Citroen C2

You have to admire Citroen's reputation as the builder of Britain's most popular hot hatches. The French company is one of the cleverest there is when it comes to marketing its performance cars.

The C2 Furio is a great driver's car, and its modest power output is more than compensated for by its handling agility. While the price seems a bit high, you can't ignore near-70mpg economy or group three insurance - and with Citroen offering free cover to buyers aged 21-80, it's definitely worth a look.

You have to admire Citroen's reputation as the builder of Britain's most popular hot hatches. The French company is one of the cleverest there is when it comes to marketing its performance cars.

Take the Furio-badged superminis - the name has been used for the past 10 years to attract hot hatch buyers seeking driving thrills and sporty looks without big engines and insurance bills.

Successfully introduced with the AX and used to great effect on the Saxo, Citroen hopes the badge will add appeal to its 1.4-litre diesel C2 - and the car is set to go on sale this month.

On first inspection, the C2 Furio certainly looks the part. Finished in metallic blue, the model's deep front spoiler and side sills give it more of an aggressive look than the standard car, while the 15-inch rims fill the arches nicely.

Hats off to the wheeltrim designers, too - it was a while before we realised the C2 wasn't wearing alloys, so convincing are the plastic covers. Still, we wouldn't be surprised if many owners replace them with the real thing.

The rear of the car sees the addition of a roof spoiler and chrome tailpipe, and to complete the look, Furio badges adorn the flanks. The sporty feel continues inside, the biggest modification being the more supportive seats, while the clear blue plastic door grabs and gearlever lift an already bright cabin.

Climb behind the wheel and it's easy to find a comfortable driving position - but when you twist the ignition key, the C2's sporty aspirations take a bit of a nosedive as the clatter of a cold diesel engine fills the air.

Head on to the road and it's clear this Citroen is a few bhp short of being a full-blooded hot hatch. The car fails to pack the punch its looks promise. A 0-60mph time of 13.5 seconds is proof of that - but then small diesels aren't expected to be swift off the line.

However, once rolling the C2 Furio cracks along quite well. The smooth but slightly slow-changing SensoDrive gearbox is well suited to the oil-burner, and with 69bhp and 150Nm of torque, progress is relatively rapid - if you have enough clear road ahead of you.

Go through a series of corners and the Citroen remains incredibly stable, refusing to roll or wallow as the speed increases. And thanks to the company's considerable expertise in tuning small cars' chassis, the ride never suffers, either - the C2 remains supple and comfortable even over the worst surfaces Britain's roads have to offer.

The steering allows for swift changes of direction and is precise and well weighted, if a little inert. This is helped by the thick-rimmed steering wheel, which feels good in your hands. The brakes are effective, too, thanks to the Furio's low kerbweight. Backed up by ABS on the car we drove, the anchors are reassuringly competent.

Ultimately, there's no getting away from the fact that this Citroen isn't the quickest hot hatch currently available. However, thanks to its chassis and styling, it's certainly one of the most entertaining. So it looks as though the Furio's enviable reputation is preserved.

Most Popular

The end of 70mph motorways? Study shows huge reduction in pollution at 50mph
Speed limit to be cut to 60mph on M1
News

The end of 70mph motorways? Study shows huge reduction in pollution at 50mph

Trial on Welsh roads shows 47 per cent drop in pollution when 50mph limits were introduced; Highways England already has plans to reduce limits to tac…
10 Oct 2020
New Fiat Panda facelift gains Sport model as part of nip-tuck
Fiat Panda

New Fiat Panda facelift gains Sport model as part of nip-tuck

The Fiat Panda has been overhauled for 2020, with a new infotainment display part of the package alongside a new look trim structure
23 Oct 2020
New Range Rover Evoque PHEV 2020 review
Land Rover Range Rover Evoque

New Range Rover Evoque PHEV 2020 review

Brand-new 1.5-litre three-cylinder Ingenium petrol engine makes its debut in the new Range Rover Evoque plug-in hybrid
20 Oct 2020