CITROEN is gearing up for a radical overhaul of its Picasso sub-brand – and the transformation is likely to start when a more SUV-like successor to the current C3 Picasso arrives next year. The existing model is one of the dwindling number of small MPVs on the market – but recent spy shots (right) show that Citroen is working on a new car that will look more like a baby SUV based on the recently launched C3. Our exclusive images peel away the prototype’s disguise to s how that key C3 styling elements -such as the split daytime running lights an d headlamps, and Airbump protection strips – are likely to be retained.
However, the test car also shows that passengers in the new model will be sitting higher than in the C3, which means Citroen will have a rival for everything from the Nissan Juke to the Renault Captur. The Picasso successor will share underpinnings with the C3, which itself uses a modified version of the last C3’s platform. We can expect the engine lineup of the new variant to stick closely to the C3’s, although the taller vehicle could well drop the supermini’s smaller entry- level units.
That means it would use 1.2-litre PureTech three-cylinder petrols producing 81bhp or 109bhp, and 1.6-litre BlueHDi diesels with either 74bhp or 99bhp. Citroen may choose the launch of the new model to remove the Picasso badge from the C3 altogether, reflecting the car’s move away from pure MPV to a crossover. The firm already sells the off-road-influenced C3 Aircross in selected markets across the globe, and since that suffix has been used on a variety of SUV concepts in the past, it’s conceivable that it could end up on the new model, which is likely to be sold globally.
The C3 crossover will be part of a more SUV-focused line-up from Citroen, which is launching 12 new vehicles over the next five years. In addition, there will be a Nissan Qashqai rival that’s likely to either replace the C4 hatch back or carry C4 Aircross badging to be a bigger brother to the C3.
That would then leave scope for new generations of the C4 and Grand C4 Picasso MPVs; Citroen boss Linda Jackson suggested to Auto Express recently that there could be merit in continuing with certain MPVs-particularly larger models that have a specific customer base and larger profit margins.
“The MPV segment has been so successful for us and we have an enormous customer base there,” she said. “Now, I’m not saying the market doesn’t evolve and change slightly, but right now I have an awful lot of happy customers in our MPVs. I have to keep hold of them. She added; “Citroen has such a history of M PVs – the functionality and modularity of them – that we will continue with that.”