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The side exterior of a red Citroen C1

Citroen C1 review

The Citroen C1 is a little city car that's reliable, fun to drive and inexpensive to run. Equally comfortable in town and on the motorway, the engines are capable and very frugal.


  • Stylish inside and out
  • Small engines are economical around town
  • Offers good reliability


  • Entry-level spec is very basic
  • Boot space is tiny
  • Engine is more suited to the city


“It’s pretty much the definition of good value motoring.”

A good option for city dwellers, young drivers or empty nesters, the Citroen C1 features an eye-catching design, with a high standard of quality and a good level of features. It has a quality look and feel and is heaps of fun to own and drive.

Buying a new C1 restricts you to one engine choice, but pre-owned gives you the choice of two. Trim choices are easy to choose from with only three available: Touch, Feel and Flair. There’s also the option of the Airscape on five-door models and a fabric roof that slides back to give you an open air feeling without going full-on convertible.

Like most small city runabouts, the C1 is more about being a stylish ride for a driver and one passenger than a practical family car. That said, the rear seats will accommodate the kids and there’s the option of three or five-door versions.

What's the interior like?

“It’s quirky in a city car kind of way with colour coded trims and a nice infotainment system on higher models.”

With a minimalist and stylish interior, the C1 keeps things nice and simple with the choice of just three trim levels. The entry-level Touch is basic with no air con and a simple MP3 audio system, although it does have a USB port.
Move up to the Feel and you'll benefit from the 50/50 split folding rear seats which expands the luggage space to 798 litres, giving you enough room for several bags or a larger item. It also features a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system that includes Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and MirrorLink, letting drivers pair their phone with their car.
Go for the Flair for a smarter exterior and interior trim, sat nav and 15-inch alloy wheels.
There are also plenty of Airspace models with a folding fabric roof, so if this is something you’re after, then you should have no trouble finding one matched to your perfect trim level.

What's it like to drive?

“Around town the little three-cylinder C1 is nimble and surprisingly fun.”

Both the 1.0 and 1.2 are good, economical and reliable engines. While the 1.2 gets to 60 mph quicker, the C1 isn't about performance. It's really all about the great fuel economy figures. Both options have a five-speed manual gearbox that’s a pleasure to use and both allow you to cruise comfortably on the motorway.

The ride is soft, but that won’t matter in the city where the perky little engine and easy gear changes make the C1 a fun runabout. Plus, its small size and 11-metre turning circle makes it ideal in town and a doddle to park. Higher-spec models also have a reversing camera which is useful.

Is it cost-efficient to buy and run?

“Citroen C1 is a great option for the cost-savvy driver.”

The C1 is great value to buy compared with Volkswagen-based rivals.

It'll have low running costs with its claimed consumption of up to 74 mpg and low road tax of £145 or less. It also sits in the lowest insurance groups, even if you’re a younger driver. Plus it’s one of the five cheapest cars to service so it’s a great buy if you're conscious about costs.

How reliable and safe is it?

“The C1 scores well in most reliability tests making it a good little car if you want to keep your costs down.”

Apart from the usual servicing you shouldn’t have to do much with it. The C1 has scored highly in most reliability tests in recent years and you’re unlikely to find yourself making any unexpected trips to the garage.

Safety equipment depends on the specification but all models received a four-star rating from Euro NCAP. All models also have a minimum of five airbags as well as an electronic stability programme.

Which one is best for you?

Best for economy - 1.0 litre Flair

Best for family - 1.0 litre Flair 5-door

Best for fun - 1.2 Puretech

The C1 is a low cost option so go for the highest spec you can. It's worth opting for the Flair version for its better equipment and trendier looks.

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