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What Car? says

3 out of 5 stars

For It's cheap to buy and run, and the C1's funky styling gives it broad appeal.

Against Space is tight in the back, the boot is tiny and ride and refinement are poor.

Verdict It's a very capable city car which has the talent to back up its cute looks

Go for… 1.0 Vibe

Avoid… 1.4 diesel

Citroën C1 Hatchback
  • 1. If you want air-con, look for a top-spec model, and even then it's only an option
  • 2. Any engine struggles once you're out of town, but the 1.0-litre is the one to go for
  • 3. Economy's a big plus - the car can cover more than 530 miles on one tank of fuel
  • 4. Practicality is a problem - room for rear-seat passengers is very tight
  • 5. The boot is tiny, so don't expect to get a lot of luggage in there
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Citroën C1 Hatchback full review with expert trade views

Cars that are this cheap aren't always very talented, but the Citroen C1 manages to combine rock-bottom prices with a broad spread of abilities.

The C1 certainly has the looks to attract young drivers at whom it is aimed. The styling is fresh and contemporary, inside and out, which means that, unlike many city cars, young drivers will be proud to be seen in this Citroen.

They will also enjoy driving it. The handling is fine, as long as corners are taken with the respect that they are due, and although the ride is firm, it is unlikely to bother people.

The C1 is definitely best in the urban jungle, because its keen powerplants and compact proportions are ideal for city life. The engines struggle more with motorway driving, and refinement isn't terrific.

It's not such good news on practicality. Rear-seat passengers will struggle for room and the boot is tiny.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Currently making strong money. 1.0 Rhythm five door is the pick.

James Ruppert
Used car guru

Of the two engines on offer, the three-cylinder 1.0-litre petrol is the best. It sounds great and its 67bhp is more than enough in the featherweight C1. It feels eagre in town, and can just about cope at the national limit.

The 1.4 diesel is just as good. With 54bhp, it has less power than the petrol, but it has more pulling power, so its overall performance doesn't suffer much. You will pay more for it, however.

Two trim levels are available with the petrol. Vibe is the basic package, providing a limited amount of standard kit. You get a CD stereo with MP3 compatability, and that's about it. Air-con wasn't even offered as an option.

Chilled air wasn't standard on the Rhythm but you could pick up a model that had it specified as an option. You also get remote central locking, curtain airbags and electric front windows. The diesel is only available in Rhythm trim.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

Nippy but flimsy. Stick with the petrol. C2 is a better buy for similar money.

Martin Keighley
Valuations expert,
What Car? Used Car Price Guide

There is very little chance that a used C1 will bankrupt you. Even when compared with the Toyota Aygo, with which is shares many of its parts, it loses its value quicker, so it should be cheaper to buy second-hand.

It will cost you peanuts to run, too. Fuel economy is among the best that you will get from any car: the petrol returns an average of 61.4mpg, and although this is a very strong performance, the diesel has it beaten. With an average of 68.9mpg, you will be able to travel more than 530 miles between fills.

Insurance costs, another big consideration for young drivers, are also good as it's possible to get. Both engines carry a group 1 classification, so premiums will be minimal. Routine servicing is also cheap.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Currently making strong money. 1.0 Rhythm five door is the pick.

James Ruppert
Used car guru

The C1 was only released in June 2005, so it's difficult to give an accurate picture of how reliable it will be yet.

Some may worry that Citroens have a dubious record for frailty in the past. But it shouldn't be doom and gloom with the C1. It was built in partnership with Toyota.

While Citroen provided the diesel engine, the Japanese manufacturer did pretty much everything else.

Toyota's record for reliability is terrific. However it remains to be seen whether Toyota will bring the C1 up, or the whether it will bring Toyota down.

Trade view

Martin Keighley

Nippy but flimsy. Stick with the petrol. C2 is a better buy for similar money.

Martin Keighley
Valuations expert,
What Car? Used Car Price Guide
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