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What Car? says

3 out of 5 stars

For It's got sharp looks and it's cheap to buy and run - ideal for young drivers

Against It's a tight fit in the back, there's little room in the boot and there are some reliability issues.

Verdict It's nippy and good fun, but the C2's real appeal is its low price and running costs

Go for… 1.1 Design

Avoid… 1.6 VTR Sensodrive

Citroën C2 Hatchback
  • 1. Space in the rear is very tight
  • 2. The Sensodrive semi-automatic gearbox isn't great to use, so it's best avoided
  • 3. Rear brakes have been known to bind on, so check them on a test drive
  • 4. If you're looking for practicality, look elsewhere - the boot is tiny
  • 5. The quality of materials in the cabin leaves a lot to be desired
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Citroën C2 Hatchback full review with expert trade views

Much like the Saxo that went before it, the C2 has become a favourite with young drivers who like their cars, but don't have much to spend.

Not only does it look sharp, it's also quite a lot of fun to drive, even if the steering is a bit dull at higher speeds. The ride isn't bad, either - only larger lumps and bumps will cause the C2 problems.

Most of the C2's limitations lie on the inside. Although there's plenty of room up front, space in the rear is very tight indeed, and the boot is tiny, too. What's more, the quality of the materials used in the cabin falls a long way short of the best in the class.

Still, the C2 has everything that young drivers want, and provides it at a low cost. Most are reasonably well equipped, too.

Trade view

John Owen

Great little first/town/fun car. VTR prices will soon be at car park racing levels!

John Owen
Buyer,
Fords of Winsford

The entry-level 61bhp 1.1-litre unit is best. It isn't that quick, but it will be good enough for most drivers and running costs are minimal.

The 1.4-litre petrol gives more flexibility, and even delivers the same fuel economy as the 1.1, but costs more to buy and insure, a huge consideration for young drivers.

Avoid the 1.4's Sensodrive semi-automatic gearbox option - changes are too jerky and performance is impaired. There's also a 'Stop & Start' version, which cuts the engine when the car is stationary to reduce emissions and improve fuel economy, but it's rare on the used market.

The range-topping cars have a 1.6-litre engine. In the VTR, it provides 110bhp, and in the VTS, it gives 123bhp. Both are great fun.

Diesel fans can choose the 70bhp 1.4 turbodiesel, which gives almost 70mpg.

Trims range from L to SX. L is too basic, so choose Design - it gives you a CD player, electric front windows and remote central locking, but doesn't cost the earth.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Very popular indeed, diesel strong, 1.4 Furio also easy to sell

James Ruppert
Used car guru

No C2 will cost a bomb. Like most Citroens, residual values from new are poor, so used versions are very affordable. You can pick up fairly young examples for bargain prices.

Crucially for the young buyers that seem to love the C2, running costs are very reasonable. Our favourite 1.1 version will return 47.9mpg, and even the sportiest VTR and VTS versions will still return a very respectable 40mpg. The diesel is the clear winner here, though, returning an impressive 68.9mpg.

Insurance costs are a big plus point for our favourite 1.1, being classified in the cheapest group 1. The 1.4 sits in group 3 along with the diesel, while the VTR and VTS are less respectable, sitting in groups 6 and 8 respectively.

Servicing costs are cheap. You'll even pay less to service your C2 than you would to maintain its little brother, the C1.

Trade view

John Owen

Great little first/town/fun car. VTR prices will soon be at car park racing levels!

John Owen
Buyer,
Fords of Winsford

Citroen doesn't have a sparkling record when it comes to reliability. The French manufacturer always finishes near the bottom of the table in our Reliability Surveys, and our most recent study was no exception.

Similarly, Citroen's performance in the JD Power Customer Satisfaction Survey is never any more impressive, and mechanical reliability is one of the C2's biggest sources of complaint.

Parts are usually quite cheap, though, and Citroen dealers charge very reasonable hourly labour rates - so when your car goes wrong, it's usually quite cheap to fix.

The Sensodrive semi-automatic gearbox isn't great to use, and there have been some reports of problems with that cause a hesitation between gears and a thud when switching ratios. That's another good reason to leave it alone.

The rear brakes can be another source of problems. It has been known for them to bind on, which is a real pain.

Trade view

James Ruppert

Very popular indeed, diesel strong, 1.4 Furio also easy to sell

James Ruppert
Used car guru
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