One of citroen’s most successful minivansThursday, February 23, 2012
The Xsara Picasso
Citroën is definitely one of the brands that offer the most number of minivan options in order to satisfy all customers’ tastes. Among them and despite the passing of the years, the Xsara Picasso is still one of the best options for those seeking space, comfort, an attractive price and the latest technological equipment. The sales of the French powerhouse show that the Xsara Picasso is still in the conversation with 335 units sold in January.
This time we had the chance to test this classic by Citroën, which has seduced Argentine families for the past decade.
With its peculiar football format, this Citroën minivan broke all the rules when it first appeared back in 1999. It was the first model to which the company gave the name of the immortal painter of Málaga. Ever since its presentation, it set itself as a great alternative to models born to satisfy the needs of large families and to compete against the Renault Scènic, the absolute pioneer in its segment.
In 2001 the French automaker started to manufacture the Xsara in Porto Real, Brazil, and it still does. It has received very few restyling works throughout its career. In 2007 it had its last major update and in 2009 some minor details were restyled and it adopted its current 1.6-litre petrol engine.
Despite its lack of renovation, the Xsara has never been subject to scorn from the public. It may be because even if its design was developed many years ago, it still looks fresh and modern, offering great comfort and interior space. These characteristics are essential for those families looking for a comfortable car in which to fit plenty of baggage.
The numbers speak for the Xsara’s business success. In ten years the French brand has sold almost 23,000 units in Argentina.
Today, the Xsara Picasso is within Citroën’s medium-large minivan segment, which also includes the modern C4 Picasso, and the 7-seat Grand C4 Picasso, while the C3 Picasso is a notch below.
The Xsara Picasso was created as a family vehicle and as such it remained true to its essence: spacious, comfortable, a smooth ride and very versatile.
Up to five passengers can travel in absolute comfort. Seats are sufficiently large and fluffy, while the front seats include centre armrests and folding tables in their backs which are always practical when travelling with little kids. In addition, the second-row seats can be drawn individually in order to expand the loading capacity which ranges from 550 to 2,130 litres. Likewise, drawers have been placed below the rear seats to store items.
As with any multi-purpose vehicle, the driving position is high, thus providing a wide field of view, while both seat and steering-wheel are height-adjustable. Another plus is the shifter’s location, integrated to the dash-board which leaves more space in the front.
The equipment includes automatic climate control, electric windows and mirrors, onboard computer, automatic doors and trunk lock, lamps internal regulation and an audio system with AM/FM radio and CD player with steering-wheel commands.
In terms of security, it includes ABS, front airbags, and front and rear fog-lamps.
The Xsara Picasso is only powered with the 1,587 cc inline four-cylinder 16-valve petrol engine, which delivers 106 HP with a torque of 13.5 kgm at 4,000 rpm. It’s mated to a five-speed manual gearbox.
The performance is not bad for a family car: max speed of 172 kph (goes from full-stop to 100kph in 13.4 seconds).
The riding comfort is undoubtedly its main feature. Its soft suspension system turns city rides into a very smooth and gentle experience, while en route it responds more than well. Likewise, it showed very good sound-proofing.
The Xsara Picasso is offered in two versions: the entry level and the Exclusive, the one we tested. The Exclusive has a retail price of 112,500 pesos. The difference is that the former brings regular air-conditioning instead of the climate system. Plus, the entry-level version does not include the mirror for monitoring rear seats. The Exclusive version includes 15-inch alloy wheels, chrome details in both bumper and trunk lid, front and rear fog lights and a third stop-light.
Effective, conservative and transgressor at the same time, the Xsara Picasso has matured without losing the appeal that has made it one of the most successful Citroën models.