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First drive: Citroen C1. Image by Citroen.

First drive: Citroen C1
Citroen's new city car gets stand-out looks, more efficiency and is more fun to drive.

   



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| First Drive | Amsterdam, The Netherlands | Citroen C1 |

Overall rating: 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5

One of three new city cars built on the same line, the new Citroen C1 looks good and is super efficient. The toughest competition for the compact hatchback doesn't come from its close cousins, but instead Volkswagen's up!. The Citroen betters the German car for emissions, but trails behind on sheer desirability.

Key Facts

Model tested: Citroen C1 Airscape
Pricing: 11,385 as tested (starts at 8,245)
Engine: 1.2-litre three-cylinder petrol
Transmission: front-wheel drive, five-speed manual
Body style: five-door hatchback
Rivals: Peugeot 108, Toyota Aygo, Volkswagen up!
CO2 emissions: 99g/km
Combined economy: 65.6mpg
Top speed: 76mph
0-62mph: 10.9 seconds
Power: 82hp at 5,750rpm
Torque: 116Nm at 2,750rpm

In the Metal: 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5

After the sharp intake of breath from the original images, the C1's looks don't shock quite so much in reality. Indeed, it's pleasingly bold, the busy head- and driving light arrangement and assertive grille with its large Citroen chevron badge looks smart. It's less generic than its predecessor, more obviously Citroen and more clearly differentiated from its Toyota Aygo and Peugeot 108 relations.

The interior is smarter too, material quality improving significantly. Connectivity is also a big deal here, the C1 offering a mirror link system that lets you access most of your smartphone's functions via a touch screen. The equipment count is up too, so the C1 can be specified with automatic climate control now for instance, while on this Airscape model there's a near full length fabric retractable roof. That roof has a significant effect on rear headroom, so the back seats are not hugely accommodating for adults, but fine for kids. Likewise, the boot's not huge, but it's no less commodious than its nearest city car rivals'.

Driving it: 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5

This score is specific to the open-topped Airscape model tested; we expect the regular C1 to be better on the road. Specifically when it comes to refinement, as the Airscape's roof rather dominates the driving experience - and not it a good way. Sound insulation is poor, which is fine if you like the noise of the city traffic consuming the interior and upsetting the calm, but not if you want your transport to shut out the hustle and bustle of the city.

Ignore that (difficult with a bus idling noisily alongside) and the C1 is pleasing enough to drive. The three-cylinder engine, tested in its most powerful guise here, is pleasingly responsive, with good low-down urgency meaning there's little need to rev it out in traffic. The steering is light and nicely accurate, while the suspension deals with smooth and rough tarmac with equal composure. All good enough, though the C1 lacks that 'big little car' sophistication and maturity of its key Volkswagen up! rival, even if it betters it on economy and emissions.

What you get for your Money: 4 4 4 4 4

Prices start at 8,245 for the Citroen C1 and it comes in three- and five-door body styles. Whatever you pay you'll be getting a car with sub-100g/km CO2 emissions, as every model in the range squeezes beneath the tax-friendly barrier. Equipment levels are decent too; this upmarket Flair model comes with a leather steering wheel, rev counter, reversing camera, alloy wheels and some chrome trim and dark rear windows. The lesser 'Feel' comes with everything you need though, such as air conditioning and the DAB seven-inch 'Touch Drive' interface with Mirror Screen connection to your smartphone, along with anti-lock brakes, cornering brake control and a host of other safety kit as standard.

Worth Noting

Like the idea of the Citroen C1, but want it with a different badge on its nose? Then pop into either a Peugeot or Toyota dealer, as they both make versions of the same car and call them 108 and Aygo, respectively. All drive near identically, so be sure to mention that you're also looking at them if you're in the Citroen showroom when doing a deal...

Summary

Roof aside, the new Citroen C1 is an impressive contender in the city car market that promises excellent economy, comes with decent standard equipment and bold, stand-out looks. Well worth considering, though like everything else in the class it's beaten by the Volkswagen up! - for outright desirability and premium feel, if not economy, emissions and pricing. And those things matter in the city car market, so the C1 is likely to do very well indeed.


Kyle Fortune - 8 Jul 2014



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2014 Citroen C1. Image by Citroen.2014 Citroen C1. Image by Citroen.2014 Citroen C1. Image by Citroen.2014 Citroen C1. Image by Citroen.2014 Citroen C1. Image by Citroen.



2014 Citroen C1. Image by Citroen.
 

2014 Citroen C1. Image by Citroen.
 

2014 Citroen C1. Image by Citroen.
 

2014 Citroen C1. Image by Citroen.
 

2014 Citroen C1. Image by jam.
 

2014 Citroen C1. Image by jam.
 

2014 Citroen C1. Image by jam.
 

2014 Citroen C1. Image by jam.
 

2014 Citroen C1. Image by jam.
 






 

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