First Drive: Citroën C1
Sector: City car Price: £7,995–£11,935 Fuel: 65.7–74.3mpg CO2: 88–99g/km
Citroën has sold over 780,000 C1s since the original launched in 2005, and it’s become such a familiar sight that it’s easy to forget how clever and trend-setting the design was, and still is today.
With low running costs and high residual values, the C1 also enjoys a large fleet presence. Sales are weighted towards retail buyers, but 38% of 2014’s UK cars will go to businesses and none of that is rental volume. Citroën expects the SME and public sector, plus downsizing company car drivers, to continue making up the fleet side of its sales.
So there’s familiarity behind this car’s fresh styling. The weight-saving glass tailgate, fixed headrests and exposed metalwork in the cabin have remained, and there’s still space for four adults, this time with a useable boot. Minimal use of plastic trim means the C1 and 108 offer more load space than the Aygo, too.
While it’s still low on frivolity, bright fabrics, colour accents on the dashboard and a smartphone-controlling MirrorLink touch screen help bring the cabin up to date, and the optional retractable fabric roof is a fun, if noisy, addition unique to PSA’s city cars.
All three feature a new version of the 68bhp petrol used by their predecessors, now offering up to 74.3mpg, but PSA has kept the new 82bhp for its own cars. It’s a potent engine which feels well matched to the quick, light steering and firmly sprung inner-city agility, but it lacks refinement and vibrates through the cabin at idle.
Citroën hasn’t rocked the boat too much with the C1, but it didn’t have to. The old car could still stand its ground in this sector, despite starting to show its age, and a choice of three stylish newcomers means drivers have a few more options on their choice lists.
Evolution rather than revolution, but C1 is back in line with the rest of the class. The lower-powered engine makes more sense, though, despite the new addition.