The latest Citroen C1 is far funkier than the first-generation model. It’s still tiny, but it fights its corner well, as a motoring journalist, Tim Barnes-Clay, found out.
When the Citroen C1 Flair PureTech 82 was delivered to me this week, I wondered if I would fit in it. Then I thought about wearing a mask so no one would think I lacked masculinity by driving what is very much a female-focused car. Of course, I was being ridiculous – not least because my job involves reviewing all shapes and sizes of vehicle – but the reality turned out far better than I’d hoped. Firstly, I got into the C1 no problem, and secondly, the Citroen doesn’t feel half as girly to drive as I’d been led to believe by, shall we say, far less open-minded guys I know.
Look-wise, the Citroen C1, dare I say it, has a kind of cool quirkiness about it – due to its lines, angles and curves. This model is far more contemporary than the last, even though the former C1 had gone through a couple of facelifts. The C1’s narrow front lights, combined with bright upright LED running lights at the bottom of the car’s ‘face’, look particularly good. At the back end of the Citroen C1, the boot lid is a solitary piece of fashioned glass, and very hip – a huge improvement over the original C1’s half-metal, half-glass design.
My test car was the five-door version of the new C1, and in mid-range ‘Flair’ trim you get some neat touches. The centre console is treated to some tasteful piano black trim, as are the vent surrounds, and the steering wheel. It gives the cabin a bit more panache than the standard muted plastics found in many cars of this ilk, and it suits this tiny Citroen completely. Another pleasing feature is the massive single dial in the dashboard binnacle. As well as the speedo, it accommodates an LCD digital info readout for fuel stats, and there’s a perpendicular rev counter, too. It all looks funky.
While this French-made supermini is designed to be a city car, there’s quite a decent amount of head and legroom in the front. This makes longer non-urban trips easy to cope with. The rear seats, while not offering acres of room, are actually alright if you’re not too tall. Certainly, you’ll get two kids and their child seats secured in there perfectly. As a dad who does some of the school and nursery runs, I ensured my seven-year-old and three-year-old children were perfectly happy in the rear. But, it’s not designed to three fits across the C1’s rear bench (there are only two seatbelts), so my 10-year-old daughter rode up front with me. This obviously isn’t a car for a family of five, then – but it’s great for four, or it’ll serve as a second runabout. As for the boot, you’re not going to get the family holiday luggage in there, but the 196 litres of space makes it good for a few shopping bags or a small buggy. If you’re not carrying rear seat passengers, load space expands to 780 litres, making it an ideal little machine to take odds and ends to the tip – or for bringing home some flat-pack furniture.
On the road, the PureTech 82 engine, mated to a five-speed manual gearbox makes the C1 a nippy little rascal. The turbo petrol powered three-cylinder unit punches well above its weight, propelling you to 62mph in 10.9 seconds – and on to a top speed of 106mph. The peppy power unit is also efficient, returning an official average of 65.7mpg. Even with my foot to the floor on some of the UK’s straighter sections of road, as well as some hooning efforts around country bends, the mpg averaged the mid-50s – not bad at all.
As a package, the Citroen C1 is hard to dislike. At £11,915, combined with its excellent fuel efficiency and 99g/km Co2, the Flair PureTech 82 model is cheap to buy and run. But it doesn’t look bargain basement, due to its stylish appearance and fine interior features. It’s not a car to go for if you commute a long distance daily, but it’s a cracking motor for trips around town – as well as weekend jaunts further afield. What’s more, this generation of C1 comes with electric power steering, making parking in tight city streets and carparks a doddle. Why not contact Perrys to find out more?
Pros ‘n’ Cons
- Looks √
- Performance √
- Efficiency √
- Fun √
- Rear Room X
Fast Facts (C1 Flair PureTech 82 – as tested)
- Max speed: 106 mph
- 0-62 mph: 10.9 secs
- Combined mpg: 65.7
- Engine layout: 1199cc 3-cylinder petrol turbo
- Max. power (PS): 82
- CO2: 99 g/km
- Price: £11,915