I drive cars of all sizes, from tiny little city cars to monster SUVs, and sometimes I feel like I get bullied on the road – and (surprise, surprise) it’s always in the small cars. Given the range of cars I drive, I’ve concluded that it’s not the driver who’s being bullied, it’s the car.
It’s something a lot of small car drivers have to put up with, regardless of their driving proficiency, and maybe that’s why Citroen made the face of the C1 so bold and angry looking.
Inside, it’s a totally different story. Our mid-level Feel trim test car had a funky and youthful interior, with dark cloth upholstery and striped headrests.
Continuing with the quirkiness, the single dial instrument panel moves with the steering wheel column as you adjust it for height.
Despite its small size, there’s decent legroom in the cabin. Two adults of average height would be comfortable in the back.
The Citroen C1 also scores well in the storage department, with a very impressive pull down glove compartment; door bins which hold bottles upright and two cupholders in the front. There are also cubbies for phones and parking tickets, but no sunglasses holder that I could see.
The DAB Mirror Screen touchscreen infotainment unit in our test car was also quite excellent, the sound quality was brilliant and I found it easy to pair my phone to it.
In keeping with city car design, the boot in the C1 is small but deep. Rear seats can easily be lowered to make it a little bit bigger. I liked the glass tailgate, which had an old school open button on the body of the car.
I wasn’t as enamoured with the manual air conditioning unit though, but then again I’m not a fan of manual air con in general as I find it frustrating to regulate.
I also didn’t like the rear windows, which were of the air rationing pop-out variety.
Our test car was a five-speed petrol. Our route took us on city streets, urban and national motorway and winding country roads.
I found that it was excellent in an urban setting – very nippy, fast at the lights and smooth on city streets. Its small size meant it was easy to park.
It also held its own on the motorway, but soundproofing could have been better. It took its time getting to 120kph, but once it reached that speed, the C1 didn’t have a problem staying there.
On winding roads, there was a slight bit of body roll on enthusiastically taken corners. Handling was decent though and gear changes were smooth.
Overall, I liked the Citroen C1 – it’s a stylish, cheery little city car with a big personality.
The Citroen C1 is available now, with prices starting from €11,145.
Engine: VTi68 petrol
Maximum Speed: 160kph
Acceleration: 0-100kph in 14.3seconds
CO2 emissions: 95g/km
Combined fuel economy: 4.3l/100km
Annual road tax: €180
August arrival date for new Citroen C1