Citroen Ami Cargo review: where’s the fun gone? Reviews 2023 | Top Gear
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Citroen Ami Cargo review: where’s the fun gone?

£7,995 when new
Published: 16 Jun 2023

Why has that Citroen Ami only got one seat?

Someone’s eagle-eyed. That’s because this is the Ami Cargo, basically a delivery version of the electric quadricycle that Citroen launched three years ago. It forgoes the passenger seat for a 260-litre load space to be stuffed with boxes or lord-knows-what. That’s it, in a nutshell.

So it’s… a tiny van?

Essentially. It’s one of a surprising number of Ami derivatives (well, two) that have spawned lately, the other being the doorless Ami Buggy; a vehicle so popular the initial run of 50 has increased 20-fold to satisfy demand. Wow.

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The Ami itself of course now comes in a variety of trim levels, with optional packs for further personalisation. Heck, Citroen even made a police car version for a Greek island.

Remind me of specs again?

A single electric motor drives the front wheels, offering a grand total of… 8bhp. Eight! There is no 0-62mph figure because the Ami will never get there, instead topping out at 28mph from a standstill in about 10 seconds.

It’s powered by a 5.5kWh battery that returns 47 miles of range (though it’ll be less if the Cargo is fully laden), with a full charge taking three hours regardless of whether you plug into a standard domestic socket or a fancier wallbox. The Ami is manufactured exclusively with a European two-pin plug, so Citroen UK throws in a Type 2 adaptor as standard. Handily our test car came with a three-pin accessory too, but you’ll need to buy your own.

Total carrying volume amounts to 400 litres and the Ami Cargo tips the scales at 478kg, but as its top-end Gross Vehicle Weight is only 700kg, that leaves a mere 140kg for a payload once you’ve factored in the mass of a driver.

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Doesn’t strike me as a workhorse…

Yes, that was our impression. And as it’s mechanically the same as the standard two-seater, it’s just as slow and rattly as before. So not the kind of thing you’d use to carry priceless antique vases or organs.

Probably a good thing. You’d want those fresh intestines for yourself after more than five minutes in the Ami, such is the force with which imperfections in the road hit your gut. Avoid cobblestones at all costs.

And invest in a good physio: if you’re anything close to six foot you’ll need to slouch in the seat to see ahead when you go uphill (and look at traffic lights). Rear visibility is poor because the mirrors are tiny.

I’m guessing it’s not great to drive either…

It’s a novelty, put it that way. And to an extent we’re glad it doesn’t go any faster, because if it did you’d constantly be on the knife edge of what the chassis can really handle. You may have seen a viral video earlier this year of an Ami being pushed beyond its limits around the streets of Monaco… it did not remain upright. There’s a reason the steering rack is dialled all the way back. Slow into and slow out of corners, please.

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Yikes. So who’s it for?

Citroen sees this as a last-mile delivery machine, and realistically only in cities where it can actually get close to the speed limit. Tellingly the French firm’s marketing material (see below) pictures the Ami Cargo at work in a warehouse, where a little, zero-emission runabout might feasibly make sense.

Citroen Ami Cargo warehouse

Is it well-suited to that?

In theory yes, but in practice it’s not well executed. The plastic shelving is shoddy, and there’s no soft material anywhere to limit vibration. The top panel opens towards the driver's seat, meaning the only way to easily get at items is by removing the lid altogether. Meanwhile there’s a useful cubby at your five o'clock, but it’s not terribly big and you’ll need a very loose spine in order to reach it.

Then there’s the cargo door: it opens in the opposite direction to the driver’s side door, but the issue is that there’s nothing to hold it open. So when you’re parked at the roadside and you need more than one go at unloading your commodities, it’ll just keep swinging shut. This will get annoying quite quickly.

Feels like an oversight. How’s value for money?

Hard to see why a private buyer would choose the Cargo, especially as it’s three hundred quid more than the £7,695 you’d pay for the base-level Ami, into which you could slot a companion.

So assuming only businesses are queuing up, is it a good investment? Well it’s £6,662.50 once you’ve written off the VAT, and there’s no VED to pay either. So far so good.

It’s also worth noting that the range (while pitiful) represents incredible efficiency for the size of battery. 8.5mi/kWh on paper is double what you’d get from a decent electric car, and with charging costs at the mercy of spiralling energy prices right now, frugality is a big strength here.

However, the question you have to ask yourself is ‘Will this be better than a moped… or five?’ Sure the payloads don’t compare, but then a scooter can slip easily through traffic. The Ami - despite being less than 1.4 metres wide and 2.5 metres long - can’t. And if you’re a courier, that’s a redline.

Ouch. And yet you cherished the standard Ami…

We did. When TG first drove it in 2020 we handed it a 9/10, based on its plucky sense of adventure and individuality. We even called it ‘cute’. But recently Fiat has announced its own version called the Topolino and in comparison the Ami doesn’t feel quite so adorable any more.

Nope, the Cargo is an Ami with the fun stripped out. All work and no play, and it ain’t that good at the job either. Shame.

Photography: Joe Holding

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