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