Citroen C1 review - Engines, performance and drive
Sprightly new 1.2-litre means the 1.0-litre is only for buyers on a strict budget, or those focused purely on economy.
As the Citroen C1 uses the same underpinnings as its predecessor (except for a redesigned rear axle, saving 4kg, plus new shock absorbers and revised anti-roll bars), it’s not surprising to find that it feels rather similar from behind the wheel.
This means a supple ride that irons out small imperfections in the surface well, but can become a little bouncy over a series of consecutive bumps, as well as light steering that offers barely any feedback yet is a doddle to use around town. It's still fun to chuck around if you feel like doing that, and the manual gearchange is decent, but it can't match rivals like the Skoda Citigo for handling.
The soft suspension and numb steering mean body control is fairly loose in corners, although parking is especially easy given the car’s dinky overall length.
Buyers are limited to an updated version of the old car’s 1.0-litre VTi triple, here making 71bhp and fitted as standard with a stop-start function, badged S&S. As there’s just 840kg to haul around, the C1 is a lively performer, even from low revs where it’s happy to pull away from a crawl in third gear.
The 1.0-litre lacks oomph at motorway speeds and is generally sluggish. At idle, the three-cylinder 1.0-litre thrums loudly but soon settles down once you get going.
The figures hammer home the point, as the 1.0-litre model takes a leisurely 14.0 seconds to sprint from 0-62mph. If you're mainly going to be driving the car around town and over shorter distances, the 1.0-litre engine is still a good choice, revving sweetly and achieving over 52mpg.
If you’re planning on driving extended distances in either, be prepared to steel yourself against the noise – or take earplugs. That charismatic three-cylinder thrum is fun to start with, but turns into a tiring drone at higher cruising speeds.
In this review
- 1Citroen C1 reviewIt’s got plenty of style and it’s decent to drive, but the Citroen C1 loses out to more practical city car rivals
- 2Engines, performance and drive - currently readingSprightly new 1.2-litre means the 1.0-litre is only for buyers on a strict budget, or those focused purely on economy.
- 3MPG, CO2 and Running CostsThe C1 isn’t the cheapest city car to run, although there are only pennies in it in this market.
- 4Interior, design and technologyChic styling inside and out hides a solid city car package; just don’t expect any surprises.
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceOther city cars serve up greater practicality, but few are quite as compact as the latest Citroen C1.
- 6Reliability and SafetyReliable Toyota engineering underpins the Citroen C1, and the car has performed well in comprehensive Euro NCAP crash tests.