ANYONE looking for a practical and economical small car should try the perky and good looking Citroen C1 before they buy anything else.
After a week around my local area and a couple of 50 mile journeys I grew to like the smallest Citroen more and more.
OK, with a 1.0-litre engine, it's not the quickest thing out of the box, but it is surprisingly willing at lower speeds and that adds a definite fun factor.
On top of that, it comes with low emissions, very good economy, room for four adults and cheap insurance. This is a car that should cost peanuts to run.
Economy of course, is relative. No car will match the government consumption figures out on the road - it just can't be done.
I managed 45mpg without trying very hard, helped by the standard low rolling resistance tyres, and on websites showing actual economy, owners are getting 49 in everyday use.
The little engine is fairly noisy when pushed up the rev range, but that's what you have to do for best performance. It will reach 60 miles an hour in secondgear and the urge is good up to there.
Around town in will trickle quietly along in thirdor fourthgears, but fifthis no good under about 35 miles an hour, and there's not much acceleration in it from any speed.
The general performance is very good for a 1.0-litre non-turbo and better than many people would believe.
The electric power steering is direct and responsive and despite its city car size and power, it can keep up with general speeds on the motorway.
Citroen has returned to earlier days on the suspension design to give a very comfortable ride over just about everything.
It copes easily with lumps and speed humps and is very easy to drive and a delight to park.
There is some body roll through the twists and turns of a country road at speed, but it feels safe and sure, and holds the road very well.
Some might find the thrum of the three cylinder engine, which sometimes sounds rather like a six, a little wearing, but it never bothered me in a week of driving.
The front seats are comfortable, and give a higher than average driving position - something that many drivers will like.
But the steering wheel is only adjustable for height so finding the right driving position takes trial and error.
Boot space with the rear seats in place is fair for such a small car, and they fold 50/50 to give space for bigger items.
The dash is different, funky and practical with the body colour repeating around the six inch touch screen, which takes care of air conditioning, stereo, and car functions.
Smartphones can be linked to it to play music and there's a USB socket to charge them.
The pod speedometer and tachometer sit neatly behind the steering wheel and are viewed through it. They rise and fall with the column so are always perfectly visible.
I drove the Furio 1.0 VTi and it comes with stability control, air con, alloy wheels, front and side airbags, remote locking, electric front windows, AM/FM radio with aux in and USB, Bluetooth and funky striped cloth seats.
All the interior plastics are pretty hard to the touch, and the sun visors are angled slightly from one side to the other, with rounded corners.