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