Citroen C1 hatchback

Price  £8,345 - £12,415

Citroen C1 hatchback

reviewed by Carbuyer

  • Low running costs
  • Full-length fabric roof
  • Decent standard equipment
  • Not as spacious as rivals
  • Rear windows don’t wind down
  • Smaller engine struggles on the motorway

At a glance

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"The Citroen C1 has fresh styling and frugal engines, but cramped rear seats and a poor-quality interior mean it’s not a class leader."

The Citroen C1 is a compact city car available in three and five-door bodystyles and (on some trim levels) with a folding fabric roof. Like its immediate predecessor, also called the C1, it has two sister models: the Peugeot 108 and Toyota Aygo.

Opening prices for the Citroen and Peugeot are the same, while the Aygo starts around £500 higher. However the Toyota has a longer warranty (five years compared to the others’ three). Meanwhile, there’ll be detailed specification, trim and colour differences between the three rivals, which you should take account of when deciding which to buy.

Beyond these three models, there are many other city cars vying for your attention, including the Skoda Citigo, Volkswagen up! and SEAT Mii (all related) as well as the Kia Picanto, Renault Twingo and Hyundai i10.

The C1 comes with a choice of 1.0 or 1.2-litre petrol engines. If most of your driving is around town, the less powerful 1.0-litre is fine, but if you travel more widely and on faster roads, the 1.2-litre is the better performer. It's almost as economical, too. However, rivals including the up! and Citigo have smoother and quieter engines.

Of the two bodystyles available, the five-door C1 is easily the more practical and saves rear-seat passengers the indignity of squeezing past the three-door's folded front seats. Whichever version you choose, the boot is the same size: small. It’ll carry the weekly shop or a couple of small suitcases, but not much more. The fact that the C1 is a city car is hardly an excuse, since the boots in the Citigo and i10 are bigger – just about large enough for a toddler's pushchair.

The C1 is a cheap new car, but doesn’t feel quite as well built or refined as some of its rivals – notably the Mii, up! and Citigo, which cost around the same. It's possible to enhance the Citroen's modest looks with a range of bright styling options, but they won’t quite disguise the car's poor quality.

There are three trim levels, our favourite being mid-range Feel, which has body-coloured mirrors and handles, air-conditioning, a height-adjustable driver's seat, Bluetooth and a seven-inch screen that mirrors your phone.

The previous C1 wasn’t the most reliable car, but we’d expect this latest version to have benefited from lessons learned. Plus, it shares many parts with the Aygo and Toyota has a much better reputation for quality.

Crash-test body Euro NCAP gave the C1 four out of five stars, but it does include plenty of safety equipment, such as electronic stability control, hill-start assistance and rear ISOFIX child-seat mounts.

MPG, running costs & CO2

4.3 / 5

The Citroen C1 is efficient, but its insurance premiums are higher than its main rivals'

Engines, drive & performance

3.2 / 5

The Citroen C1 is a competent performer, but falls short of the standards set by the Hyundai i10

Interior & comfort

2.6 / 5

The Citroen C1 doesn’t feel as well built as the Hyundai i10 or Skoda Citigo

Practicality & boot space

3 / 5

The Citroen C1 has cramped rear seats and below-par boot capacity for this class

Reliability & safety

4 / 5

It’s too soon to say how reliable the new Citroen C1 will be, but safety is comparable to the best in class

What the others say

3 / 5
based on 4 reviews
3 / 5
"With distinctive styling and an improved drive, the C1 is much improved. But it's let down by a lack of interior space."
3 / 5
"While there's a lot to like about the Citroen C1, many other city cars are better. The C1 is let down by an unsettled ride, thrummy engines and tight rear passenger space."
6 / 10
"Similar to the old one underneath, but with a happier character and even lower running costs."
6 / 10
"The Citroen C1 is cheap to buy and run, plus there are enough big-car luxuries to keep you entertained."
What owners say 
4.4 /5 based on 5 reviews
 of people would recommend this car to a friend

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Last updated 
12 Oct 2015
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