This car has been superseded by a newer model, click here to go to the latest Citroën C1 review.

Parkers overall rating: 4 out of 5 4.0

Since 2009 Citroen C1 performance is underpinned by one engine: a single 1.0-litre petrol unit as there is little call for small cars with diesel engines. Performance from the petrol engine is surprisingly good as it's a peppy three-cylinder and there isn't much weight to pull, so it even copes out on the motorway without complaint. The five-speed manual gearbox most C1s come with has a light and easy action, well suited to its city car mission. From a standing start to 62mph takes 12.3 seconds, which is on a par with most rivals’, while a 98mph top speed means you won’t be out of your depth on the motorway.

Low emissions technology

Revisions to the 1.0-litre petrol engine at the start of 2012 brought its carbon dioxide emissions to less than 100g/km when coupled to the five-speed manual gearbox. The C1 now offers a 99g/km CO2 output that keeps it very much among the class leaders on this score. It also helps keep running costs low for the C1 as it attracts no road tax and can enter London’s Congestion Charging zone for free.

Automatic option

The five-speed EGS (electronic gearbox system) used in the Citroën C1 gives an automatic option for buyers to choose. There is a penalty in economy and emissions, which come in at 62.8mpg and 104g/km, though for some drivers the ease of not changing gear will be sufficient compensation. The EGS gearbox is smooth, if not the most responsive, and there’s the choice for the driver of selecting gears by steering wheel-fixed paddle shifters. Performance is blunted by the EGS ’box and this model needs a sluggardly 14.0 seconds to go from 0-62mph.

Parkers recommends

There’s only one engine to choose, the 1.0-litre petrol, and we’d take it attached to the five-speed manual gearbox for its zippier performance and better economy and emissions than the automatic transmission.

The C1 is intended as a budget motoring solution rather than a sportscar, however it's still a fun little car to drive. It's entirely predictable in the way it behaves through corners and there's plenty of grip from the modest tyres so it can be whizzed about without feeling like it's doing something it's not intended for. There's even a stability control stability system which is a first for a small Citroën, but remember this is not ESP, which is an option on all C1s.

The steering is a little numb feeling, but it's not something that will bother most buyers, while the gear change is positive.