- We like...Low emissions
- We don't...Jolts over bumps
Lively city car looks cute and begs to be driven. It's amazingly economical, tooIf you haven’t driven a little, low-priced car for ages, prepare to be amazed. Citrn’s baby car may be small and basic. But it’s also so characterful – and practical – that we dare you to dislike it.
Upfront the cabin seems big and airy, helped by its huge ’screen. The seats are comfy and the dash is solid and good-looking, particularly at night when the backlit heater controls glow softly like a period radio. And the plastic covering the broad dash looks as classy as you’d find in cars twice as expensive. There are places on the doors where painted metal shows but the effect is cheerful rather than cheap.
It’s strictly a four-seater so there are just two belts in the back. But there’s room enough for adults unless the driver is long-legged and needs his chair pushed right back. If you’re carrying four often, though, the five-door version’s wide-opening rear is easily worth the extra £300-£400 it costs over a three-door. Carving such a big cabin into a weeny car means something has to give, though. And, predictably, the Citrn C1’s boot is mini. You reach it via a lightweight glass hatch that stops above the bumper, leaving a huge lip over which you must heave heavy things. It’ll stow groceries for two but there’s little more space unless you drop the backs of the rear seats. Entry models have a one-piece back, but on top versions it splits 50:50.
The 1.0 motor turns in an amazing 61mpg overall, emitting just 109g/km CO2. So it’s among the cleanest ‘ordinary’ cars. It’s no road-burner but then it isn’t meant to be. Instead, it’s a willing friend, revving easily and giving a sporty-sounding thrum from its three cylinders when you push it. Forget the diesel: it costs too much more for the extra mpg it gives.
The steering is light and quick, so you can nip it through jams. But it also works the trick of sitting the car steady on the motorway, where it’ll run obediently all day.
So far, so excellent. But if you’re hoping for a super-smooth ride from, be ready for disappointment. Unusually for a Citrn, it hops and bangs over road ripples, although it copes better if you fill it with people and/or drive at speed because the faster it gs, the more it settles.
The entry model, the Vibe in five-door guise, is the one we’d pick at £7355, though watch for deals that’ll make it yours for far less.
Be aware, too, that apart from badges and a few trim bits, the C1 is also the Peugeot 107 and indeed, Toyota’s Aygo. All three are made in the same factory but Citrn’s sell-cheap, sell-plenty take on the market makes it the bargain of the three.
Whether conscience or circumstance points you towards a small car, this is among the very best.
- Engines1.0, 1.4 HDi
- 0-60 mph13.7sec, 15.6sec
- Economy61.4mpg, 6
- Insurance groups1,2
Motors.co.uk value verdict: