Parkers overall rating: 3.5 out of 5 3.5
  • Simple dashboard is easy to use
  • Distinctive colour combinations available
  • Quality lags begind Volkswagen Up

How is the quality and layout?

Get over the fact the centre console is a little flimsy feeling, and you’ll realise the cabin of the Citroen C1 is a reasonably solid place to spend time, which has been well screwed together from rugged, if cheap-feeling plastics. So it’s better than you might expect based on experience of older budget Citroens, and while it might not match a Volkswagen for ambience and solidity, it’s a happy space to spend time.

The modular construction, with a distinct instrument pod to go with that centre console, looks young and funky – just as the designers clearly intended. Next to the speedometer there is a neat rev-counter display, and it’s all easy to read on the move.

You do sit high, and quite upright, behind the three-spoke steering wheel, though the C1 is wide enough to ensure you’re not constantly scraping shoulders with your front-seat passenger when on the move. And once you’re used to the driving position you’ll actually be quite comfortable, even on longer journeys.

Choose the Airscape model, and you’ll enjoy the open-air of a convertible thanks to that fabric roof (that slides back to the rear of the car) without any of the associated shaking or flex. Roof open it makes the cabin brighter and feel a little larger than it actually is – even if headroom in the rear does suffer because of it.

Infotainment and tech

The infotainment system is driven by a 7.0-inch Touch Drive interface, which offers Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Some people might not feel that the system is entirely intuitive to use, but it’s quickly mastered and competent.

It’s quick and responsive to use, mainly because it’s not related to the more complex current generation of more expensive Citroen models, which can be a little unsatisfying to use. So, although it’s feeling a little long-in-the tooth it’s competent and has all the features you’d expect at this price points.

Comfort

  • Front seats are comfortable and supportive
  • Rear isn’t roomy enough for long distances
  • Light and airy cabin, rear windows don’t open

The front seats are comfortable too, though they do sit quite high and the steering wheel only adjusts for angle – so slotting yourself into your perfect driving position isn’t all that easy. There’s only room for two in the back though, and taller adults will find travelling back there a pain in the neck, literally.

Like the C4 Cactus, DS4 and the previous C1 the rear windows only pop outwards on hinges, rather than wind down, but the optional Airscape fabric roof should provide enough fresh air even for those in the rear. However, while it may struggle to match current class leaders like the VW Up, it is still an improvement over the previous model in terms of comfort.