Review

Citroen C1 hatchback

Price  £8,245 - £11,935

Citroen C1 hatchback

reviewed by Carbuyer

Pros
  • Cheap to run and fun to drive
  • Decent levels of equipment
  • Full-length folding fabric roof option
Cons
  • Not as spacious as some rivals
  • Smaller engine struggles on the motorway
  • Rear windows don't wind down

At a glance

The greenest
Flair VTi 68 S&S 5-door 5dr £10,835
The cheapest
Touch VTi 68 3-door 3dr £8,245
The fastest
Airscape Flair PureTech 82 3-door 3dr £11,385
Top of the range
Airscape Flair VTi 68 ETG 5-door 5dr £11,935

“The Citroen C1 is good looking, frugal and fun, but ultimately it cannot match the Skoda Citigo's high quality interior.”

The Citroen C1 is a small city car that is fun to drive and cheap to run. It's one of a trio of models – the others being the Toyota Aygo and the Peugeot 108 – that share the same parts. Direct rivals include the Volkswagen up!, Skoda Citigo and SEAT Mii, but we would also advise taking a look at our Car of the Year – the Hyundai i10.

There are only two engines to choose from in the Citroen C1 line-up, petrols with 68bhp and 82bhp. Both are nippy enough for the city, return strong MPG figures and are cheap to tax. The C1 can be fitted with stop/start technology to offer even stronger fuel economy, and buyers can opt to fit the car with an automated manual gearbox.

Trim levels in the Citroen C1 range include Touch, Feel, and Flair. All cars get remote central locking, electric windows, an MP3 stereo, and a USB plug. Airscape models, available in Feel and Flair trim, get a full-length folding fabric roof. All models can be chossen with three or five doors.

MPG, running costs & CO2

4.3 / 5

Low insurance costs and frugal engines

If you are buying a Citroen C1 low running costs are likely to be a priority and no model disappoints as far as economy is concerned. All models also qualify for free road tax.

The most economical version is the VTi 68 S&S, which can return 74.3 mpg. It has stop/start technology that rests the engine when the car is at a standstill. Go for the basic VTi 68 model and economy of 68.9mpg is possible, while fitting the automated manual gearbox reduces that slightly to 67.3mpg. The more powerful PureTech 82 manual is the least frugal model, but even it can return 65.7mpg.

All Citroens come with a three-year/60,000 mile warranty, which compares badly to the five-year/100,000 mile cover that comes with the Hyundai i10. Citroen offers fixed-price repairs, so there should be no surprise bills when it comes to your C1's maintenance.

Interior & comfort

2.6 / 5

Interior is stylish to look at and quiet at speed

To appeal to the young people that will predominantly buy the car, the C1 gets a cool interior. It features a futuristic housing for the speedometer and snap on coloured trim for the dashboard and gearstick surround. There's also exposed painted bodywork that adds yet more colour.

Mid-range Feel models and above get a seven-inch touchscreen that reinforces the modern theme. Unfortunately, interior plastics can’t match the quality of the Volkswagen up!, Skoda Citigo or SEAT Mii.

How easy it is to get a comfortable driving position depends on the model. All C1s get a height adjustable steering wheel, but you’ll have to buy the mid-range Feel model if you also want a height adjustable driver's seat.

A particularly pleasing aspect of the new C1 is its quiet interior at motorway speeds. It successfully keeps road and wind noise at bay to take the strain out of long motorway journeys.

Practicality & boot space

4.0 / 5

Passenger and boot space down on the Skoda Citigo

While there is plenty of space in the front seats, the back seats are a different story and taller passengers are going to find both head and legroom quite tight. There are a useful number of cubbyholes in the Citroen and they include a couple of cupholders behind the gearstick, doorbins and a glovebox.

The boot is also quite small and offers just 196-litres of space, compared to the 251 litres offered by the Volkswagen up!. Dropping the rear seats down increases that to 780 litres, but you have to choose the Feel or Flair models to get rear seats that split 50:50.

Buyers can spec Citroen's Airscape full-length fabric roof on Feel and Flair models and it adds a fun dimension to the C1.

Reliability & safety

4.0 / 5

Should be safe and uses proven mechanicals

The Citroen C1 is yet to go on sale in the UK, so it's too soon to make a judgment on reliability. Counting in the car's favour is that the 1.0-litre engine is a reworked version of that fitted to the tried and tested old model. Not so good is Citroen's poor reputation for reliability that saw the company come 26th out of 33 firms in our manufacturers’ rankings.

The Citroen has yet to be rated for safety by Euro NCAP, but it comes with a host of equipment including anti lock brakes, electronic brake assist, and an electronic stability programme. We would expect it to get a strong score for safety when it is tested.

Engines, drive & performance

3.2 / 5

Engines are frugal, but can feel slow on the motorway

The Citroen C1 is not as much fun to drive as the Volkswagen up!, but that's not to say it cannot be entertaining. Its small dimensions make it perfect for cutting through traffic and the car has a turning circle of just 4.8 metres. The steering feels positive and although the manual gearbox can feel imprecise at first, it's fun to use.

Even the 1.0-litre engine feels eager enough for city use and it has a characteristic thrum that is pleasing on the ear. If you can rise to it, the larger 1.2-litre engine is even better, it also sounds nice and is very flexible. In fact, it's possible to pull away in third gear if you wish.

The slower car covers the 0-60mph dash in 14.3 seconds, while the 1.2-litre can do it in just 11.0 seconds. We would avoid the automated-manual gearbox if possible. It is only available in the 1.0-litre car and 0-60mph takes 14.6 seconds with it equipped. Its gear changes also feel incredibly slow.

Price, value for money & options

3.3 / 5

Even basic model gets decent levels of equipment

The basic Citroen C1 is much cheaper than the rest of the models in the range, but still gets an acceptable amount of equipment including remote central locking, electric windows, and a two-speaker MP3 stereo. The Feel model is the more tempting proposition and its mid-range spec adds air-conditioning, a four-speaker stereo, and a height adjustable driver's seat. A seven-inch touchscreen is also included and it can be used in conjunction with your smartphone thanks to a system that mirrors your phone's screen. Top-of-the-range Flair models add extra kit such as a reversing camera, alloy wheels, and a host of exterior upgrades.

Citroen knows the C1 has to appeal to younger buyers and to help reel them in it offers the C1 with a variety of interior packs that add a splash of colour to the inside.

Choosing between the Citroen C1, Peugeot 108 and Toyota Aygo is arguably down to personal preference, although the Toyota has the most striking looks and a five-year/100,000 warranty. Citroen dealers often offer discounts, so ask for money off.

What the others say

3.4 / 5
based on 2 reviews

Last updated 
1 Jul 2014

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