Cheap, good to drive, and well screwed together
- Distinctive looks
- Low running costs
- Fun Airscape trim
- Cramped cabin
- Noisy engines
- Miserly spec on basic model
Since its introduction in 2005, Citroen sold more than 760,000 examples of its original C1 city car. It's popular with learner drivers, young mums, empty-nesters and everyone in between. And with good reason.
The new Citroen C1, available with both three and five doors, has a lot to live up to, especially in terms of sales. Luckily, it has the looks and low price to make its way on to the same shopping lists – but there are many other improvements.
Citroen C1: Quality upgrades
To ensure that increased desirability, Citroen has upped the quality this smart city car has on offer. It's built in the same factory as its Peugeot 108 and Toyota Aygo counterparts. All of the the engineering has been handled by Toyota, which means the C1 is the most solid supermini from the French firm yet.
Inside there’s a 7.0-inch infortainment system which includes radio, Bluetooth, video player and an on-board computer. Mirror link technology allows the driver to copy smartphone content onto the multimedia system, though in our experience it wasn’t quite as slick in practice as it sounded on paper.
You’ll also notice keyless entry, hill-start assist, climate control, heated seats, reversing camera and memory settings for the front seats on the standard and optional kit lists.
Citroen C1: Petrol engines only
Buyers of the C1 are limited to a pair of petrol engines to choose from. Both have three cylinders and are either 1.0- or 1.2-litres in size. The former develops 70hp, but since the C1 weighs less than 1,000kg it still manages to feel sprightly enough around town – despite the 13-second 0-62mph time.
Those on a quest for speed would do well to look elsewhere. The 1.2-litre PureTech engine develops 84hp and can complete the 0-62mph sprint in 10.9 seconds. Like its smaller brother, it does its best work before 30mph, though.
Either way, both engines are vocal, with a distinct three-cylinder thrum that never truly disappears, even a cruise.
To take your mind off it, both will slip under 100g/km of CO2 emissions and the smaller engine promises up to 74.3mpg. The larger 1.2-litre PureTech delivers more than 65mpg in official fuel cosumption tests. That means both are cheap to run, thanks to low fuel bills and VED rates.
A good-looking small hatchback
Buyers looking for some personality with their C1 should check out the Airscape model, which boasts an electrically folding fabric roof that runs the length of the cabin – offering wind in the hair motoring without any of the scuttle-shake shortfalls.
Otherwise the C1 is available in three trims; Touch, Feel and Flair with the 800x760mm fabric roof Airscape option offered on Feel or Flair only.
There are eight exterior colours to choose from, along with the option for that Airscape roof to be either Black, Grey or Red to contrast or match the bodywork. Inside the dashboard, air vent trim, gear lever base and door panel trims can be specified in brighter colours to live up the cabin.
Small, but with added practicality
Designed very much with cities in mind the new C1 is lower and narrower than before, aimed at helping manoeuvrability in tighter spaces, and features low-rolling resistance tyres to reduce fuel consumption.
Electric power steering means the wheel is light but direct, while hill start assist works on any slopes steeper than three percent.
It’ll hold four people too, even if the rear bench is best suited for children rather than adults, while boot space with the seats in place totals 196 litres and 780 litres with the rear bench folded.
The Parkers Verdict
Small, good looking and cheap to run, the Citroen C1 is deservedly popular. Particular plus points are the excellent 1.2-litre PureTech engine, its tight turning circle and relatively comfortable ride.
Although it's been around a while, it's still up there with the best-in-class Volkswagen Up, although its residuals and image aren't as strong as its German-badged rival. A good budget buy, but shop around for a great deal.
Read on in the Parkers Citroen C1 full review to find out if it’s got what it takes to best its rivals in the city car sector.
What owners say about this car
Like many new Citroens I got this on an attractive no deposit lease deal (18 months at £99/m - plus... Read owner review