The Picasso approaching half a million miles


Want cheap, spacious, reliable transport? Say no more.

All bow down to the 500,000-mile #PassThePicasso…

Reliability – it’s not what the Citroen Picasso will be famous for. Typically, a fairly cheap car from France in the early naughties conjures up images of cars ‘shakin that ass’ all the way to the dealership for the latest recall or blown headlight bulb. Or worse.

This was not a shining era for any French car, so when Palmdale Motors took in a Picasso which had unusually high mileage it seemed like an opportunity to prove a point. Look after your car, and it’ll just keep going. A car is simply a collection of parts, so as long as those parts are kept in good nick, the car will keep going – and the inch-thick wad of paperwork detailing the work that has been done to this 30k mile per annum MPV shows it’s been cared for.

When I first told a former Picasso owner that I was going to have one for a while, his reaction was far from reassuring. If I may quote Mr Nicholas Widdows:

“I called mine the grey whale as that’s how it cornered… and obviously it was grey. Turn-in is awful, really vague. Sh*t brakes. Sh*t acceleration. Exhaust note is agricultural. You can get three child seats in the back which is impressive but also acknowledges you briefly had a great time but now have no life. Stuff will fail repeatedly on a 50k example, so on a 500k one expect all the doors to fall off and a troupe of clowns to tumble out.

“It was practical and I hated it.”

Oh dear.

I was convincing myself that the high mileage of Palmdale’s example was actually reassuring – if it has travelled 480k so far, another grand won’t kill it, right? And with lots of work done it’s probably just like new.  As long as the electronics all seem to work, then the diesel motor will probably just be happy clattering away forever. And a couple of other people had already enjoyed using the Picasso in place of their usual car, and they seemed to have fun.

So it was a bit unnerving when I first approached the car alongside Ash Winston and was advised the remote locking doesn’t work. And the key only works in one door…

This is far from Ash’s usual fare – in fact when I collected it, there was a splendid little Lotus right beside it (although a few days later, that Lotus did have a rather bad day – best ask Ash if you’d like more info about that…) but he was excited about the project.

At this point I’ll clear one thing up – we’re not just racking miles up on this thing indiscriminately and for no reason – these are journeys that we’d have been making anyway, but using a car which might otherwise have been dumped means we’re actually keeping the thing fresh and ultimately that’s much better than tossing a car away and building a new one when the mileage gets a bit galactic, isn’t it?

As I signed my life away and headed northwards from Middlesex to add plenty of miles to the car the heavens opened and I’d never felt less charismatic on a car test… but what an adventure we’d go on to have. It certainly drew eyes, and the mileage display on the side seemed to draw a lot of glances from baffled onlookers.

Keep an eye out for more about my time with the ‘#PassthePicasso’, including a trip to a BTCC team and the reason why the car is now covered in orange paint and has ‘SP AS’ written on the dash, as I enjoy my brief period with this noble warrior before it goes on to be driven by another fortunate guardian.