Citroen C1 hatchback
Price £8,495 - £12,680
- Funky looks
- Full-length fabric roof option
- Good list of standard equipment
- Cramped rear seats
- Some cheap materials inside
- Weak 1.0-litre engine
At a glance
“The Citroen C1 is a stylish city car with low running costs and plenty of equipment, but it’s not quite up to standard of class leaders.”
The Citroen C1 is the smallest car in the French brand's range, and it shares its platform and engines with the Toyota Aygo and Peugeot 108. It's got plenty of French style, though, with large round headlights, the choice of three or five-door bodystyles, the option of a full-length canvas roof and plenty of personalisation options.
The Citroen C1 has a tough fight on its hands, though. Not only does it compete with its sister cars, but it also goes up against the VW Group trio in the form of the VW up, SEAT Mii and Skoda Citigo, as well as the quirky Renault Twingo and great-value Hyundai i10 and the Kia Picanto.
The Citroen C1 starts at the same price as the Peugeot 108 - £8,345 – while the Toyota Aygo is slightly more expensive, but it does have a longer, five-year warranty. If you have to have one of these three cars, your choice will probably come down to which one you like the look of most - although Citroen and Peugeot offer 1.0-litre and 1.2-litre petrol engines, whereas the Toyota is only available as a 1.0-litre.
The C1's 1.0-litre engine will be fine if you only use the car in town, but we’d recommend the more powerful 1.2-litre VTi engine because it has better performance if you’re on the motorway, but is nearly as economical as the 1.0-litre engine. It's worth bearing in mind, though, that the C1's rivals – in particular the VW Group cars – are more relaxed on a motorway journey.
Naturally, the five-door version of the C1 is the best for practicality, but there's still not a great deal of space in the back, despite the easier access. The rear windows only pop out, too, so it can feel a little claustrophobic. If you want some fresh air, though, go for the C1 Airscape which features a full-length canvas roof that opens up to make the C1 feel almost like a convertible. The boot is pretty small, too, only big enough for a small weekly shop or a couple of small suitcases.
In the front, the C1 doesn’t have as much French design flair as other cars in the Citroen range because it lifts the dashboard design straight from the Toyota Aygo. Higher up the range there's an easy-to-use touchscreen infotainment system and glossy black trim, but that's about it, and quality isn’t as good as its rivals. You can get some jazzy designs for the seats to brighten things up, though.
Buyers can choose from three trim levels – Touch, Feel and Flair. Our favourite is mid-spec Feel, because it comes with essential kit such as air-con, Bluetooth, a touchscreen infotainment system, a height-adjustable driver's seat and body-coloured trim on the outside.
In the past, Citroen hasn’t been the most reliable manufacturer out there, but the C1 shares many parts with the Aygo, and Toyota has a much better reputation when it comes to reliability.
The C1 scored four stars when it was crash tested by Euro NCAP, with electronic stability control, hill-start assist and ISOFIX points in the rear all coming as standard.
The Citroen C1 is efficient, but its insurance premiums are higher than its main rivals'
The Citroen C1 is a competent performer, but falls short of the standards set by the Hyundai i10
The Citroen C1 doesn’t feel as well built as the Hyundai i10 or Skoda Citigo
The Citroen C1 has cramped rear seats and below-par boot capacity for this class
It’s too soon to say how reliable the new Citroen C1 will be, but safety is comparable to the best in class