Citroen C2 ideal

first car

THEalternative looks of the Citroen C2 don't appeal to everyone but it's a good choice for a secondhand small car that's cheap to run and comes with low cost insurance.

It was the spiritual successor to the Saxo that was so loved by many drivers and came with most of the same engines - albeit with modernising modifications.

It was only available as a three door - the five door version becoming the C3, which has the same range of power units.

It seems a little more upright than other small cars, but despite this, the handling and road-holding are excellent.

The ride is also pretty good in all but the top end sporting versions, which have stiffer suspension to improve still further the already good road-holding.

Engines range up from a 61bhp 1.1-litre, through a 1.4-litrewith either 75 or 90bhp, to a 1.6-litre with either 110 or 125bhp. The 90bhp 1.4-litrecomes with Citroen's Sensodrive automatic gearbox as standard.

There is also a 1.4-litreturbo diesel which has 70bhp but because it is very economical, it is much more sought after secondhand and therefore will cost more.

The 75bhp 1.4-litrepetrol is the best bet, giving 42 - 46mpg and decent performance.

Mechanical reliability is good, but interiors can get rough without care, so check carefully.

There are a plenty around, so only go for the best - and don't buy without that all-important service history. You need to know that any car you buy has been properly cared for.

Top of the range VTS is very quick, but has stiffened suspension giving a pretty harsh and sometimes uncomfortable ride, and it's a lot more to insure.

The Sensodrive automatic gearbox is a clutchless manual that can be used as a full automatic - but slow changes mean it is not for those who enjoy their driving.

Aircon only comes with higher trim levels but base models still have remote locking and four airbags.

Most also come with audio remote control, folding back seat, full size spare wheel and electric windows

FAST FACTS

Price: Pay about £1,150 for an '08 08-reg Design, or £1,750 for an '09 09-reg VTR

Mechanical: 75bhp, 1,360cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 5-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 105mph

0-62mph: 12.1 seconds

Combined MPG: 47

Insurance Group: 3

C02 emissions: 143g/km

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