Citroen C1 Connexion

Citroen C1, interior
Citroen C1 Connexion, front
Citroen C1 Connexion, front
Citroen C1 Connexion, side
Citroen C1 Connexion, side

AT some point in relatively recent history small cars have somehow managed to become as fashionable as social networking.

Students of modern automotive history might suggest it was all sparked by BMW's take on the iconic Mini.

That reinterpretation was followed by another enthusiastically received reinterpretation of a timeless classic in the shape of the Fiat 500.

Whatever the case the upshot is that small cars have become distinctive and desirable rather than dull and dreary runabouts that tend to be bought simply because they're cheap to buy and run.

For manufacturers it's got to the point where if your small car doesn't have some sort of wow factor you might as well not bother at all.

Citroen's C1 Connexion might not be inspired by the past  but it has an interesting claim to fame in that it is the first car to be created by Facebook.

Okay the C1 itself wasn't conjured up on a Facebook page but this particular special edition, the Connexion, came into being as a result of Citroen interacting with people via the social network so to speak.

After asking its Facebook followers to design a one-off version of the C1 the French car-maker analysed the responses of more than 24,000 people and came up with the C1 Connexion.

The most distinctive thing about it is its red and black look, a theme based loosely on a ladybird's colouring, which characterises the car both inside and out.

It's a look that is eye-catching and pleasing, managing to be stylish and snazzy without resorting to extreme colour schemes or tacky adaptations.

The car itself is black, with red door handles and mirrors and another stand-out feature is a set of 14 inch alloy wheels.

Equipment-wise buyers also get remote central locking, air-conditioning and electric front windows.

Mechanically there aren't any modifications as such, with the Connexion based on a VTR C1.

That means it's powered by a three-cylinder 1.0-litre engine which produces an unusual throaty thrum that actually suits the car rather well. 

At first one could be forgiven for thinking it slightly odd - it's a noise somewhere between a racy petrol engine and a diesel.

It may not be the most refined of powerplants but it's a noise one gets used to and given its relatively small size it performs rather well.

It gives the car a fairly sprightly feel, certainly around town, though once you get on to a less cluttered road network and try to make progress at higher speeds its limitations become a little more evident.

Despite this the C1 handles nicely it has to be said, helped by the fact its four wheels are pushed out to each corner just about as far as it's feasibly possible to go.

To my mind this is always one of the real benefits of a well-designed compact small car, ensuring it's fun to drive and copes well with being chucked around corners.

Other than that there are reminders you're still is a somewhat small car, the ride is firm-ish though perfectly acceptable and you have a sense that there isn't a great deal between you and cars travelling behind.

Given its compactness though the C1 manages to be immensely practical. I found it hard to fathom it actually had four doors, but it does and even more impressively it boasts a surprising amount of space for rear seat passengers.

The boot might only be suited to carrying a few bags of shopping or a couple of small-ish items of luggage but overall it performs well in terms of practicality.

FAST FACTS

Citroen C1 Connexion

Price: £10,345

Mechanical: 67bhp, 998cc, 3cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 5-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 98mph

0-62mph: 12.3 seconds

Combined MPG: 65.7

Insurance Group: 3

C02 emissions:99g/km

Bik rating:10%

Warranty:3yrs/ 60,000 miles

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