Rare Rides: The 2003 Citron Xsara Picasso, Too Hot to Title

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis

Today’s Rare Ride follows a trio of recent Citroën entries in this series. But unlike the other chevaux in the stable, this one’s an illegal alien.

It’s the Xsara Picasso from 2003.

That’s right, only in the progressive and more import-friendly United States of Canada would this Citroën be legal. It needs another nine years of aging to qualify under the U.S. 25-year import rule. So what’s a Xsara Picasso, and is it worth the crime?

The Picasso fit into the compact MPV segment that’s popular in Europe, but mostly a non-entity in the North American market. The Kia Rondo comes to mind as one local qualifier, and maybe the Ford C-Max. MPVs combine a high roof and flexible seating arrangements with improved cargo capacity. The MPV usually has more space and a more dorky appearance than a standard hatchback like a Fiesta or Golf.

Citroën based the new Picasso on the compact Xsara platform shared with the Peugeot 306. The Xsara went into production in 1997, and the Picasso followed up in 1999. On offer initially were a trio of four cylinder engines in 1.6- and 1.8-liter displacements, along with a larger 2.0-liter diesel. Introductory trims LX and SX were reorganized for 2000 into Desire, VTR, and Exclusive. Inside, flexible seating flipped, folded, or could be removed to turn Picasso into a cargo hauler. All models had tray tables just like a Jaguar Vanden Plas. Exclusive trims offered an optional glass roof with retractable sun shade.

A facelift arrived in 2004, along with a new 1.6 diesel offering. Particularly popular in the United Kingdom because of its versatility and low price, demand was considerable enough globally to produce the Picasso in six different countries. Original European production ended for Picasso in 2010, as the Xsara line made way for the new C3 and C4 models. Citroën kept the Picasso name across its lineup, and still uses it to denote an MPV.

Today’s Rare Ride has a “clean title” in Arizona (Florida of the Southwest), and is a manual, diesel hatchback in luxurious Exclusive trim. Who knows what it’s insured as (if at all), but don’t let the small details deter a purchase. It’s offered for $6,500.

[Images: seller]

Corey Lewis
Corey Lewis

Interested in lots of cars and their various historical contexts. Started writing articles for TTAC in late 2016, when my first posts were QOTDs. From there I started a few new series like Rare Rides, Buy/Drive/Burn, Abandoned History, and most recently Rare Rides Icons. Operating from a home base in Cincinnati, Ohio, a relative auto journalist dead zone. Many of my articles are prompted by something I'll see on social media that sparks my interest and causes me to research. Finding articles and information from the early days of the internet and beyond that covers the little details lost to time: trim packages, color and wheel choices, interior fabrics. Beyond those, I'm fascinated by automotive industry experiments, both failures and successes. Lately I've taken an interest in AI, and generating "what if" type images for car models long dead. Reincarnating a modern Toyota Paseo, Lincoln Mark IX, or Isuzu Trooper through a text prompt is fun. Fun to post them on Twitter too, and watch people overreact. To that end, the social media I use most is Twitter, @CoreyLewis86. I also contribute pieces for Forbes Wheels and Forbes Home.

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2 of 24 comments
  • WallMeerkat WallMeerkat on Aug 16, 2019

    If it was one of Citroen's more interesting offerings, like the C5 or C6, it would be worth jumping the hoops to import. But these, even this side of the Atlantic, are ten a penny beaters. https://www.usedcarsni.com/search_results.php?keywords=&make=4&model=140157 Couple of examples locally going for around £1000 MPVs here can be anything from a small passenger van (eg. Transit Connect with seats) up to when they used to sell the Chrysler Voyager. The Renault Espace popularised the segment, then the likes of the Scenic and the Picasso brought them down in size.

  • ThomasSchiffer ThomasSchiffer on Aug 16, 2019

    These are nothing remarkable in Europe. In fact they are still a common sight. They are dirt cheap forms of transportation that are primarily cheap to maintain and not enthralling to drive in any way, shape or form.

  • Wjtinfwb Funny. When EV's were bursting onto the scene; Tesla's, Volt's, Leaf's pure EV was all the rage and Hybrids were derided because they still used a gas engine to make them, ahem; usable. Even Volt's were later derided when it was revealed that the Volt's gas engine was actually connected to the wheels, not just a generator. Now, Hybrids are warmly welcomed into the Electric fraternity by virtue of being "electrified". If a change in definition is what it takes, I'm all for it. Hybrid's make so much sense in most American's usage patterns and if needed you can drive one cross-country essentially non-stop. Glad to see Hybrid's getting the love.
  • 3-On-The-Tree We also had a 1973 IH Scout that we rebuilt the engine in and it had dual glass packs, real loud. I miss those days.
  • 3-On-The-Tree Jeff thanks. Back in 1990 we had a 1964 Dodge D100 with a slant six with a 3 on the tree. I taught myself how to drive a standard in that truck. It was my one of many journeys into Mopar land. Had a 1973 Plymouth duster with a slant six and a 1974 Dodge Dart Custom with 318 V8. Great cars and easy to work on.
  • Akear What is GM good at?You led Mary............................................What a disgrace!
  • Randy in rocklin I have a 87 bot new with 200k miles and 3 head gasket jobs and bot another 87 turbo 5 speed with 70k miles and new head gaskets. They cost around 4k to do these days.