Little Citroen a

city slicker

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

FOR those in the market for a small city car, then you don't have far to look, for showrooms are full of great little gems that are cheap to buy and more importantly, cheap to run.

One manufacturer that have been producing small cars by the bucket load for many years now are Citroen, who over their long history have made a point of building some excellent compact cars for the masses.

Back in 2005, they announced they were joining forces with near neighbours Peugeot and Japanese giants Toyota to produce a new supermini in the Czech Republic.

Although similar mechanically and in overall design, the C1, 107 and Aygo as they were to be named, did have some variations which made each of them slightly different from each other and Citroen also worked hard at their sums in order to keep a price advantage for their C1 over its Peugeot and Toyota siblings.

Aimed firmly towards younger first-time car buyers, the Citroen also attracted many young families looking for a small second car as well as "empty-nesters" down-sizing as their needs for a larger vehicle diminished.

As with the 107 and Aygo, the little C1 city slicker proved a great success, so much so that it was finally replaced only last year. However, over its lifespan, it did go under the knife for a facelift and a tuck here and there to keep it fresh.

For 2012, it received a new bonnet, grille and bumper which incorporated LED daytime running lights on the higher-spec cars, while a new VTR+ range-topping model was also introduced, complete with alloy wheels and air con.

Available in three or five-door guise, the latter came with clever "hidden" handles built into the rear door for a more sportier look.

Underneath the skin, the C1 was given revised power steering along with suspensions modifications which gave for a better ride and added comfort, while the interior was graced with more standard equipment.

Inside is a roomy and bright place to be, with masses of glass and large supportive seats which accommodate four in decent comfort.

For a small car, designers made the most of the the limited interior space, so there's plenty of cubby holes and storage compartments to house CDs, drinks bottles and the likes. However, the car lacks a covered compartment to store any items of value.

Small city cars are never going to be the most practical of machines, so boot space is limited to 139 litres, but that can be increased to 751 litres by folding the 50/50-split rear seats.

With its small dimensions, easy steering and great flexibility thanks to its tight turning circle, it's just right for nipping around the town and it's also easy to park in even the tightest of spaces.

However, its real beauty is its super-frugal 68bhp, three-cylinder engine which offers 65mpg fuel consumption and environmentally-friendly emissions, coupled with low insurance and road tax costs, perfect for those on a tight budget.

As a used city car, the C1 can be a really great bargain buy. To get a 2012 VTR+ model on a 61-plate will cost from £3,930 and £5,490. Move on a year to a 62-plate example and you should be able to source one for between £4,390 and £5,880.

Even one of the last "old-style" 2014 models on a 63-plate will be available within the £4,920 and £6,025 price range, giving a lot of car for little money.

For those seeking out an automatic, then look out for the five-speed EGS version which will add around £500 to £600 to the above prices.

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