Our cars: What Car? test fleet November - Citroen C3 Picasso
List price £15,595
Target Price £14,762
Run by Alex Newby
Tested for Two months/1165 miles
This year, I've become a mum for the first time – and it's made me as demanding as my baby about my choice of car. Suddenly, I need extra headroom and raised seats to help me load a 22lb weight without turning me into Quasimodo, and a decent boot for all his stuff. I want a car I can drive around town and park into the last space without having to use my brain much. I also don't want to be wasting time at the fuel pump.
So I've gone for Citroën's own new baby, the C3 Picasso mini-MPV. It has plenty of practical features, and its compact size and light controls make it ideal for city life – yet I can still fit my son's buggy across the boot without a struggle.
I chose the more powerful of the two 1.6 turbodiesels, because I like to make the odd nippy move in town and get up to speed on motorways without too much delay. The 108bhp engine comes with 177lb ft of torque at 1750rpm, which should suit these needs well.
This engine comes only in top-of-the-range Exclusive trim, which is generously equipped and has air-con and rear parking sensors. I did add a few extras: sat-nav with Bluetooth (£700), a full-length glass roof (£520), part-leather seats (£350) and a USB point for my iPod (£100). I treated myself to some less practical luxuries, too: metallic paint in Bitter Lemon (£395) and the Black Pack, with black exterior trim and distinctive alloys (£200).
I collected the car from Citroën London West (020 8987 4000), where sales executive Mark Latter talked me through the car's features and demonstrated the versatile boot, with its adjustable floor height and depth – I can add up to 115 litres of space by pushing forward one or both parts of the 60:40 rear bench seat.
So far, being demanding has paid off: car journeys with the baby are now a welcome break in a hectic day. The stereo controls could be more user-friendly, and within a few days of ownership the driver's seat started to creak like an antique armchair – but, once Citroën London West have put this right, I'll look forward to the C3 Picasso meeting my demands over my next year of motherhood.
What Car? says
Easy to drive, use and park – with lots of handy kit