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Living with FB's 1.6HDi VTR+ Manual

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Author Post
Fri Sep 28 2012, 01:53am
Member No: #9705
Joined: May 31 2009
Location: Runcorn (Unfortunately not in the blummin' rich area) of Cheshire!
Glad you managed to get a brilliant result......Well done.

There's hope for everybody(well some then!)
Fri May 10 2013, 08:12am

Member No: #19238
Joined: Apr 12 2011
Location: Cambridgeshire
Time for another update on life with the C4 Picasso.

We are now on 56K and since the clutch was changed we have had no issues at all (touch wood!), the car also always selects reverse gear on first attempt which it didn't do before.

At the end of last year I noticed the rear offside tyre was getting close to the legal limit and at the same time both of the nearside tyres had developed a slow puncture so I ordered a pair of Michelin Premacy 3's from blackcircles for about £250 to be fitted in the hope that one of the other two tyres (each with about 3.5mm on them) would be repairable - sure enough, the both tyres had a nail in and the front one was repairable so the two new tyres were put on the back which is what I do as a matter of course. The new tyres made little difference to the drive but I always find that to be the case as they were on the back, overall I was pleased with the tyres lasting so long (the one with 3.5mm on it had been put on at 29K when we bought the car) which was one factor in replacing with more Michelin's, despite the cost.

In March one of the front tyres developed a puncture to the point where a friend had to help Mrs FB change the wheel as it was undriveable (I was at work), this time she drove it to a local tyre place who had one Premacy 3 in stock and had one delivered overnight at a total cost of £270 - the tyre fitter noted a couple of the chrome lugs that go over the bolts were missing so I will get some next time we are at Duxford Citroen. Now on new rubber all around, I am happy to see that they feel little different which shows how well the tyres perform as they wear.

To keep the history up to date, at MOT time we had the 4-year inspection for corrosion done which identified no issues, likewise the car sailed through its MOT. As others have noticed, this car lunches its way through bulbs like no other before, I am on my 3rd set of dipped bulbs which I now find a cinch to replace without the help of a mirror or swearing, they are Philips 'super vision' type ones, the Osram Nightbreakers blowing within 3 months of being fitted and they seem to be lasting well and performance is fantastic - side light bulbs also blow regularly but I have a pair of Bosch ones in there now which seem to be lasting.

I noticed after the clutch was replaced there is a tiny oil leak from the Air Dosseur which had to be removed, it is a small amount but I will keep an eye on it and go for a replacement if it looks sufficient to hit the alternator - I topped the oil level up at 8K from the last service with it having used about half a litre, which seems fine to me.

Other costs? Tax is due shortly (£155 I think) and we are getting it serviced before going on holiday as I suspect it will hit 12,500 miles from the last one on our way home through France and for the cost of it on the 4+ scheme it is not worth pushing; it won't need a brake fluid or A/C service until the next one, probably due in early spring 2014, which is the biggie (75K) but still affordable.

Complaints? I have tried my hardest with the paint but I don't know if it is Citroen per-se or the specific colour but it needs polishing every other wash in order to keep shiny, otherwise all the little marks and fine scratches come through which gets on my wick; I've decided whatever car we have next will be a light colour and perhaps I have been spoilt with my Audi A2 which has fantastic paint that after 8 years still looks pristine - my old Punto JTD was dark metallic blue and not a problem either; Arctic Steel or Tivoli Blue would have been perfect.

Still enjoying the car, it's completely unecessary to have that much space for a family of three but do you know what, I don't really care as it comes into its own on more occassions than I thought it would (holidays, trips with friends, trips to the tip etc.) and I like the relaxed primary ride comfort (ability to smooth out surfaces over long undulations) although the secondary ride (sharp impact) isn't brilliant but I can live with that.

Keep thinking about the replacement, which is always dangerous, and as much as a 'car' suits a lot of what we do, I can't help thinking the Picasso works for us on many levels...in which case why get another one when ours is fine (touch wood). I guess the decision time is when it hits about 75-80K and we are looking at pads and discs all around, EOLYS replacement and a few other bits - spend the money and keep it a few more years or time to replace, not sure which and it might depend upon what cost to change there is on an early C4 Picasso 1.6HDI manual Platinum which has taken my fancy. Mrs FB was told her temporary job was ending but there is light at the end of that tunnel, the only downside is she drives into Cambridge every day and we are doing more miles than we thought we would be (14-16kpa rather than 11-12kpa) so replacement seems to be a year sooner than we had liked.

Anyway, carry on enjoying what we have for the time being.


