Citroen C1 Review

Find out more about the Citroen C1 in the latest Motors.co.uk Review

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3
Out of 5

Pros

  • Incredibly easy to park
  • Economical range of engines
  • Stylish exterior

Cons

  • Bargain basement cabin fixtures
  • Limited rear seat space
  • Pint-sized boot
  • MPG

    68 - 68

  • CO2

    85 - 85 g/km

Review

Citroen first released its C1 city car in 2005 as part of the PSA Group’s joint venture with Toyota, which also saw the release of the closely related Peugeot 107 and Toyota Aygo. Production of the first-generation C1 ended in 2014, when the second-generation model was unveiled.

The original C1, Peugeot 107 and Toyota Aygo represented a massive sales success for the PSA-Toyota alliance, with more than 750,000 examples of the three models being sold. Citroen hopes the C1 Mk2 will carry on this success.

While the latest C1 may have received a total makeover from an aesthetic point of view, much has been carried over from the previous model, including its 1.0-litre petrol engine. The older C1 may have been a successful model for the French manufacturer, but the city car market has become far more competitive over the past decade, and the C1 now finds itself up against the likes of the Volkswagen Up, Skoda Citigo and Hyundai i10.

Latest model

The current edition of the Citroen C1 first entered production in 2014, following its debut at that year’s Geneva Motor Show. Citroen offers the C1 in three- and five-door configurations and the small city car is also available with a retractable cloth roof for open-air driving.

While the older model’s 1.0-litre petrol engine was carried over for the new model, Citroen have also made the latest C1 available with a new 1.2-litre, three-cylinder petrol engine, which gives the car a bit more punch and improves its motorway cruising ability.

As far as trim levels go, the C1 is available in three different specifications: Touch, Feel and Flair. Prices for the entry-level Touch models start at a reasonable £8,265, and move up to £11,515 for the top-of-the-line Flair models.

Value for money

One of the Citroen C1’s key selling points has always been its low price. Compared to its sister cars – the Peugeot 108 and Toyota Aygo – the Citroen is the cheapest, and it also undercuts other rivals such as the Skoda Citigo.

Unfortunately, while this low entry price may get you a car with a funky and eye-catching exterior, the interior is something of a let-down. There is a multitude of cheap plastics throughout the cabin, although some colourful panels do help to mask this bargain-basement approach somewhat.

One of the biggest perks of moving up the model range in terms of trim is the fact that Feel-specification cars and above gain a standard fit seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system as standard. This incorporates useful features such as DAB radio, Bluetooth connectivity and steering wheel-mounted audio controls. Air conditioning is included as standard of Feel models as well.

As far as used examples of the C1 go, they can be purchased for very little money, although don’t expect them to be generously equipped – they are pitched as cheap and cheerful city cars after all.

 

Looks and image

Next to the Peugeot 108 and Toyota Aygo, the Citroen C1 is arguably the most interesting-looking of the three. It split-level headlights are a far more eye-catching than the rather sober front ends of its sister cars, and the contrast black boot lid is a nice touch, too.

As is usually the case with small city cars, Citroen offers buyers plenty of scope to customise their C1. Options include contrasting colours on the wing mirrors, on the interior plastics, contrast roof colours and even roof graphics.

While they might be a bit older, later examples of the first-generation C1 still look fairly up-to-date with current design trends. So long as you avoid the very old and tired examples, a used C1 can still look like quite a smart car.

Space and practicality

As you should expect from such a small, compact car, the C1 does not come with a large amount of interior space. Front seat passengers won’t complain too much, but those in the rear seats will find themselves feeling cramped. If you decide to go for the convertible Airscape model, be prepared for head room to be reduced in the back when the roof is folded back.

If you want to be able to access the rear seats easily, you’d want to opt for the five-door C1 as opposed to the three-door model.  While the front seats do fold down in the three-door, climbing over the front seats does require a bit of co-ordination.

As far as boot space goes, the good news is the that the latest C1 has more storage capacity than the older model, with 196 litres on offer with the rear seats in place. That said, rivals such as the Volkswagen Up and Hyundai i10 have larger boots, measuring 251 litres and 252 litres respectively.

Engines

Unlike the majority of cars on sale today, Citroen only offers the C1 with a choice of two different petrol engines.

