It’s got plenty of style and it’s decent to drive, but the Citroen C1 loses out to more practical city car rivals

The Citroen C1 makes a good first impression with its distinctive styling – a result of quirky split-level headlights and an extensive range of contrasting colour and trim options. The colour continues inside, which gives the car cheerful feel, this latest C1 is more lavishly equipped than the original.

Despite the fresh styling, the Mk2 C1 carries over a great deal from the previous model. The 1.2-litre three-cylinder PureTech engine is all-new, though, and finally gives the French city car a bit more motorway cruising ability, despite remaining impressively efficient, with CO2 emissions of less than 100g/km. Refinement is better than before, although the engines still aren't the quietest in the class, and the ride can get quite unsettled. The rear seats and boot are quite cramped compared to rivals, too.

So while the Citroen C1 is chic, fun and affordable, other city cars can do what it does better.

Our Choice 
Citroen C1 1.2 PureTech Feel 5-door

The Citroen C1 dates back to 2005 when the city car was launched alongside its sister models, the Peugeot 108 and Toyota Aygo. They were the result of the Toyota Peugeot Citroen Automobile (TPCA) joint venture, with the cars built in the Czech Republic.

Billed as a second generation model, but based on the old platform, the current C1 arrived in 2014, and like its predecessor, it shares much with its Peugeot and Toyota siblings. But while the former C1 and 108 were visually very similar, the new versions are notably different. The 1.0-litre engine from the old Citroen C1 has been carried over. A five-speed manual gearbox is fitted as standard, although an optional five-speed automated ETG manual transmission is available on selected models.

Three- and five-door models are offered, with the latter available with an 'Airscape' peel-back fabric roof for around £930 extra on Feel and Flair trim levels. Rivals include the 108 and Aygo, along with the likes of the Ford Ka, Hyundai i10, Skoda Citigo and VW up!

The range kicks off with the basic Touch trim level, which offers front electric windows, LED daytime running lights, 14-inch steel wheels and remote central locking. It's a rather basic affair, and customers would be advised to upgrade to the Feel model. This adds air conditioning, a 7-inch touchscreen, DAB digital radio and 15-inch steel wheels. The Flair includes a reversing camera, chrome exterior trim, tinted rear windows, leather steering wheel, and electric and heated door mirrors.

4
4/5
Sprightly new 1.2-litre means the 1.0-litre is only for buyers on a strict budget or those focused purely on economy.
4.1
4.1/5
The C1 isn’t the cheapest city car to run, although there are only pennies in it in this market.
3.7
3.7/5
Chic styling inside and out hides a solid city car package; just don’t expect any surprises.
3
3/5
Other city cars serve up greater practicality, but few are quite as compact as the latest Citroen C1.
4
4/5
Reliable Toyota engineering underpins the Citroen C1, and the car has performed well in comprehensive Euro NCAP crash tests.

While the little city car has lots to commend it, many customers in the sector are price-led and to that end dealers often offer attractive Citroen C1 deals. Good value special editions are worth looking out for too.

The Citroen C1 makes a good first impression with its distinctive styling – a result of quirky split-level headlights and an extensive range of contrasting colour and trim options. The colour continues inside, which gives the car cheerful feel, this latest C1 is more lavishly equipped than the original. Despite the fresh styling, the Mk2 C1 carries over a great deal from the previous model. The 1.2-litre three-cylinder PureTech engine has been removed from the line-up, leaving only the 69bhp 1.0-litre. 

Refinement has been improved, although the engines still aren't the quietest in the class, and the ride can get quite unsettled. The rear seats and boot are quite cramped compared to rivals, too. So while the Citroen C1 is chic, fun and affordable, other city cars can do what it does better.

Last updated: 
8 Aug, 2019