It’s got plenty of style and it’s decent to drive, but the Citroen C1 loses out to more practical city car rivals
The Citroen C1 makes a good first impression with its distinctive styling – a result of quirky split-level headlights and an extensive range of contrasting colour and trim options. The colour continues inside, which gives the car cheerful feel, plus this latest C1 is more lavishly equipped than the original.
Despite the fresh styling, the Mk2 C1 carries over a great deal from the previous model. The 1.2-litre three-cylinder PureTech engine is all-new, though, and finally gives the French city car a bit more motorway cruising ability, despite remaining impressively efficient, with CO2 emissions of less than 100g/km. Refinement is better than before, although the engines still aren’t the quietest in the class, and the ride can get quite unsettled. The rear seats and boot are quite cramped compared to rivals, too.
So while the Citroen C1 is chic, fun and affordable, other city cars can do what it does better.
Cars from the shared project have been rolling off the production line at a dedicated factory in the Czech Republic since 2005, but the current version was introduced in 2014. Its stablemates are the Peugeot 108 and Toyota Aygo, but the Citroen C1 competes for attention in a busy city car segment that includes other rivals like the Ford Ka, Hyundai i10, Renault Twingo, Skoda Citigo and VW up!
Although derived from an engineering platform conceived for the 2005 original, the latest model qualified as ‘all new’ due to a re-engineered chassis that greatly improved handling and refinement thanks to new suspension and axle components, and fitment of a new 1.2-litre PureTech engine, although the previous 1.0-litre option is carried over too. Both come with a standard five-speed manual gearbox, but if you want a Citroen C1 automatic there’s an optional five-speed automated ETG manual.
The body too was new in 2014, and the Citroen C1 interior was also replaced making it a much more appealing environment for a city commute. You can still choose a C1 with three or five doors, and the model comes in a range of four trim levels called Touch, Feel, Furio and Flair. The basic C1 Touch comes with remote locking, electric windows and an MP3 compatible stereo but not much else, so most people opt for the popular C1 Feel. This adds exterior upgrades like body-colour wing mirrors and door handles, plus luxuries such as air conditioning, and a 7-inch touchscreen. The C1 Furio is a Feel with alloy wheels, red mirrors, a ‘sporty’ central exhaust, a rev-counter and an immobiliser. The Citroen C1 Flair is the range-topper, which gives you chrome exterior trim, tinted rear glass, a leather steering wheel and reversing camera, plus electric door mirrors.