By on 2022-03-04 -
Citroen C1 - Used
ANYONE looking for a small car that's as cheap as chips to run yet still has plenty of design flair and fun about it should try the Citroen C1.
And by cheap to run I mean Â£30 a year road tax, lowest Group 1 insurance, and a petrol engine good for 60 miles per gallon. Pretty hard to beat don't you think?
OK so it's pretty tiny, and the boot will only take a couple of shopping bags, but as a one, two or three seater, it's more than capable.
Until the tiny electric Ami came along - and it's not really any kind of competitior - this was the smallest car in the Citroen range.
It was built in the same plant as the Peugeot 107/108 and Toyota Aygo and although production has just finished with the ending of the agreement between the three companies, all three used the same 1.0-litre Toyota engine and the same suspension and running gear.
Despite its small size and engine the C1 is fun to drive, because it revs sweetly, sounds marvellous and handles safely and well through the corners. It often feels quicker than it really is and this only adds to the enjoyment.
Latest models built from 2018 come with a 72bhp version of the same three cylinder engine, wheras before this, the output was 67bhp.
Up to 2018, there was also a 1.2-litre unit available with 82bhp, and this offered much improved performance, reaching 60 miles an hour from rest in about 10.5 seconds and yet still capable of 66 miles per gallon.
The later 1.0-litre gets to the benchmark in 12.2 seconds and is rated at a diesel-beating 72 miles per gallon!
C1s feel nippy and responsive up to motorway speeds and even on such faster roads, they can easily keep up with general traffic speeds, albeit with a fair amount of noise.
That responsiveness only comes with use of the gears and the revs but of course, doing so will make a dent in the economy.
Good electric power steering gives decent roadfeel through the corners, and the handling and roadholding are brilliant for what is in no way a sporting car, with great balance and enough verve to bring a smile to anyone's face.
Overtaking in all such lowly powered cars is an art and one that has to be learned. The only way is to use the 'slingshot' technique, where you start to accelerate just before an oncoming car has passed, so that you are already getting up to overtaking speed when you pull out.
The ride is acceptable most of the time, taking the majority of surfaces in its stride, but you do need to slow right down for speed humps - as you do in quite a few of today's cars.
The front seats are comfortable and reasonably supportive but those in the rear are not as good.
There have been a number of special editions with added spec for not too much extra money in the range and Airscape models have a full-length electric sunroof to give a real taste of open air motoring. Automatic models have also been available
The boot is tiny, but there is just about enough interior space for four adults over short journeys, and the rear seats split fold.
Power steering and light controls make all models very easy to drive and even basic equipment includes remote locking, loads of airbags and electric windows.
Mid-range Feel specification adds air conditioning, audio remote controls, height adjustment for the driver's seat and traction control.
Pay about Â£6,100 for an '18 18-reg Feel VTi 3 door, or Â£9,145 for a '19 19-reg Flair Airscape VTi 5 door.
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