What's the used Citroën C1 hatchback like?
There’s a Touch of style to the outside of the Citroen C1, which should appeal to those who Feel that small cars are bland and without Flair. And whichever of those rather odd model names is on the back of the C1, you’ll find that it isn’t a bad city car.
Built as part of a joint venture that resulted in it sharing common parts with the Peugeot 108 and Toyota Aygo, the C1 is designed to be a cheap-to-run city car to rival models such as the Seat Mii and Hyundai i10. This is the second-generation car, the original having been launched in 2006 and likewise being a result of that same union that produced it and the very similar Peugeot 107 and first-gen Toyota Aygo.
Currently, there is only the one engine – a frugal 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol – and it comes with the choice of a five-speed manual gearbox or a five-speed ETG automated manual. Initially, there was also the option of a 1.2-litre 81bhp engine. You could also choose either three-door or five-door versions when buying it new.
The entry-level Touch model gets electric front windows, LED daytime running lights, a trip computer and USB socket for media. The next model up, the Feel, comes with the neat 7.0in touchscreen, air conditioning and height adjustment on the driver’s seat.
Meanwhile, the top-of-the-range Flair adds alloy wheels, a reversing camera, a speed limiter, foglights and heated and electrically adjustable door mirrors.
It has a rather good infotainment system on Feel spec and above to appeal to younger buyers, and there’s even a full-length fabric roof on Airscape models for those who worship the sun.
Even in its base 1.0-litre 68bhp form, performance is decent enough when compared with its rivals, although responsiveness at low revs can’t match the i10's equivalent motor, and it certainly isn’t the quietest engine around. If you need a bit of extra power, you could try and seek out an earlier C1 with the larger 1.2-litre 81bhp engine.
Body lean in the C1 is quite pronounced through faster bends, and the nose dives quite a lot under braking. The ride is unsettled over broken road surfaces, both at town speeds and on the motorway. This may lead your passengers to complain of being jostled about by the overly sensitive suspension.
The automatic Efficient Tronic Gearbox (ETG) transmission is best avoided because it's quite tricky learning to adapt to how it works. It isn’t a traditional automatic, but a manual gearbox with a computer that controls the action of changing gears. It's slow to respond when you want a burst of acceleration and the gearchanges are rather jerky. Stick with the manual 'box if you can.
There’s plenty of space up front in the C1 and there are door pockets and spaces to store phones when on the move. The glovebox isn’t bad either. But things aren’t quite so good for those in the back, with awkward access and rather limited leg room.
In addition, the C1’s boot small and is dwarfed by some of the its rivals. Small cars do struggle in this area, but the Mii and i10 are rather better packaged, being better able to handle four people and some luggage.