Citroen C1 Airscape Hatchback Leasing
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The C1 has funky looks and an attractive list price, and most versions are well equipped. The light and responsive steering makes it easy to drive in town and park in tight spaces.
The ride is fidgety and refinement is disappointing. Many rivals offer more rear-seat space, too.
While there's a lot to like about the Citroen C1, many other city cars are better. The C1 is let down by an unsettled ride, thrummy engines and tight rear passenger space.
There's a choice between two three-cylinder petrol engines: a 68bhp 1.0-litre and a 1.2 with 80bhp. Both engines need to be worked pretty hard if you want to make decent progress. The 1.0-litre unit feels just as sprightly as the 1.2 up to 30mph, but it is frustratingly gutless when trying to keep up with faster traffic at higher speeds; if you regularly do motorway miles, opt for the bigger engine.
Ride & Handling
When fitted with 15-inch wheels (standard on mid-spec versions and above), the C1 fidgets much of the time over bumpy town roads. It does, however, soak up the initial thunk of potholes quite well at low speeds. The steering is also light and responsive, which is ideal for manoeuvring the C1 into tight parking spaces or for parallel parking in narrow streets. There's noticeable body lean through corners, but the handling is generally composed.
Both engines are noisy, with a constant thrum in the background, although low-speed refinement is perfectly bearable. Out of town, however, the C1 becomes noisier, with a fair amount of wind noise over the windscreen at high speeds. The clutch is light, but it has a vague, high biting point, while the rubbery-feeling gearshift also hampers your ability to drive the C1 smoothly. You can feel engine vibrations through the steering wheel and pedals, too.
Buying & Owning
The C1 is well priced within the city car class, provided you stick to the entry- and mid-level trims, and there are plenty of attractive finance deals available. Low CO2 emissions (every version emits less than 100g/km) make for tiny tax bills, while an impressive showing in our True MPG economy tests mean that fuel bills will also be small.
Quality & Reliability
There's plenty of opportunity to personalise the interior with gloss colour accents for the dashboard and gearlever surround. However, this doesn't detract from the fact the cabin has been built to a budget, with plenty of hard plastics on show. This generation of C1 was too new to be included in our latest customer satisfaction survey, but the previous-generation C1 scored below-average marks for reliability.
Safety & Security
All C1s get stability control, hill start assist (which stops the car rolling back during a hill start) and six airbags as standard. The C1 also achieved four stars (out of five) in its Euro NCAP crash test. Security kit includes remote central locking and an engine immobiliser, although security experts Thatcham awarded the C1 four stars out of five for its resistance to being stolen, but a not-so-good two out of five for its resistance to being broken into.
Behind The Wheel
There's good space and most C1s come with driver's seat-height adjustment, but the steering wheel adjusts only for height, not reach. Despite looking the part, the seat doesn't offer much in the way of side bolstering or lumbar support, either. All-round visibility is good, though, and the major controls are simple to use and within easy reach.
Space & Practicality
The C1 is roomy up front, but rear-seat space is tight for taller passengers. Boot space is just 196 litres with the seats up, and only when the car is specced with a puncture repair kit rather than a spare wheel. Depending on the trim level, the rear seats can either be folded as a single piece or in a 50/50 split. Whatever the configuration, with the seats folded, the increased load bay is nowhere near flat.
Entry-level Touch models are sparsely equipped; they get electric front windows, remote central locking, LED daytime running lights and a USB socket, but that's about it. Mid-range Feel trim – the one we'd go for – adds a 7.0in colour touchscreen, air-conditioning, opening rear windows, Bluetooth, a DAB radio and audio controls on the steering wheel. Desirable kit such as a reversing camera, alloy wheels and a leather-covered steering wheel come with fairly pricey top-spec Flair models.