The C1 has very adequate performance for a small car that will probably spend most of its life being driven in urban areas...
A trio of closely-related, fetchingly styled small hatchbacks arrived on the roads in mid-2014: this Citroen C1, the Peugeot 108 and Toyota’s Aygo. All three are fundamentally the same car, built in the same factory in the Czech Republic. They result from a joint venture cooperation between the three companies that started in 2005.
The C1 and its two close cousins all share the same basic mechanical structure and engines. They differ in front end styling, other cosmetic body details, interior décor and of course badges. Choosing between them is largely a matter of aesthetics and which brand you prefer.
This latest C1 replaces the first generation model launched in 2005, and facelifted twice, in 2009 and 2012. That car’s reputation was enhanced by an endorsement for good reliability, when the baby Citroen and its clones came out best of the smallest car class in breakdown statistics reported by the German Automobile Club. It became especially popular as a learner car, first car, with young drivers and older ‘empty nesters.
The second generation C1 is available with either three or five doors, and with one of two sizes of petrol engine, both of them three-cylinder units. There is a one-litre, 69 bhp unit or a 1.2 litre motor with 82 bhp. Transmission choices are a five-speed manual or an electronic semi-automatic with paddle shifts.
Trim levels are Touch, Feel, Airscape Feel, Flair and Airscape Flair. The Airscape models come equipped with a slide-back roof that lets you open the top of the car like a semi-convertible. Prices for the C1 range start from £8,245 for a three-door model with a one-litre engine and manual transmission, and rise to £11,880 for a five-door with 1.2 litre engine, ETG auto and opening roof.
The C1 has very adequate performance for a small car that will probably spend most of its life being driven in urban areas. It has a sprightly feel, with the test car’s 1.2 litre engine showing itself easily capable of hauling around a little hatchback that is relatively light in weight.
With a top speed into three figures and a 0 to 62 mph acceleration time in fractionally under 11 seconds, it is perfectly capable of keeping up with the traffic, and even feels quite decent to drive on a steady motorway cruise.
For most drivers the manual gearbox is definitely the one to go for. The gears are nicely spaced and the change action is slick and efficient. If you prefer a two-pedal car, the auto will do the job, but it is an acquired taste. It is in effect an automated manual, that lets you change gear without dipping a clutch, but it isn’t as smooth as a fully auto box or as intuitive as the best modern twin-clutch automatics.