There's a choice of four engines available in the C3 Picasso, two petrol and two diesels. The petrols are more popular and the entry level model is the 1.4-litre with 95bhp and a respectable 0-62mph time of 12.2 seconds. While this is good for driving around city streets it feels underpowered when it gets to the motorway. The other petrol is the slightly more powerful 1.6-litre with 120bhp. This shaves two seconds off the 0-62mph time but again feels quite sluggish. The two diesel engines are both 1.6-litre units with a choice of 90bhp or 110bhp. Although both are slower from 0-62mph on paper, they have more pulling power and offer a better drive on the motorway. They're also more frugal with an average fuel economy of around 60mpg. In late 2009 improvements to the 90bhp HDi engine in the VTR+ and Exclusive models saw emissions drop to 119g/km of CO2 (down from 125g/km), lowering road tax rates, while economy increased slightly to 63mpg.
In 2013 the HDi 110 diesel engine got a hike in power, becoming the HDi 115.
The light power steering, along with excellent all round visibility means the C3 Picasso is well suited to town driving, while the short bonnet and vertical rear end make it easy to park. Unfortunately it isn’t as comfortable and composed when it comes to cornering or driving on bumpy roads and the soft suspension means there’s plenty of body roll and a bouncy ride.
The visibility in the C3 Picasso is excellent thanks to a high seating position. It's helped further by the large rear windscreen while the wraparound windscreen means that the view of the road is very good. This also makes the interior feel light. The only real problem comes from the interior plastics. The VT and VTR+ models feel cheap with their scratchy plastics, but surprisingly it is the top of the range Exclusive model interiors that let the C3 Picasso down most.
With a random mixture of materials from shiny black for the air conditioning panel to the cheap-looking plastic stereo panel mixed with leather, chrome and silver non-slip trim, it's a confused look.
There is plenty of room for the driver and front passenger with good legroom and a tall cabin that offers plenty of headroom - the front seats are also supportive and offer good comfort for longer journeys. The rear offers plenty of room for small children but things get a little tighter for taller adults if the front seats are fully back. On the plus side, Citroen has put extra effort in to reducing engine noise and it has paid off with the C3 Picasso being quiet even at high speeds.