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What Car? says

4 out of 5 stars

For Comfortable, spacious, well equipped and cheap

Against Seats can be a pain on longer journeys and visibility is restricted

Verdict This is low-cost, five-seat MPV transport at its roomy, conventional best

Go for… 1.8 petrol

Avoid… 1.6 petrol

Citroën Xsara Picasso MPV
  • 1. Kids will like the view out, but the driver's view is obstructed by the windscreen pillars
  • 2. The suspension and axles are the biggest sources of problems, so pay attention to them on a test drive
  • 3. Watch for electrical problems, particularly the warning lights, which can come on for no reason
  • 4. Check the clutch on early HDI cars, as they had problems with clutches failing after about 30,000 miles
  • 5. Check that the spare wheel, which should be slung underneath the car, hasn't been stolen
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Citroën Xsara Picasso MPV full review with expert trade views

You get five individual seats, plenty of space for everybody and a roomy boot. But, you don't get all the clever details of more modern rivals, such as the Vauxhall Zafira, Mazda 5 or Toyota Verso.

It's still a practical, versatile family wagon, though. The seats fold and are light enough to remove altogether without sweat. There's even a 'Modubox' trolley that you can unclip from the boot and use for shopping, too

The kids will like the view out, but the driver's vision is obstructed by the windscreen pillars, and it isn't great out the back, either. The driving position is van-like, some will find the instruments confusing and the seats are short of support - something you'll notice on longer journeys.

However, the ride is supple, all engines are decent (the turbodiesels are excellent) and it goes round corners tidily if you don't mind a bit of body lean. Overall, it's more than the sum of its parts.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Strong demand for all models both petrol and diesel ideally SX spec

James Ruppert
Used car guru

Pick any diesel - they're all good. The 90bhp 2.0 HDI is strong and there are two even better 1.6 HDI diesels (92bhp and 110bhp).

All are easy on the juice, pull smoothly and are reasonably quiet. We'd be happy with any of them.

If you're on a petrol-only diet, though, go for the 1.8. It's much livelier than the 1.6 petrol, which can feel sluggish when the car's fully loaded.

The 1.8 is also much quieter - the 1.6 can get a bit loud when you start to work it hard. There's also a 2.0 petrol with a four-speed auto gearbox, but it's a disappointing combination.

Trim levels kick off with LX, and all models have CD player, remote locking, twin front and side airbags, ABS brakes and electric front windows.

However, we'd recommend you step up to Desire for its (essential) air-conditioning. Top-trim Exclusive adds cruise control, electric rear windows, electric sunroof and alloy wheels to the already decent list of kit.

Trade view

Duncan McLure-Fisher

Excellent reliability, low bills and low failure rates, but watch for suspension problems

Duncan McLure-Fisher
Managing Director,
Warranty Direct

Nothing about the Picasso will prove costly, provided you get a sound one and don't buy too new an example. They depreciate fast from new - and because Citroen dealers dished out huge discounts on new ones, don't pay too much for a nearly new Picasso.

Value loss starts to level out in the second year and by the time it's three years old, the Picasso hangs on its value as well as most rivals. So if you're on a tight budget, bag a cared-for three- or four-year-old.

The diesels are economical - you can get over 50mpg with the 2.0 HDI and even nudge 60mpg with careful driving in the 1.6 HDIs. The petrols should return mid-30s.

Insurance is very fair - group five for the 1.6 petrol up to group nine for the lacklustre 2.0 auto petrol. Service costs are average, but no better than that.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Strong demand for all models both petrol and diesel ideally SX spec

James Ruppert
Used car guru

The Picasso is based on the Xsara's proven chassis and mechanicals, so there should be little worry over major components.

However, the suspension and axles are the biggest areas of concern, based on data from independent warranty provider Warranty Direct.

Electrics are worth checking thoroughly, too. Warning lights can come on for no reason, but if your intended purchase flashes up lights on the dash, assume the worst and look for another. There are so many used Picassos, you don't need to take the risk.

Check that the spare wheel is there. It's strapped underneath the car and is vulnerable to theft - you might want to invest in a lock for it if you buy a Picasso.

Build quality can be iffy, so listen for rattles, squeaks and buzzes. Check door seals, look for signs of leaks and inspect the sunroof carefully.

Early HDI cars had problems with clutches failing after about 30,000 miles, but later cars are unaffected.

Trade view

Duncan McLure-Fisher

Excellent reliability, low bills and low failure rates, but watch for suspension problems

Duncan McLure-Fisher
Managing Director,
Warranty Direct
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