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Citroen C1 generations

What is the Citroen C1?

Launched in 2014 in its second-generation guise, the Citroen C1 is a three- and five-door city car developed as a joint-venutre that also sired the Peugeot 108 and Toyota Aygo as part of what was known internally as the B-Zero project.

Not only does the C1 have to go toe-to-toe with the other tiny hatchbacks it was devised in conjunction with, but also the likes of the Fiat 500, Ford Ka+ and the other trio of jointly-developed city cars: SEAT's Mii, Skoda's Citigo and Volkswagen's Up.

At-a-glance 2019 Citroen C1 specs

  • Top speed: 99mph
  • 0-62mph: 12.2-15.2 seconds
  • Fuel economy: 67-68mpg
  • Emissions: 93-95g/km of CO2
  • Boot space: 196-780 litres

Which versions of the Citroen C1 are available?

Somewhat unusually these days, the Citroen C1 Hatchback is still available in three-door form, although only at the cheaper end of the range. Most versions are more practical five-door cars, although interior space is identical whichever you choose.

In a nod to its iconic 2CV model, Citroen offers the five-door C1 with a full-length fabric sunroof option called Airscape. It's not a full convertible as the roof frame remains in place and it only retracts back as far as the top of the tailgate at the back, but a refreshing feature all the same. It's also surprisingly quiet when closed.

Citroen C1 driving shot

Engine choice is more restricted than when the Mk2 C1 was launched - now your only option is a three-cylinder 1.0-litre Toyota petrol producing 72hp. You'll have to got for an older model if you crave the 68hp 1.0-litre or the slightly punchier 82hp 1.2-litre alternatives.

Standard transmission is a five-speed manual, although there's a version Citroen calls ETG available with robotised clutch. You drive it the same way you would an automatic, but it's much jerkier than a proper auto 'box. Best avoided unless you can't drive manuals.

Trim levels generally match what you'll find elsewhere in Citroen's line-up with Touch, Feel and Flair, plus a gaggle of special editions over the years.

Citroen C1 styling and engineering

It's difficult for car manufacturers to make healthy profits on inexpensive city cars, hence why the C1 was part of a joint venture to make it more viable financially.

This means that it shares its underpinnings, major mechanical components and its interior with its Peugeot and Toyota cousins.

Citroen C1 interior

Although the C1's front end is dinstinctively Citroen, much of its bodywork from the doors backwards is very similar to the Peugeot 108's, while the pair also share identical all-glass tailgates. 

Regardless of this, although the C1 feels inexpensive once you're sat inside, it doesn't feel cheap. Bold use of colours and a large multimedia touchscreen on many models make it feel suitably cheerful.

Is the Citroen C1 good to drive?

Those of you with long memories may have fond recollections of the Citroen AX GT and Saxo VTS - sportier derivatives of the French brand's efficient and worthy small car ranges.

Unfortunately, there's no zippier-guise C1 to satisfy such cravings these days. Here, it's all about stretching-out the cost of motoring.

Citroen C1 rear three-quarter dynamic

All, however, is not lost. Although the C1's not blessed with the best handling in the city car genre, it's hard to make a car of this size inherently bad to drive. A short wheelbase and overall lightness promote decent dynamics, limited usually by the skinniness of the tyres and relative lack of oomph from the engine. 

Still, you'll have a smile on your face maintaining momentum on a B-road, assuming you take it out of the city from time-to-time.

How much does the Citroen C1 cost?

Although you can buy a brand new C1 for under £10,000, most customers are attracted by the very tempting finance offers - in fact the Citroen is a regular fixture in our Best Cars for £90/month feature.

Citroen C1 engine bay

Being small and efficient, running one isn't going to cost very much, in spite of the lack of a diesel engine in the second-generation C1, while its relatively simple nature means it's very cheap to insure - no wonder it's so popular as a first car.

According to our Citroen C1 owners' reviews, it's a dependable proposition as well, so you'll spend less time - and money - at garages getting it fixed.

Citroën C1 Model History

First-generation Citroen C1 (2005-14)

Citroen C1 Mk1 front three-quarter

Launched in 2005 as a new addition to the range below the C2, the first-generation Citroen C1 was a three- and five-door hatchback designed for city life.

Part of a joint-venture, the C1 was a close sibling to the Peugeot 107 - with many shared body panels - as well as the Toyota Aygo. All three were built in the same Czech factory and shared virtually identical underpinnings, engines and interiors.

Citroen purists may have scoffed at the C1's uninteresting styling, but it was freshened-up twice during its lifecycle. In 2009 the front bumper was altered giving the appearance of a smaller black grille, while the 2012 makeover was slightly more radical, featuring LED daytime-running lights (DRLs) in the outer edges of the bumper and a single nostril-like grille on the new bonnet to house the Citroen logo.

Still, it was very inexpensive to run, with a choice of a 1.0-litre petrol engine and a much rarer 1.4-litre HDi diesel - good luck finding one of those these days.

Check-out how the Mk1 is to live with in our Citroen C1 owners' reviews and find a broad selection of used examples for sale.