Citroen C1 2021 review

The C1 is a small city car that’s been on sale since 2005

£6,944
Average price
Loading...
1
Out of 5

Pros

  • Affordable to buy
  • Low running costs
  • Funky looks

Cons

  • Small, even by class standards
  • Cheap interior
  • Starting to show its age
  • MPG

    68 - 68

  • CO2

    85 - 85 g/km

  • Video

  • Price Guide

  • Trims

  • Summary

Model review

Citroen has always excelled at low-cost motoring to appeal to the masses – its original 2CV being one one of the best examples of this, and more recently there has been the AX and Saxo.

The latest extension of this has been the C1, an affordable, low-cost model that Citroen launched in 2005. It’s also a sibling model to the Peugeot 107/108 and Toyota Aygo, with the trio all rolling off the same production line in the Czech Republic – though each benefits from tweaked styling. 

Available with a choice of three or five doors, it quickly became a hit with those wanting a cheap way of getting behind the wheel of a new car, especially for new drivers. It received constant tweaks to trim levels, with a facelift version hitting showrooms in 2009 with a new bumper and chrome detailing, as well as more efficient engines. A 2012 update then brought features like Bluetooth and LED daytime running lights.

Latest model

Citroen revealed the second generation C1 at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show, with the model gaining a more modern design, class-leading efficiency and new technology, including a seven-inch touchscreen, impressive for a car of this type at the time. 

Another cool addition was the fact you could have it with an electric canvas roof to give it a convertible feel, but still at an affordable price. If you fancy one of these versions, they’re known as the Airscape. 

Though Citroen has introduced various new trims and special edition grades since its launch – including the Furio and Urban Ride, there hasn’t really hasn’t been any major updates to it. While Toyota has committed to a replacement for its Aygo, it looks like Citroen will discontinue the C1 in its current form. 

Value for money

Low pricing has always been key to the appeal of the Citroen C1, and though it’s unsurprisingly now more expensive than it has been in the past – prices start at £12,945 – it’s still an affordable choice, while even the top-spec Airscape Shine doesn’t exceed £14,500. You do get a decent amount for your money too, including a seven-inch touchscreen with smartphone mirroring, air conditioning and a leather steering wheel. It’s priced similarly to rivals like the Volkswagen Up! and Hyundai i10, too, though the Kia Picanto is a more affordable option.

When it comes to used C1s, if you primarily want a cheap runabout, used examples start as little as £1,000 for usable examples that would make a great first car. Second-generation 2014 models are also available from around £3,000, though they will be high-mileage cars. You’ll have to spend around £4,000 for an example with around 50,000 miles on the clock. There are very welcome savings to be had on nearly-new models, too, with six-month-old examples available from £9,500, which seem like fantastic buys. 

Looks and image

Citroen is a brand that prides itself on its models’ fun styling, and the C1 is no exception. With its big round headlights and eye-catching LEDs, this is a city car that certainly is able to stand out on a crowded city street. There’s also a broad range of personalisation available – whether you’re choosing a brand-new C1 or browsing those on the market – while another cool addition is the ‘Airscape’ model, which brings an electric fabric top to give this city car even greater appeal. 

Sadly, the interior of the C1 can’t match the charm, as there’s no escaping the fact that this Citroen is really starting to show its age. While all newer versions come with a seven-inch touchscreen as standard, it’s not the best of systems, and not as slick as those you find on the Hyundai i10 or Kia Picanto. While it gets a brightly-coloured dashboard and funky seating upholstery to improve things, the quality is still poor, even by city car standards. 

The C1 also lags behind others in its class behind the wheel. The ride isn’t especially comfortable thanks to an overly sensitive suspension setup, while its three-cylinder engine – which is similar to that of the first-generation C1 – lacks performance and really needs working hard to get the car up to speed. On the plus side, the steering is nice and light around town, while dinky dimensions and good visibility make parking a breeze. 

Video review

Space and practicality

While you’d never buy a city car if you wanted something spacious, the Citroen C1 is still small by class standards. While there’s a decent amount of room up front for a driver and passenger, rear occupants will be cramped, and you’ll likely have to slide the front seats further forward than normal if you’d like to make the most of the rear space on offer. If you do intend to carry rear passengers often, it’s worth staying clear of the three-door car in favour of its roomier five-door sibling. 

