Back to basics: the Citroen C1 review

The Citroen C1 is a genuine, back to basics city car that offers little in the way of luxury, but much in the way of comfort and maneuverability. Despite the fact that after the subtle 2012 redesign the C1 still feels a little off the pace in terms of performance and equipment compared to latest models in its category, the car does have much to offer super-mini enthusiasts.


The Citroen C1 is part of the popular C1, Peugeot 107 and Toyota Aygo triumvirate class that have build up a reputation for making budget-car shopping at least that much more interesting. The C1 prides itself for being the cheapest of the C1-107-Aygo triplets. It has been treading the path of cheap cars with fuel-efficiency since it was produced by its French manufacturer, Citroën, in 2005.

The car is available as a four-seater, three-door or five-door hatchback. It measures 3.40 metres (133.9 in) in length and features an impressive, large tail light cluster that extends from the edge of the rear doors to the rear window. This means you will not suffer exterior metal “C-pillar” buzzing while driving the little baby over rough road.


The C1 is powered by a 1.0 L three-cylinder petrol engine, which has a notable fuel economy of 61.4 mpg. The super-mini is also available with a 1.4 L four-cylinder HDI diesel engine, which has a fuel economy of 68.9 mpg. Its fuel economy credentials have won it praise from many quarters.

For example, the German magazine DerSpiegel, says the C1 is the production car with the second-best fuel economy both among petrol engines (after the Toyota Prius) and among diesel engines (after the Smart ForTwo).


The Citroen C1 drives quite hard and road and wind noise become intrusive at high speeds. Its driving position is also somewhat cramped and you may find the pedals sit a little too close for your liking. However, the car is nippy enough to squeeze through urban traffic beautifully. Its pliant suspension and usefully light steering make its maneuvarability in urban areas a pleasure. Don’t forget the gearbox, which is a joy to use.

Overall, the C1 is a sound financial bet for anyone looking for a funky, back to basics, economical super-mini. It proves that cheap doesn’t have to be dull. That said, the C1 is beginning to look a little expensive compared to entry-level minis like the Volkswagen Up!

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