashback offers, with the arrival of the new Renault Scenic, sales of the dated Picasso could take a hammering and CAP residual values reflect this at only 27% (£4,500) after three years/ 60,000 miles as opposed to 34% (£6,175) for the equivalent Scenic. Although residual values are on the low side, this can be offset by taking advantage of the many purchase price incentives that Citroen is known for.

So while the Picasso undoubtedly has its faults, is a little dated when compared with the competition and doesn’t have the greatest residual values, it offers a great family-friendly package.

Price (OTR) £16,645 (£17,145 tested)
Mileage: 6,503
CO2 emissions (g/km): 131
Company car tax bill 2004/05 (22% tax-payer): £632 per year
Insurance group: 8
Combined mpg: 57
Test mpg: 51
CAP Monitor residual value: £4500/27%
HSBC contract hire rate: £301.50 per month
Expenditure to date: Nil
Figures based on three-years/60,000-miles

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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