Citroen C1 VTR+

Citroen C1, interior
Citroen C1, side
Citroen C1, action
Citroen C1

THE city car market is packed with motors of excellent quality that are cheap to buy and increasingly economical to run, so it is important to stay ahead of the game, particularly with excellent new challengers like the VW Up!

Citroen has been producing the C1 for some time now a car that perhaps sums up what small cars are all about.

It has always thrived on its quirky design features despite being virtually identical in chassis and engine to the stablemate Peugeot's 107 and the Toyota Aygo.

But this year it has undergone a bit of a facelift with new bonnet shape and grille and new bumper that incorporates LED daytime running lights on the higher spec cars. There is also a new design to the iconic chevron badge.

There are three or five door versions, with the clever disguising of the rear handles into the door making it difficult to distinguish the model.

There is also revised power steering and suspensions modifications for extra comfort while the interior itself adds more standard equipment.

Inside  is a roomy and bright place to do with big glass areas and roomy seats that accommodate four in comfort.

Materials do not feel of the highest quality, but this is a car that starts at under £8,000.

Having said that the quirky exterior design is mimicked inside with oddly-placed dials and indicator and with translucenct effect that give the car a funky look that is likely attract many younger buyers.

The VTR+ adds loads more bells and whistles and includes leather upholstery, electric windows, air conditioning and remote central locking, rev counter and alloy wheels, plus some additional body trim.

In addition there is tinted glass, leather steering wheels and front fog lamps, but this does push the price past £9,500.

City cars are never going to be the most practical and boot space is limited to 139 litres. This can be increased to 712 or 751, depending on whether three or five-door by folding the rear seats.

Various other pockets and oddment holders add to the practicality of the car.

With its small shape, easy steering and manoeuverability it is ideal around the town, especially in tight parking spaces.

Perhaps the best part though it the 68bhp, three-cylinder engine.

For the first time CO2 emissions on the manual are below 100g/km, thus exempting it from road tax, congestion charge if in London and for business users, placing it in the lowest 10 per cent tax bracket for benefit in kind taxation.

The three pots emit a pleasing rumble under acceleration and its picks up nicely through the gears. Even pushing it along it is miserly with the fuel consumption, a claimed 65.7mpg available.

With low insurance costs, this all makes for cheap motoring.

Standard kit is decent for the price and includes with MP3 compatible radio/CD player, immobiliser, adjustable steering column and power steering. More expensive models add Bluetooth and USB connectors.

Safety is also good with a four-star Euro NCAP rating and includes anti-lock brakes and corner stability programme driver and passenger airbags on the base model with the tested range topper getting side airbags.

There are three trim levels VT, VTR and VTR+ in either three of five-door options. All are powered by the one litre engines.

FAST FACTS

Citroen C1 VTR+

Price: £9,695

Mechanical: 68bhp, 998cc, 3cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 5-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 98mph

0-62mph: 12.3 seconds

Combined MPG: 43.5

Insurance Group: 3

C02 emissions: 99g/km

Bik rating: 10%

Warranty: 3yrs/ 60,000 miles

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