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Citroën C1 Hatchback review

2014 - 2022 (change model)
Parkers overall rating: 3.5 out of 53.5
” Cheap to buy and run and easy to drive “

At a glance

Price new £9,000 - £14,845
Used prices £1,967 - £11,815
Road tax cost £0 - £190
Insurance group 6 - 13
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Fuel economy 51.6 - 58.9 mpg
Range 500 - 570 miles
Miles per pound 7.6 - 8.6
View full specs for a specific version

Available fuel types

Petrol

Pros & cons

PROS
  • Low running costs
  • Delightful, large Airscape sunroof
  • Quite fun to drive in town
CONS
  • Engine can become noisy
  • Miserly spec on basic model
  • Small boot limits family appeal

Written by Keith Adams Published: 23 August 2022 Updated: 15 August 2023

Overview

The Citroen C1 was the French firm’s smallest model in the range, with mechanical parts in common with the Peugeot 108 and the more striking-looking Toyota Aygo. Despite shared underpinnings, Citroen managed to inject some of its own distinctive character, starting with the unusual styling which reflects the marque’s larger models.

The C1 is popular with learner drivers, empty-nesters and everyone in between thanks to its nippy engine, fun drive and surprisingly roomy interior, not to mention its low price and running costs. Available with both three and five doors, it has the looks and charm to make its way on to the same shopping lists.

A strong seller new, it’s a popular used small car, and ideal for first-time drivers.

> Find a used Citroen C1 Mk2 for sale near you

It does have plenty of competition, not only from the cars it shares its parts with, but also the Kia Picanto, Hyundai i10 and Volkswagen Up to name but a few. If you’re thinking of buying one, the model range is nice and simple with one 72hp petrol engine to choose from and three trim levels – most recently called Urban Ride, Shine and Shine Airscape.

Production ended in 2022 and it doesn’t have a direct replacement – yet – but the C1’s spot in the showroom has been taken by the value-focused Citroen C3 You!.

> Read the latest Citroen C3 review on Parkers

It’s an older design, but Citroen paid close attention to the fit, finish and quality of its baby car – all of the engineering was handled by Toyota, which means the C1 is the most solid city car from the French firm yet, defying the reputation for flimsiness that befell its products in the past.

Before looking for your next small car, check out our Citroen C1 buying guide below. Click here for the original 2005 C1 Mk1.

Top tips for buying a used Citroen C1 Mk2 (2014-2022)

First of all, the Citroen C1 is a relatively new car; as a rule a well serviced example should give years of service. It’s also partly engineered by Toyota, and the almost identical Aygo can get a 10-year warranty under that brand which is reassuring. Finally, our owners’ reviews give the Citroen C1 Mk2 a high rating. Own a Citroen C1 already? Let others know how it’s been; we publish all reviews, good and bad.

1. Financing it? Look at approved-used Citroen C1s first

The Citroen C1 was among the cheapest cars you could buy new, and that was backed up by very competitive finance packages which are rarely matched by used car dealer offerings. There are loads of C1s in the Spoticar approved-used dealer network, so make sure you get those figures before shopping around.

Many new and nearly-new C1s sold through PCP and HP schemes, so make sure the car has no outstanding finance when buying privately.

2. Citroen C1 bodywork: look carefully for accident damage and repairs

The C1 is one of those cars that’s really popular with driving schools, and also as a low-cost pool car for companies. In Paris, a few scuffs and scrapes are par for the course and it’s built to take that treatment, but British dealers and owners are more likely to want to hide the evidence, which means paintwork, filler and ultimately, rust. Not a fault of the car, but if you want it to last, look for signs of poor quality repairs such as uneven panels, changes in paint texture or overspray/tape masking edges. An HPi check will reveal big issues, but not the small scrapes.

Examine the service history to make sure the body inspections have been carried out. The 12-year anti-perforation warranty is dependent on those checks.

3. Citroen C1 Mk2 engine reliability

The second generation Citroen C1 is only available with a three-cylinder petrol engine. The 1.0-litre option is an established Toyota unit around since 2005 – it’s very reliable, as long as the car is maintained well, with a timing chain and simple valve timing on the lower-power model.

The C1 1.2-litre Puretech engine comes from Peugeot, and it features an innovative ‘belt in oil’ design for quieter running. On early models the belt can disintegrate and clog the oil system; this may be less likely if the oil has been changed more frequently than the service spec. Later cars, and replacement timing belts, are improved.

4. Citroen C1 gadgets and tech

There’s very little to worry about here, but remember to check everything fitted still works. Check the air conditioning has been serviced on older cars as the regas also tops up the oil for the compressor.

5.Automatic gearbox – Citroen C1 ETG

You can get automatic Citroen C1s, with the 1.0-litre engine. The gearbox is a Toyota design called MMT, and is essentially an automated five-speed manual. Treated well it is okay, but it’s not the nicest automatic experience you’ll find. If it does go wrong few specialists understand it, so repair will be expensive.

Other things to consider around the Citroen C1 Mk2

Despite being an entry-level car, you can still equip it with a 7.0-inch infotainment system which includes radio, Bluetooth and an on-board computer. Other features include keyless entry, hill-start assist, climate control, heated seats, reversing camera and memory settings for the front seats on the equipment lists, although much of this costs extra.

The Airscape model with full-length fabric roof is a practical and charming alternative to a convertible.

To find out how the Citroen C1 compares to rivals, keep reading over the next few pages. We’ll cover off interior quality and equipment, practicality, what it’s like to drive, what it’ll cost you and which version we’d recommend. The most important question we’ll answer is whether you should take one over a Peugeot 108 or Toyota Aygo.