While Citroen has improved boot space on the latest C1 to 196 litres (you’d have struggled to fit even a couple of small shopping bags on its predecessor), it’s still quite compact next to rivals, though the rear seats do fold if you require additional room. 

Engines

Though the previous generation C1 was available with a 1.4-litre diesel engine, the vast majority use a little three-cylinder 1.0-litre petrol engine. It’s largely the same unit that’s been available since the C1 originally debuted in 2005, though has received light tweaks over the years. 

Today it produces 71bhp and 93Nm of torque, which allows for a 0-60mph time of 13.8 seconds and a top speed of 99mph. Though only available today with a five-speed manual gearbox, Citroen did offer an automatic model in the past, though these are quite rare to find on the used market. 

Running costs

Key to the C1’s appeal are its low running costs, with this model being especially cheap to run. In terms of fuel efficiency, Citroen claims it will return up to 58.9mpg, along with CO2 emissions of just 109g/km, which are among some of the lowest of any non-electrified car on sale today. 

An insurance group of 10-11 also makes it an appealing choice to new drivers looking for reduced insurance premiums, while servicing should be affordable compared to many larger and pricier cars. 

Things to look out for

The Citroen C1 should prove to be quite a reliable choice, and helped by its simplistic nature, there isn’t actually that much to go wrong. As it’s a city car, though, you should look out for any signs of parking damage, as this is quite common, while it’s worth making sure that the electric roof works as it’s meant to. 

Rivals

Though some manufacturers are now pulling out of the city car segment, there are still plenty of options to look out for. Its mechanically similar twins – the Peugeot 108 and Toyota Aygo – are its two closest rivals, while you should also look at the Hyundai i10 and Kia Picanto too. If you want something packed with style, the Fiat 500 is worth a look, while overall it’s hard to beat the Seat Mii, Skoda Citigo and Volkswagen Up! triplets.

Depreciation

Though the Citroen C1 is a relatively affordable car in the first place, it’s still hit quite hard in terms of depreciation. It won’t be difficult to find a nearly-new model with several thousand pounds off the original list price, while models have roughly halved in value after three to four  years. 

Which C1 to pick

Cheapest to buy when new

1.0 VTi 72 Urban Ride 5dr

Most MPG

1.0 VTi 72 Urban Ride 5dr

Fastest model (0-60)

1.0 VTi 72 Urban Ride 5dr

Trims explained

Citroen has slimmed down the C1 line-up in recent years, with just two trim levels to choose from – Urban Ride and Shine. Equipment highlights and prices are as follows.

Urban Ride

Standard equipment on the C1 isn’t too bad considering its price, with features on the Urban Ride including 15-inch steel wheels with plastic covers, LED daytime running lights and electric and heated door mirrors. You also get a leather multifunction steering wheel, air conditioning, front electric windows, a trip computer and a seven-inch touchscreen with DAB radio, Bluetooth and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring.

From £12,945

Shine

Upgrade to the Shine to get satin chrome interior door handles, a reversing camera, rev counter and 15-inch alloy wheels. You also get a speed limiter and an extended range of personalisation options.

From £13,435

Flair

Flair models adds standard features such as 15-inch alloy wheels, tinted rear wheels, electrically adjustable wing mirrors, a leather steering wheel and gear knob as well as a reversing camera.

This model starts from £11,515.

Furio

The Furio special edition is based on the Feel specification, and adds 15-inch black alloys, a Furio side graphic, contrast door mirrors and a rear diffuser with a central exhaust outlet for a sportier look.

Furio models cost from £11,075.

Summary

  1. Compact city car produced since 2005
  2. Twinned with the Peugeot 108 and Toyota Aygo
  3. Fun styling
  4. Plenty of personalisation options
  5. Decent standard equipment levels for the price
  6. Low running costs
  7. Starting to show its age inside
  8. Not as nice to drive as rivals
  9. Small interior, even by class standards
  10. An appealing and affordable runabout

Related news

View Citroen news archive
View all Motors.co.uk reviews