Driving

Citroën C1 review

What Car? Target Price:£9,450
Search new deals
Citroën C1
Review continues below...
8 Nov 2016 14:43 | Last updated: 18 Sep 2018 14:00

In this review

Driving

What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is

Citroën C1 hatchback performance

Only one engine is offered: a 1.0-litre three-cyclinder petrol. And with just 71bhp available, performance is what we’d call a little underwhelming.

Maximum grunt is delivered at 4800rpm, so you need to rev the engine hard and work the five-speed manual gearbox to make any meaningful progress. Once up and running, acceleration is by no means immediate; getting up to speed on a motorway slip road takes some time. And even around town, you need to keep the revs high to get away from traffic lights and junctions quickly. Put simply, it's nowhere near as gutsy as a Volkswagen Up 1.0 TSI 90 or Kia Picanto 1.25 – both of which are better choices if you regularly venture out of town.

As with the majority of automatic city cars, we’d avoid the ETG auto version. It’s a robotised manual that is slow and clunky. Moreover, it often gets caught out when you’re pulling away from the lights or when you require a burst of speed. At least it has only a small impact on official fuel economy figures.

Citroën C1 hatchback ride

The C1’s ride is poor over urban roads, with their scarred surfaces and potholes. The car doesn’t exactly crash into potholes, but passengers are constantly jiggled by the oversensitive suspension. The class leaders do a much better job.

It’s not as if things are any better on the motorway. At speed, the C1 reacts badly to expansion joints and potholes, and is too easily unsettled. However, it rides over undulations well enough. Entry-level cars have 14in steel wheels, Feel has 15in ones, while the others have 15in alloy wheels. None of them makes a difference to ride comfort.

Citroën C1

Citroën C1 hatchback handling

The steering lacks feel but is reassuringly consistent in its weighting. Better still, it’s light enough to make quick U-turns and parking in impossibly tight spaces a piece of cake.

However, faster bends will expose the C1’s soft suspension that gives way to a noticeable amount of body lean. Still, at lower, urban speeds, it’s a usefully agile car that can nip in and out of traffic with little bother.

Citroën C1 hatchback refinement

You can hear the engine all too clearly in the interior, while at high revs it sends unwelcome vibrations through the steering wheel and pedals. The transmission whines, too, when you back off the accelerator. Add the thrum of the three-cylinder engine and it’s all rather irritating.

Things aren’t any better on the motorway. There’s wind noise at the front windows and road noise creeps into the interior.

The fabric roof on the Airscape version looks great, but fold it back and there’s a lot of buffeting and wind roar – certainly enough to drown out conversation.

 

open the gallery19 Images
There are 8 trims available for the C1 hatchback. Click to see details.See all versions
OUR PICK
Feel
Citroën says the most popular specification is mid-range Feel – and it’s our favourite, too. It comes with a plastic steering wheel and gearknob, and no rev counter (it’s a cost option), but it doe...View trim
Fuel Petrol
What Car? Target Price from
£10,050
Average Saving £1,250
View Trim
Flair
Splash out a little more for Flair and you get quite a few extras, including alloy wheels, a colour reversing camera, a speed limiter, foglights, chrome details and electric and heated door mirrors...View trim
Fuel Petrol
What Car? Target Price from
£10,745
Average Saving £1,345
View Trim
Urban Ride
Range-topping Urban Ride gets all of the kit that comes on Flair, plus matt black wheel arch extensions, black 15in wheels, black door mirrors, tinted rear windows, a special rear-quarter graphic a...View trim
Fuel Petrol
What Car? Target Price from
£11,097
Average Saving £1,393
View Trim
Feel
Citroën says the most popular specification is mid-range Feel – and it’s our favourite, too. It comes with a plastic steering wheel and gearknob, and no rev counter (it’s a cost option), but it doe...View trim
Fuel Petrol
What Car? Target Price from
£11,220
Average Saving £1,410
View Trim
ELLE
We are yet to try out this variant; please check back later...View trim
Fuel Petrol
What Car? Target Price from
£11,519
Average Saving £1,451
View Trim
Urban Ride
We have not written anything about this yet...View trim
Fuel Petrol
What Car? Target Price from
£11,915
Average Saving £1,505
View Trim
Flair
Splash out a little more for Flair and you get quite a few extras, including alloy wheels, a colour reversing camera, a speed limiter, foglights, chrome details and electric and heated door mirrors...View trim
Fuel Petrol
What Car? Target Price from
£11,915
Average Saving £1,505
View Trim
Touch
Entry-level Touch is cheap, but it doesn't get much. Front electric windows, LED daytime running lights, a trip computer and a USB socket do feature, but we’d recommend spending more on Feel if pos...View trim
Fuel Petrol
What Car? Target Price from
£9,450
View Trim