Forgot to add the all-important economy in. We started with 43mpg, which I found a shade disappointing, but by having the second trip set across all the driving we do for 6,000 miles this has now creeped up to 46.2mpg; I think it is broadly accurate from my own calculations - if we don't do any decent runs most of a tank is made up from commutting into Cambridge so gets 44mpg, but having at least one decent run for each tank will get the overall to 47+mpg. I did find in France that once you go much above 70mph the economy takes a hammering so we will probably balance it at an indicated 123km/h (sad, I know) for the trip which is a genuine 75mph.
2 User said Thank You to FrankBullitt for this Post :
 BigJohnD (10 May 2013 : 09:31) , Dave_Retired. (10 May 2013 : 10:48)
Fri May 10 2013, 08:54am
Member No: #18905
Joined: Mar 23 2011
Location: Widnes, Cheshire
Nice report.
Thu Aug 01 2013, 03:24am

Member No: #19238
Joined: Apr 12 2011
Location: Cambridgeshire
Time for an update, it’s been a while.

Since being made redundant, Mrs FB has been on an agency assignment working in Cambridge three days a week (50 mile round trip) plus Pablo is used as our main family bus so the miles have been going on as we’ve had some family issues to deal with in Birmingham and the North East – a trip to France for the last two weeks in June meant we had the next minor service carried out a few days before going, at 11,000 miles from the previous one. As always, the service was carried out by Duxford Citroen who accommodated me needing to take the car in the day before during lunch time (I had a meeting in Cambridge that day) and I also asked them to look at the slight soot build up on the exhaust side of the turbo which research on here suggests is as a result of the clutch replacement they did last September.

The car was duly finished on-time and to the agreed price – I went for the value minor service and added a pollen filter change so the total bill was £164, you can’t really argue with that from a main dealer – they re-fitted the exhaust bracket and asked me to keep an eye on it. I find their approach completely professional and friendly, a real credit to Citroen.

Economy-wise, the car has been hovering around the 46mpg figure on the trip computer which feels about right based upon our refills – tromping down the A14 or A428 the economy is great but a 2 mile journey snaking through car-hating Cambridge has done for the economy a little. Mrs FB still enjoys driving Pablo and, to be honest, I rarely get the chance. In spring I needed to top the oil up which seemed to have used 0.5L in about 8K of miles which seems fine to me, the filler is a pain to get to so I ended up cleaning off some overspill; should have used a funnel. The trip to France was my first chance to drive Pablo in a while for anything more than 15 miles, Mrs FB doing the stint down to The Chunnel and me driving through France (180 miles at this end, 420 at the other); I noticed the car seems to be hesitant at low-revs, Mrs FB doesn’t notice as she drives it like a petrol (46mpg suddenly looks quite good!); I’m not sure if this is new or something I’ve never noticed before but when coming on and off the throttle when the engine is warm it definitely ‘shunts’ a little, you need to be a bit softer with the throttle which seems to sort it.

Previously I’ve driven through France at 123km/h (sad, but I like looking at that number!) but this time just went straight for 130km/h; amazingly, the engine is quieter and seems to be much happier at this engine speed than a little slower, so we did this for hours on end apart from pee-stops; on the journey out we stopped at Abbeville but on the way back we did it in one – 12 hours start to finish. The car performed very well for the whole trip and was comfortable, only at the end of the journey did I feel the back of my thighs start to get uncomfortable; we would have got home quicker but I missed the re-route through Rouen (great...), got held up at The National Embarrassment (Dartford Crossing) and an accident on the M11 just shy of Cambridge added an hour and a half to the journey.

So now Pablo is on 61,000 miles, having bought it at 29,000 miles 2 years ago – we went for C4 Picasso as we’d not decided whether to have a larger family at the time and we needed diesel due to the mileage (the 1.8 16v engine of the same era seems to be quite juicy); however, fortunately Mrs FB has just got a new role after being made redundant last October and temping since and that position is a mile and a half from home which means we are buying her a bicycle. For the time being I’ll be driving Pablo one day a week to keep the juices flowing and the DPF clear but we are starting to look at the replacement. I’ve really enjoyed Pablo and for family schleps it really is completely fit for purpose but in truth with us only being a single child family it has always been too-big for us; I’m a small-car man at heart despite being 6’4” (at the service we had a DS3 1.6VTi which I absolutely fell for, Mrs FB won’t have 3dr’s and we both dislike the C3) so I think a petrol C4 or DS4 figure very highly on the list of replacements which we will look at with more interest this winter.

