I've recently sold a 2001 2.0HDI. I did 66000 miles in it and it was a good car. I had some warranty issues, but nothing serious and the dealer always sorted them out. It needed a new stereo, a new wiper assembly (Old one clunked) a new rear screen (HRW elements didn't work on the old one) and things like that. If you buy appreciating its a Citroen rather than a Toyota and therefore will have the odd issue I'm sure you'll be happy with it.
One thing I would advise, if you are buying a second hand 2.0 HDI make sure its one with Bosch rather than Siemens fuel pump and common rail. There was a problem with siemens cars failing and large bills resulting.
Only problem I had with my HDi was a faulty fuel pump - got quite noisy quite quickly so easy enough to listen out for when testing. Local efficient Citroen dealer dealt with it under warranty and said it was a common problem.
I suppose they might appear a bit old but I reckon they look ok, better than old style Zafiras. They drive well, smooth cruisers, compliant suspension, very comfortable, 3 proper seats in the back, large boot, good spec and great value. Lots of good independents will look after it for you and some Citroen main dealers are competent and helpful.
I'm on my second, the first, a '51 2.0HDi did 120K miles with few problems (a couple of door locks needed replacing). The second is a '05 1.6HDi and is rapidly approaching 100K miles. Again it's been pretty trouble free, it had injectors and a head shield replaced under warranty but has never let me down. Next year when I'll be looking to replace the current one, another Picasso will be high on my list (assuming they are still being sold).
We have owned an 04 plate 1.6 petrol for a year now and it has had several weekend trips with 2 kids, 3 adults and luggage. It has been simply superb although the 1.6 petrol is a little sluggish when fully loaded. As you can see from the posts above there is the odd issue with the diesels but the petrols seem very reliable.
It gets driven mostly around town with the odd 20 mile motorway trip and returns around 38mpg.
I run a 2001 on a Y plate 1.8SX newish to me but purchased by my elderly parents from new. My parents only problem was a failed alternator just out of warranty, cost £250 i believe. They are spacious, huge boot and a family friendly interior. Ours has only done 57K and has had a sheltered life till now. Citroen main dealer servicing good but expensive but my parents were happy to pay it. One service bill was for near on £800 which included a full service, front discs and pads and a cambelt change. My colleague had a cambelt change at local independent for £220.
My parents had the dash bulbs changed because they were dim. An hours labour and the cost of the bulbs.
A work colleague has the identical car to mine. He returns 36mpg according to computer, i return 34..9. I do live in mpg friendly Norfolk though. The 1.8 copes with full loads fairly well, lacks low down torque in my opinion. One up it can feel fairly brisk but does need to be revved. No rev counter is something i miss sadly.
My only obsevation is that mine and my colleagues both burn oil. My parents found they were often topping up with 2L inbetween services. I have had to do the same. Despite a computer that tells you most things there is no warning of the oil situation. Both my colleague and I can tell from the engine note that an oil top up is due. The Citroen dealer did accept it is a known problem on some of that vintage.
Suggest that a diesel version be it the 2.0 or more modern 1.6 makes it the perfect family mpv.
I do find it a comfortable but uninspiring drive though. Handling i find dull. My RAV 4 1996 is decidedly better and more sporting on the bends, despite both being compromised one a 4x4 one a mpv.
In conclusion one of the more reliable Citroens available. Lots out there, be selective.
I've run a few of these (12) in my engineers' fleet all diesel starting with the 1.9 then the 1.6 turbo. For under £10k they are a very practical vehicle, covering upto 200k miles in 3 years, only faults seem to be ECU related solved by disconnecting battery under driver's seat.
I ran one of these for 126,000 miles from new and sold it in January. In that time it never broke down. It was a 51 reg and towards the end of my ownership the aircon packed up - the sort of air con radiator rusted through. The body work looked awful but the seats and interior were unmarked - and it was used as family transport. The gear box whined on the over run - they all seem to. I had the diesel 2 litre HDi and got a properly measured average of 52 mpg - the highlight was 64 mpg on two holidays. The tyres were good for over 50,000 miles and I had the belt changed at 100,000 miles. When I sold it it had the original clutch, battery and exhaust.
Interestingly, I too had lock problems. The front two were replaced under warranty by the dealer (on the extended warranty with out a quibble) and one of the back ones sometimes only locked after pressing it a few times - check the locks carefully. If you constantly fill up with tiny amounts of derv you will confuse the computer and the fuel gauge will mis read - if you run it down and fill it up it re-sets itself. The turbo pipe can blow off - the dealer clipped it on again for free. The dealer also replaced an engine mount for free - the first few years production had a fancy dan mount which would fail - he said that they replaced it with a standard bolt on later ones. Check you are not annoyed by the thick front pillars - someone I know sold hers because they drove her mad. I had no problem with burning oil and mechanics said they had no problems with the MOT smoke test.
I would buy the extended warranty if it is coming to the end of the 3 year one they come with - frankly I think the locks were worn out and therefore wear and tear but they replaced them any way.
I really liked mine - I dont think for the road space it takes up you will find a bigger interior. It drove well enough and had 5 proper, comfortable seats. I miss it.
i wouldnt personally go near them ... there one within the family and it was bought last july (july 2006) on an "05" plate and its now 3 years old and within the years its been with us its has 3 power stearing pumps which continuously grinded i wud also point out that this is on a care thats done only 23,000 since new and only done 8,000 in the last 12 months
the cars seem to drink the fuel ... in the town u avergae around 25-30 mpg at low revs and the 1.6 desire petrol seems to be a too small of an engine for a large body ...be careful were u tread with them ... possibly go for the 2.0hdi which is also used in the peugeot 406 which we have within the family ... we had it 2002 on a y plate and it here at present day since been here its done nearly 70,ooo miles and its never put a foot wrong so the 2.0 hdi engine is a very very very good engine