Citroen C3 Picasso (2009 – 2017) Review

Citroen C3 Picasso (2009 – 2017) At A Glance


+Decent practical upright car. Roomy in the back. Good load capacity. Drives and rides well. Panoramic front screen with no blindspots.

-Automatic originally only an automated manual. Was ranked as one of the UK's worst cars for reliability in the Honest John Satisfaction Index 2020.

Insurance Groups are between 10–16
On average it achieves 82% of the official MPG figure

It might be tall and upright, but the C3 Picasso is far from drab. Compared to something like a Berlingo Multispace or a Peugeot Bipper Tepee it’s positively handsome, but it’s also very family friendly, with plenty of space on offer. The cabin is just as interesting as the exterior, with an attractive dashboard design and a comfortable, upright driving position offering a good view out.

Passengers will find the back row spacious even if they’re tall and the load area is generous too. There’s a double boot floor, with a minimum load space of 385 litres, expandable to 500 litres if you drop the floor down. Exclusive models are even more capable thanks to a flip forward front passenger seat – so you can carry long items like skis.

The C3 Picasso has been set up for comfort rather than handling prowess, with light controls and soft suspension. Potholes and speed bumps are well dealt with while town driving and parking are easy thanks to light steering and surprisingly compact dimensions. But the C3 Picasso isn't perfect. Out on a twisting country road the comfortable suspension means noticeable of body roll and the light steering stops being such a blessing.

The engine range consists of two petrol and two diesel choices. The petrol engines produce either 95PS or 120PS, but neither is particularly good on the emissions front, with CO2 outputs of 145g/km or 149g/km respectively. A better bet is one of the 1.6-litre HDi diesels – 90PS or 115PS options are available, with the former a perfectly decent choice thanks to a good torque output, low emissions of 107g/km and official economy of 68.9mpg.

With its interesting looks and a good level of gear on all but the entry level VT model, the Citroen C3 Picasso holds a lot of appeal. It might not be the most exciting car on sale, but as practical family transport with a touch of pizzazz it’s pretty hard to fault. The Ford B-MAX is better to drive and the van-based Peugeot Bipper Tepee is more practical, but as an all rounder the C3 Picasso has all the right ingredients. 

Citroen C3 Picasso 2009 Road Test

Real MPG average for a Citroen C3 Picasso (2009 – 2017)


Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance


Real MPG

27–67 mpg

MPGs submitted


Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

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Ask Honest John

Why does my Citroen C3 Picasso go into limp mode?
"I have a 2015 Citroen C3 Picasso 1.6-litre diesel that keeps going into limp mode and service light comes on. If I start and stop the engine five or six times it clears the problem for a few days but then the same thing happens again. What could be the problem? "
Limp mode is a system that's activated to prevent engine damage when a component is faulty (and sends a signal to the engine computer to inform it of this fact). The cause could be a wide range of things, from a faulty sensor to gearbox issues. I would suggest taking it to a local garage for a diagnostics check. This should provide a fault code that will identify the exact nature of the problem.
Answered by Dan Powell
How can I fix the DPF fault on my Citroen C3 Picasso?
"My Citroen C3 Picasso has completed 47,000 miles without anything major going wrong. But now I have a dashboard warning light saying "SERVICE" and a message which says "Engine Fault, Repair Needed". Just prior to this warning there was another saying "Particulate Filter Clogged". This has now disappeared just leaving the first message plus an engine management warning light. Should I try to clear the particulate filter by driving at 2000 revs for 50 miles?"
It reads like a problem with the DPF, caused by the car being used for lots of short journeys. A modern diesel car, such as this, needs at least 15-miles per journey to reach optimum operating temperature and cycle the DPF. A long drive may allow the DPF to perform a full cycle and burn off the particulates that are trapped within it. But this will not be a permanent fix if the car is used for lots of short trips. If the long drive doesn't resolve the problem you may need to have the DPF cleaned or replaced.
Answered by Dan Powell
I'm replacing my Renault Grand Modus soon - is it smart to stick with a diesel or swap to an electric car?
"I've owned a Renault Grand Modus for the last 7years. I Iike the car very much, but it's showing it's age. I have £7000 - £10,000 to spend on a used car and I have been offered £1000 for my Modus against a 2016 diesel Renault Scenic, £700 for a 2016 diesel Citroen C3 Picasso and £500-£700 against a 2013 Renault Zoe. I cannot decide which car to buy. My heart says go for the Renault Zoe for the environment, but with the Zoe, it would be the early models with a range of only 100 miles. On the other hand, I could stick to a diesel - which I'm used to. I would appreciate your advice in helping two old codgers (late 70's) who enjoy driving."
It depends on the mileage you do, really. If you mainly do short journeys around town and can charge at home, a Zoe would work a lot better than a diesel. It won't be as practical as the other cars you're looking at, though. I'd avoid a diesel unless you cover high motorway miles. As an alternative, I'd suggest a petrol Honda Jazz. It's very versatile, reliable and cheap to run.
Answered by Andrew Brady
Clutch broke on our new car after 1400 miles - would skipping gears fix this issue?
"Four months ago we bought a Citroen C3 Picasso 1.2 PureTech. At 1400 miles, it had a burnt out clutch on a very busy road. The dealer blames our driving style as there's no manufacturing defect detected. The engine does get very hot, but that's normal according to their manual. Are there new gear changing techniques to learn with the latest car models? First and Reverse are quite fierce on engaging the clutch and I don’t consider second gear a smooth transition. I was taught to put the handbrake on but you could bring the clutch up to the ‘point of pull’ when at traffic lights or about to move out of a junction. I believe younger drivers skip gears – is this what they are now taught?"
First report of any drivetrain problems with the 1.2 Puretech in anything. I ran one for a year in a 308 and it was brilliant. Yes, I learned 'block changing' from a police instructor. Works best when the engine has plenty of torque, which the 1.2 Puretech does.
Answered by Honest John
More Questions

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