One thing is for sure, Duxford Citroen are a factor in us wanting to stay loyal to the brand and only the DS4 1.6VTi being strangely slow on paper and the C4’s rear ¾ view are putting me off at the moment. Given a chance I’d have a Peugeot 208 1.6VTi but Mrs FB thinks it’s too small!
Mon Jan 13 2014, 05:01am

Member No: #19238
Joined: Apr 12 2011
Location: Cambridgeshire
Time for an update methinks.

It’s worth starting off by saying that if you’ve seen some of my other posts on the forum then you’ll know I’ve been looking at replacements. I say ‘I’ as Mrs FB is quite happy with Pablo and I felt some convincing would be required...

So I had a second seat base replacement done on the car – because it was under 5 years old but on 62,500 miles when we put the claim in (early September 2013) Citroen agreed to fund the part if we paid for the installation – originally I had been told there was a ‘fix’ available but in the end it was a simple swap. Incredibly there was less than 2 years between replacements and about 25,000 miles! As the replacement part is exactly the same we can expect this one to collapse too – I think Mrs FB being 5’3” and having the seat up high is the main culprit as she definitely drags her pert bottom over the threshold. As always, the work was undertaken efficiently and effectively by Duxford Motor Group although now they are a Citroen and Mitsubishi franchise I ended up with a Mirage courtesy car – don’t let anyone convince you there’s no such thing as a ‘bad’ car anymore...hateful is the word.

Lots changed for us at the end of the summer – after temping for 9 months post redundancy which was 3-days a week into Cambridge (25 miles each way) Mrs FB was able to secure a permanent full time position in our town – as of September FB Junior is now in school so working 5 days a week is fine, I do the drop-off to kids club as managing my day at the beginning is easier than the end, Mrs FB starts at 07:30 and finishes shortly after 16:00 to collect his nibs from Kids Club; this means Pablo now does 5 days a week 2 miles each way – she could cycle but by the time she’s got herself sorted at the beginning of the day and changed at the end of the day that’s valuable time lost – not very ‘eco’ I know but it works for us...

So Pablo has changed from being strictly long journeys to short trips with weekends out and about – I’d been concerned about the potential DPF issues of blocking and decided that if we didn’t go on a decent trip at least one weekend out of two then I’d use the Picasso for a commute to work (16 miles there and the same back) but we haven’t needed to yet – I’ve always wondered why a weekly commute of 170 miles was leading to an annual mileage of 17K and it’s all the other trips that add up; family in Solihull or local trips to see friends, collect things etc. at the weekends, so despite my fears (touch wood) this doesn’t seem to be an issue at the moment. Economy has dropped and really depends on whether we do a decent longer journey on a tank or not – if we don’t 38mpg is the worst we’ve seen which I still think is pretty good but about 40-42mpg seems to be about the mark for each tank which now only needs filling once a month!

Any general faults? Well, I still think the paint finish is poor, every time I wash it another light scratch seems to have appeared and there is a slight bubbling of the alloy on one of the wheels next to the valve cap – I’m fed-up of replacing side lights even if it is an easy job but none of that is really worth getting worked-up about.

Saturday I booked Pablo in for an MOT (5th birthday at the end of the month) and brake fluid change, and he clicked over 65,000 miles on the way home – I’d got some replacement tyres last week as the backs were getting pretty close to the minimum; a search of Black Circles and some internet searching on performance led me to choose the Goodyear Efficient Grip to replace the Michelin Premacy’s, the main reason being slightly better wet performance and noise along with similar economy and over 20% cheaper and excellent reviews in tests so I’m looking forward to seeing how they perform. I’m pleased that Pablo passed his MOT with no advisories (amusingly so as the last MOT was carried out by the same person who put the stone chip in the windscreen, which had been repaired, down as an advisory last time!) and no other issues identified. The annual service is due in June just after our annual trip to France (the 75K biggie, but as we get them done early it’s actually due at 70K), the front tyres will need replacing at some point this year (they are on 4mm), amazingly the fronts and rears wear at the same speed.

Time for a replacement? Well...I was driving there and back and realising that although not a driver’s car it still fits into family life exceptionally well – we no longer need so much space or a diesel but I rather like the comfort and the fact it will take anything we can throw at it, plus along with the short journeys our other trips are much longer (Solihull – 170 miles round trip, Teesside – 400 mile round trip, France – 1000 mile + round trip) where the diesel makes a difference. We’ve been offered various part-ex prices but they are around £4,000-£4,500 which is not too bad (we bought the cheapest ’58 plate VTR+ in the country at the time) but it is one hell of a jump to spend £12-13K on something which isn’t really floating my boat.

