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

Petrol engine

There’s but one engine available in the C1 – it’s a three-cylinder petrol that develops 72hp and 93Nm of torque. This doesn’t sound a lot, but in such a light car, it makes for a surprisingly lively drive – and quite a way ahead from the 60hp you get in a base-level Volkswagen Up.

You have to be in the mood to get the C1 though, as its 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, and you’ll need to plan any kind of overtaking manoeuvre well in advance. Equally, loading it up with people will seriously dent its perfomance and responsiveness.

Performance is quite lively if you need it. The 0-62mph time is 13.6 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.

Citroen C1 review (2022) profile view, driving

What’s it like to drive?

  • Light controls make it easy to drive
  • Feels nippy in town…
  • Very comfortable for such a small car

The French firm is renowned for its ride quality, and the C1 scores well in this area. Around town, at low speeds especially, the soft suspension means its soaks up lumps and bumps without bother, and the C1 is relaxing and easy to drive around urban environments.

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.

That said, you’ll have to learn to love the thrum of the three-cylinder engine which is especially apparent under hard acceleration – which is another thing you’ll need to get used to since the C1 needs a firm prod from your right foot to move at any pace.