The first a refreshed version of the 1.0-litre three-cylinder unit that appeared in the old C1. In the second-generation model, it produces 69bhp and is available with an optional stop/start system.

Citroen has also introduced a new 1.2-litre PureTech three-cylinder engine. This produces slightly more power, with 82bhp on tap, and enables the C1 to complete the sprint from 0-60mph in 11 seconds flat, as opposed to 14.3 seconds with the smaller engine.

Buyers have the option of pairing both engines with either a five-speed manual gearbox, or a five-speed ETG automated manual transmission.

Running costs

This is where the C1 really comes into form. Thanks to its pint-sized engine and low-weight, the French city car boasts some attractive fuel economy figures.

Citroen claims the smaller, 1.0-litre unit can achieve 68.9mpg on the combined cycle, while the larger and more powerful 1.2-litre engine achieves 65.7mpg.

Another ace up the C1’s sleeve is the fact that the entire range is exempt from paying road tax, as all configurations emit less than 100 grams of CO2 per kilometre. Unfortunately, this is going to change from April 1 2017, when the new VED tax bands are introduced. From this date, those who buy a C1 will be liable to pay £120 in VED for the first year of ownership, and £140 each subsequent year.

Used Citroen C1s won’t be affected by the April changes to VED tax, and will still fall into the VED tax band that applied when they were first registered. As a result, buying a near-new model might be a far more financially sensible option for those looking to avoid the significant hike in VED charges.

Things to look out for

Over the years, the Citroen C1 has been subjected to a total of 10 recalls – the vast majority of which affect the first-generation model.

Some of the issues that caused the recalls to be issued include a defective fuel tank that might leak, wheel studs becoming loose and a risk of suspension failure. Bearing this in mind, it would pay to ensure that any C1 purchased on the used market has had any recalls that might affect it addressed, and that it is in good working order.

C1s that are purchased new will be covered by Citroen’s three-year/60,000 mile warranty – although it pays to point out that its sister car, the Toyota Aygo is covered by a five-year/100,000 mile warranty.

Rivals

 

Since the C1 was first launched in 2005, the city car market has become increasingly competitive.

Not only does the C1 find itself competing against its sister cars – the Peugeot 108 and Toyota Aygo – it also has to contend with the likes of the Volkswagen Up, Skoda Citigo, Hyundai i10 and Kia Picanto.

While the Citroen may undercut its VW Group rivals in terms of price, the likes of the Skoda Citigo and Volkswagen Up are undoubtedly the strongest contenders in this segment of the market. That said, though, the Up and the Citigo aren’t offered with the choice of a retractable canvas roof, while the C1 is. No doubt a number of buyers will find this to be a bit of a deal clincher.

Depreciation warning

As far as depreciation goes, the older C1, Peugeot 107 and Toyota Aygo didn’t fare too badly. Of the three, the C1 saw the largest decline in value, although it wasn’t a great deal more than either of the other two.

Today, the increased competition does expose cars such as the C1 to greater levels of depreciation, although this can be offset by organising a discount at the point of purchase, which Citroen dealers usually have a bit a negotiation room for.

Which C1 to Pick

Cheapest to Buy When New

1.0 VTi 72 Touch 3dr

Most MPG

1.0 VTi 72 Touch 3dr

Fastest Model (0-60)

1.0 VTi 72 Touch 3dr

Trims Explained

Citroen offers the C1 in three core trim levels, as well as two ‘special edition’ versions.

Touch

The entry-level trim is Touch, which starts at £8,715.

As far as standard kit is concerned, it’s fairly spartan although it does come with some niceties such as an MP3 audio system with USB socket, and LED daytime running lights.

Feel

Next in the range is Feel, which adds standard features such as air conditioning, and a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system that incorporates a DAB radio, MP3 audio system and Bluetooth connectivity.

Prices for Feel models start at £10,375.

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. Available as either a three- or five-door
  2. Convertible Airscape model is an option
  3. Powered by either a 1.0-litre or 1.2-litre engine
  4. Will be considerably more expensive to tax from April 1 2017
  5. Mechanically identical to the Toyota Aygo and Peugeot 108
  6. Plenty of personalisation options available
  7. Retractable roof can eat into rear headspace
  8. All engines are economical and emit less than 100g/km of CO2
  9. Cheap materials used in cabin
  10. Boot space is on the small side

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