The new Citroën C1 is up against some seriously strong rivals in the competitive city car class, such as the Volkswagen Up and the Hyundai i10.
As if those two weren't enough to worry about, the C1 also has to take on its stablemates, the Toyota Aygo and Peugeot 108. With all three cars sharing the same basic engineering DNA, it’s only the cars’ styling and pricing, and the small differences in their specifications and trim, that will matter to customers.
Two, three-cylinder petrol engines are on offer: a 1.0-litre 68bhp petrol, available with either a five-speed manual gearbox or a five-speed ‘ETG’ automated manual, and a slightly more powerful 1.2-litre petrol that produces 82bhp. Both attract zero road tax.
To reduce its emissions further still, the entry-level motor, called the VTi 68, also has the option of engine stop-start. However, if you want this low-emission model, it’s only available in top-spec Flair trim.
The C1 comes in a choice of three or five doors, and there is also an open-top Airscape version which has a retractable fabric roof. The C1 is well equipped and competitively priced, while generous finance deals make it even more affordable. Its funky looks, bright colours and fabric roof option also add a level of fashion consciousness that’s sure to make it a hit with younger buyers.
However, there’s no getting away from the fact that there are other city cars that do a better job. The C1 is let down by an unsettled ride, thrummy engines and a cramped rear cabin – niggling problems its rivals don’t suffer from.