Parkers overall rating: 3.5 out of 5 3.5
  • Just one petrol engine available
  • Performance is more gradual than speedy
  • Great for use in town, though

You have to be in the mood to get the C1 feeling lively, as the sole three-cylinder petrol engine craves high revs if you’re hoping to make any form of meaningful progress.

In fact you’ll need to be close to 6,000rpm for peak power and torque – with just 72hp and 93Nm of torque, you'll need to planning any kind of overtaking manoeuvre well in advance.

Wind up the smaller engine to the max and you’ll scrabble, noisily, from 0-62mph in 12.6 seconds, and if you’ve got a long enough stretch of road then 99mph is theoretically possible.

This engine does its best work at low speeds around town, then. With a light build, it feels far nippier dashing from a standstill up to 30mph, which makes it a great companion around town. 

There’s no diesel engine available for the C1, which isn’t surprising given the leap forward with petrol technology, and the efficiency gains that have been seen in recent years.

Engines no longer available

The C1 was previously available with a larger 1.2-litre petrol producing 82hp. For the same sets of figures the larger 1.2-litre PureTech managed a time of 10.9 seconds and an absolute of 106mph.

Either way you’ll know about the C1’s progress, as the triple-cylinder engines are anything but hushed, emitting a characterful (but sometimes tiring) thrum as your speed increases.

  • Light controls make it easy to drive
  • Feels nippy in town...
  • But out of depth away from it

If you’re buying a C1 and hoping for tight sporty handling then your hand must have slipped while browsing the Citroen configurator – a sports car this is not. However it is a city car, with suspension designed for the rigours of city life. That means despite the short wheelbase (2,340mm) the C1 copes with the lumps and (speed) bumps of the city with ease.

Along with light steering, matching all the other control weights of the car equally, it makes the Citroen a perfectly easy to drive city car. And while it’s not necessarily at home out of town, it’s not disgraced either – sure there’s a lot of body roll to be experienced, but nothing surprising or untoward. And if you do experience too much for your liking, the simple answer is just to slow down.