April 24, 2014

C3 Picasso

Monday, December 9, 2013

Citroën leads minivan segment

By Carlos A. Pefaur
Herald Staff
The people at Citroën Argentina now have a range of family vehicles in the large minivan segment, which they have kept expanding and renewing.

The C3 Picasso is the latest incorporation, the smallest minivan in the French automaker’s family.

I drove the C3 Picasso, with its modern 1.6 Vti engine — whose initials stand for Variable valve lift and Timing injection, a system that allows for maximum fuel consumption savings — for a week in the city and on the highway.

Let’s start with the great news about this car. The 1.6 litre engine capable of 115 HP (the previous version had 110HP) with 152Nm (against the 143Nm of the last version) of torque at 4,000rpm, aside from reducing emissions, decreases fuel consumption by 10 percent. It’s paired with a five speed manual gearbox, whose gear changes are too short in my opinion. For instance, at 120kmph and 4,300rpm, a sixth gear would have been nice.

With this engine we can reach a top speed of 189kmph, accelerating from 0 to 100kmph in just 12.2 seconds. Fuel consumption on the highway at 100kmph weighs in at 8.5 litres per 100km.

The C3 Picasso is an MPV with striking, original proportions, measuring 4.09 metres in length, 1.72 in width and 1.63 in height.

The main aesthetic differences in comparison with the European C3 Picasso are seen in the front. Compared with the C3 Aircross, the Brazilian C3 Picasso is more discrete and subtle, without the off-road features or the lateral stickers. The chief difference can be seen in the trunk door, which no longer has a spare wheel.

Standard 16-inch aluminium rims encased in 195/55/16 wheels are available across the board, while the spare tyre has a steel rim. When will they include a tyre that matches the ones that come with the car?

The panoramic windshield merits a separate paragraph. It’s so broad and tall that it makes you reflect on the enormous amount of scenery missed when travelling in cars with conventional windshields. There are no blind angles when facing forward, while vision is only slightly limited looking backwards.

The driving position is quite elevated. As in a van, the driver will not have his legs placed ahead of him, but rather in an almost 90-degree angle. Thus, the pedals must literally be stepped on, rather than pushed. This is a very practical position in urban traffic, and also to enter or exit the vehicle. However, it can be tiring in long trips.

The driver’s seat is adjustable in height, while the steering wheel in depth and height. Electrically adjustable side mirrors and windows with a one-touch system and central and remote-control locking are also available.

Loading space is plenty. The trunk’s capacity is of 2,540 litres, but it has lost the double compartment found in the C3 Aircross. The generous interior, the elevated driving position and its great visibility make the C3 Picasso an excellent vehicle for family transport.

Moreover, it’s a very easy to use, unsophisticated car. The ride is somewhat noisy, but the suspension is designed to absorb bumps and overcome uneven surfaces without touching bottom.

Another important advantage is the ease with which the trunk is opened, without wheels or movements that bother in everyday use, such as grocery shopping or school backpacks.

Despite its cubic design with rounded edges, in practice, aerodynamics is not its forte. The noise of the air on the body is intense as of 120 kmph, and it is quite sensitive to crosswinds.

With the C3 Picasso, Citroën demonstrates once again that the minivans do not have to have a boring look and are definitely far from an endangered species.

With such a large minivan range, the people at Citroën have been forced to offer a distinguishing feature on each of their models. In the case of the C3 Picasso, there is no doubt that this feature is the exterior design which is striking, original and different.

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