Mulling it over I don’t really want to use savings or get finance on something that doesn’t really offer me a tangible benefit, especially as (touch wood) Pablo doesn’t cost anything to run other than fuels and the things you’d expect. I was hanging around for the work to be done and had a look around the facelifted C4 Picasso (2011MY) and decided it wasn’t worth spending money on one of these – too similar even if it does have more torque and a 6-speed ‘box; however, a closer look and grovel around the new C4 Picasso makes me think we’ll get one of these – the driving position is spot-on now (I find it a little bus-like in Pablo) and I really do like the style of it and interior, even the glovebox!

They are too much money at the moment but perhaps in a year’s time we’ll be able to get something that we can justify, might even go new if Citroen are offering some stellar deals. Importantly, I'm happy we keep Pablo for a while longer.
1 User said Thank You to FrankBullitt for this Post :
 Dave_Retired. (13 Jan 2014 : 06:05)
Mon Jan 13 2014, 06:06am

Member No: #1
Joined: Aug 07 2006
Location: Northumberland
Nice and informative review
1 User said Thank You to Dave_Retired. for this Post :
 FrankBullitt (16 Jan 2014 : 09:43)
Thu Jan 16 2014, 09:48am

Member No: #19238
Joined: Apr 12 2011
Location: Cambridgeshire
Thanks Dave

If somebody could also explain to Mrs FB that Pablo doesn't have rear parking sensors and even if it did then it's good practice to look behind you before slapping it into reverse and getting moving, I'd be grateful...

Twice in 6 weeks - last time she reversed into a colleagues car and cracked the numberplate ("Did you not see the car?"..."Yes, I did"..."So why didn't you stop?"..."I'm not sure...") today she's reversed into a surprisingly invisible Skoda Octavia Taxi (although when I say invisible, what I mean is it is visible with the naked eye...) - luckily no damage to their car although I can see some time will be spent polishing the mark out of the rear bumper.

Give me strength although I've yet to hear today's stellar excuse.
Thu Jan 16 2014, 10:48am
Member No: #29364
Joined: Feb 16 2013
Location: Seaham
Good choice to keep Pablo i think.
don't think there is a better family car out there at all safe reliable able to pass an MOT with no advisories what more could you ask for.

Good luck with Mrs FB my wife doesn't admit to any car damage whatsoever even though i know it was her.....
Sat Jan 18 2014, 04:47am

Member No: #19249
Joined: Apr 13 2011
Location: Sydney
FrankBullitt wrote ...

Give me strength although I've yet to hear today's stellar excuse.

I couldn't help but think of this after reading your post...

Warning: Contains a few expletives
Sun Mar 30 2014, 03:37pm

Member No: #19238
Joined: Apr 12 2011
Location: Cambridgeshire
Well, after nearly 38,000 miles and 33 months we part exchanged Pablo on Friday for our new car; - Click Here -

In many respects, Pablo has been a fantastic car for the family it has served our needs well and coped with everything we have thrown at it with aplomb, the person who designed the C4 Picasso really knows how to make a car 'work' and we've benefited from that over the past three years - schleps to France, camping trips, family duties it's taken them all.

However, it has no 'desire' appeal to it, that sounds harsh perhaps but it made me feel it was an excellent tool but not my faithful hound.

In nearly three years we've averaged about 45mpg, bought six new tyres, pads all around, had three services done and three mots, replaced the air conditioning pressure switch (which failed in a minor heat wave in France...), had a clutch replaced for free due to mechanical failure and two new seat bases. In truth we were thinking of replacing it at the end of the year but a shortly due service, two tyres at the front and a slowly failing battery meant we either put £600 into the car and keep it 12 months or move on. Either way, I hope his new owner gets all the benefit we have over the past three years with minimal cost just so long as they service it every 12,500 miles or 12 months...

No, the Picasso is a great car and to a degree we will be sad to see it go, but the new car gives me goosebumps, and that's a good thing. We'll need a roof box for camping and trips to France, mind!

Buy the best, look after it and a Picasso will serve you well - I'd recommended them to anyone looking for a family car.
Sat Jun 07 2014, 03:12am

Member No: #19238
Joined: Apr 12 2011
Location: Cambridgeshire
Well, just in case anyone feels they missed out on buying Pablo, I've found him for sale in Newark;

- Click Here -

Hope he goes to a good home with people who enjoy and look after him.
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