Citroen Xsara Picasso October 2008
Buying a Citroen was something I’d never seriously considered. Sure, I ‘d always looked upon them as quirky and adventurous but i’d never had the urge to embark on a Gallic adventure emblazoned with the deux chevaux. The closest I’d ever got was scanning over adverts for the odd DS in classic car magazines but a DS is not a car to be taken lightly, they cost a lot to start with and after the umpteenth nightmare story about their hydrogas suspension systems, I was always dissuaded back into more sensible options.
Over the last year however, I’ve found myself weighing up my options regarding another type of car I’d never considered before-; the family car. That’s right, two were about to become three and this meant changing the whole family fleet to accomodate. My wife’s nippy three door hatchback had to go and through sodden eyes, so did my beloved Corrado VR6. It didn’t take long for me to come up with my ‘sensible’ four door car, an Impreza turbo was the obvious choice but deciding on one for Mrs H wasn’t quite so easy.
After initial discussion and consultation, we settled upon the old favourite, the five door Focus but these cars hold their value well and we struggled to find one we wanted within our budget. That was when it happened. I couldn’t believe it myself at first but after the denial phase had faded I had to admit that I was loitering around adverts for Citroens with serious intent. Adverts for the ultra-quirky Xsara Picasso to be precise, a car which, only a couple of years earlier would have brought about uncontrollable fits of laughter if you’d even suggested it to me. Situations change though and opinions must follow suit. Within a very short space of time we were the proud owners of a very well looked after Picasso, just needed baby to put in it then.
Citroen obviously had one thing on their minds when they designed this car ‘le famille’. I’m still finding new features which make the family road trip that little bit easier, almost as if the Picasso is saying ‘you don’t need anything else to worry about Ben, let me handle that for you’. For example, if you have your windscreen wipers on and put the car in reverse, it performs a quick sweep of the rear window for you without even expecting a please or thankyou. If you have young passengers in the back, or old for that matter, you needn’t worry about their personal dvd player running out of battery life on a long journey as Citroen have provided a second cigar lighter power outlet at the rear of the car, leaving your sat nav free to run from the driver’s cigar lighter. They’ve even fitted aircraft style trays for the rear passengers! Obviously all of these nice little touches would be expected in a large executive saloon, but they always come attached to a large executive price tag. This is where the Picasso plays its trump card, it’s so cheap. Bought new, they are usually offered with money off or excellent finance deals. In turn, there are so many Picassos on the road that the prices of second hand models make them a very attractive proposition.
In conclusion, I’m not expecting the Xsara Picasso to replace the Zonda as the car of choice for teenage boys walls. But when those teenage boys grow up, as most do, they will probably find themselves in a similar situation to mine. I just hope someone is still making a car that ticks as many boxes as the Picasso does.