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Citroen C3 Picasso 90 VTR+ 2012 review

Overall towcar rating


Key information

  • Transmission: Manual
  • Year of manufacture: 2012
  • Fuel type: Diesel
  • Engine size: 1.6litres
  • Solo fuel economy: 55 miles per gallon
  • Towing fuel economy: 27 miles per gallon
  • Kerb weight: 1329 kg
  • Body type: MPV

Towcar summary

What's good?

Unique styling - I think it looks great. Looks bigger than it is (it's basically a C3/Peugeot 207 with an MPV styled body.)
Relatively high driving position. Very practical for passengers or goods.

What's bad?

Unique styling - I sometimes feel a bit self conscious driving it.
No spare wheel or jack supplied - I bought a full sized alloy and tyre on ebay - wheel does fit in spare wheel well.

Would you recommend it?


Towing performance ***

How well does it tow?

Can tow 1250kg, but feels weedy pulling our less than 1100kg Swift Duette. Can only use 5th (top) on the flat or downhill. Struggles to hold 60mph on motorway gradients, even in 4th.
However, it is comfortable and spacious with good visibility for towing.

Solo performance ****

What's it like without the caravan?

No problems, reliable, powerful enough and economical. I do 44 miles to work and back each day, so daily economy has to be set against the few times a year when I tow the caravan.
Beware wind noise though, with the windows open.

Reliability *****

Anything to look out for?

For towing, I'd go for the 110 bhp engine, rather than the 90 bhp. Look out for periodic offers at Citroen dealers, can be fantastic value for money.
The radio and interior lights cut out after 20 minutes without the engine running (economy mode it's called). To get them back on, you have to start the engine - I kid you not!

Practicality ****

Is it easy to live with?

Apart from 'economy mode' and lack of interior storage.
Room for occupants is great for a small car, probably why the cubbies are so small. Back seats easiest to fold that I've ever had. Boot floor is level with bumper so easy to load heavy or large items.

Buying experience *****

Did you buy it new or used?


Where did you buy it?

Franchised dealer

What was the seller like?

Citroen South Manchester in Sale. Very efficient. Bought pre-registered in November 2012 with 1 mile on the clock for 10,400, list price was 16,000. This was available nationwide due to upcoming mild facelift.
Never dreamed I could get a medium sized, current production diesel for 10k!


All opinions, facts and figures are those of the reviewer. Caravan Talk accepts no responsibility for accuracy of the content.


Jun 29 2013 09:19 pm

Reading the towing performance section of the test it seems incredible that it has merited so many stars. Struggling to tow 1100kg van and do 60 mph other than downhill is not best.


Having done a fair bit of towing in North Wales I cannot imagine other road users being impressed following this car and any van near the supposed 1250kg tow limit.

Jul 01 2013 06:32 am

According to the Autotrader database the C3 Picasso 1.6 8v has a max. towing weight of 1200kg, not 1250kg as quoted in the review. 

    • rockpile likes this
I also have a C3 Picasso 1.6HDI and tow our van very adequately. My Bailey Pageant has a MIRO of 995kg and a max. load of 1160kg. With the kerb weight of my C3 being 1364kg, the max. load is smack on 85% of the car.
Having said this, I would not like to tow a heavier/longer van than what I have. I dread the "tail wagging the dog" syndrome, even with an Alko stabiliser.
    • rockpile likes this

Just an update to my review of a year ago. The car now has 24,000 miles on the clock. It has been fault free, comfortable and reliable.


The average mpg is now 58, and for towing (exact same journey, 80 miles to Hafan y Mor) now gives 30 mpg.


This C3 Picasso is now less weedy, with the extra mileage on the clock, but will still struggle to maintain 60 on steep inclines, such as Rhuallt Hill on the A55.


I gave the car 3 stars for towing, because it was stable and reliable, and to be honest, there are few places in the UK where it wouldn't cope towing a lightish van.


I would be interested to know which of the 1.6HDi engines Hopscot has got. I should think the 110 bhp version would have no problems at all.


Of my 15,000 annual mileage, less than 500 is typically towing, so unladen mpg and comfort are far the most important factors to me. The fact that a £10k car can tow a caravan is a real bonus.

    • vulcan7 likes this

Hi rockpile - just noticed your update. My Picasso is the 90bhp version, but will be changing it soon. Going for a Nissan Qashqai this time - 109bhp.

    • rockpile likes this

Further update to the review. The car has covered 38000 miles now, and the fuel consumption has improved further, so I often achieve 60mpg from tankful to tankful. I checked this arithmetically, and it agreed with the onboard display.


The car has never missed a beat, and been 100% reliable.


The 'economy mode', which switches off the radio after 20 minutes without the engine running, is a daily irritant for me, as I tend to spend my 30 minute lunch break sitting in the car. I would love to meet the person who decided this was a good idea, and give him a piece of my mind!


Another weakness which appeared during last autumn's windy weather, is the inside door handle. It is just too small. Instead of the old 'through style' handle, where you would hold the handle in your fist, these cars have a small recess in the door card, into which you can insert your fingertips.


Normally no problem, but one day I opened my door and the wind instantly whipped it away. I couldn't hold it in time, whereas with the through style handle, it would have had to pull me out of the car to have gotten away from my grip.


The upshot was, the door flew too far forward. Now, when I open the door, it often catches the trailing edge of the front wing, and releases with a loudish bang as the plastic wing gives way. Oddly, if I run my finger down the front edge of the door before I open it, this does not happen, so the overlap must be a millimeter or less, the thickness of any road film build up. I shall have a fiddle with the door hinges, to see whether I can adjust this out.


I have not yet towed this year, but judging by the improvement in fuel consumption, I would expect the car to be a bit better again this year, as the engine appears to have continued freeing up.


Hi Hopscot, I hope you are enjoying your Qashquai, my dad swears by his!

It is likely the front wing has bent in slightly, rather than the door moving on the hinges. Open door wide, place a piece of thick cardboard between door and wing and gently close the door a bit until the wings starts to move out, remove card and check gap, do again with a little more pressure on the door until fixed.

I do a few of these most weeks on different makes.
    • Bobby Barnes likes this