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First Drive

Citroen Ami Buggy review: no doors, no range, no matter

£10,496 when new
910
Published: 26 Dec 2023
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SPEC HIGHLIGHTS

  • Range
    (Combined)

    47 miles

  • Battery
    Capacity

    6.3kWh

  • BHP

    8bhp

  • CO2

    0g/km

  • Max Speed

    28Mph

You appear to have misplaced your doors.

You’ve got me there, I think they must have fallen off at the last set of lights. Funny though, and definitely the first time anyone said that to me in the entire time I drove the car. This Citroen Ami Buggy isn’t meant to have any doors, it’s a lifestyle thing.

You’d think you’d save a lot of time not having any doors, but Citroen only went and stuck a big bar in the way that you have to open and close very much in the same style as a door.

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You must save a lot though.

Another common misconception. You’d think you’d be doing Citroen a favour by asking for your Ami without doors; they can’t be cheap. But the Ami Buggy actually costs more than the standard car. It’s £10,496 for the Buggy version, a £2,801 premium over the most basic Ami. Breaking that £10k barrier feels like a line has been crossed on some fundamental level.

It’s not just the doors, though: you get some delightful steel wheels, nice yellow stickers on the outside, nice yellow plastic inserts inside, a fabric zippable sunroof that replaces the standard car’s glass number, and the DNR drive controls are moved from beside the driver’s seat to by the steering wheel, because they would otherwise be exposed to the elements. 

The 27.9mph vmax remains – it’ll get there in 10 seconds – and you’ve got an official WMTC (motorcycle test cycle, not WLTP, because the Ami is classed as a quadricycle) range of 47 miles. Which doesn’t sound like much, and it isn’t.

What’s the drive like? 

The Ami is a fun little drive, provided it sticks to its strengths. It’ll bumble along through town, ease through traffic and put a smile on your face while it does so, just through sheer charm and quirkiness. The Buggy amps all of it up to 11: you could barely draw more attention if Celine Dion gave you a piggyback down the middle of the Las Vegas strip while you shouted “Look at me!” at the top of your lungs. 

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People come up to you and chat through the door while you’re waiting at traffic lights, they’ll ask you questions while you’re charging and take pictures on their phones hanging out of the side of their cars like Fisher Price paparazzi.

Venture outside of the city confines – we’re not for a second suggesting you should – and it transforms from an easygoing urban cruiser into a terrifying, 28mph near-death experience as cars fly by at all speeds. Road and machinery pass with millimetres to spare as you rock backwards and forwards in the hard plastic chair in a vain attempt to add a little speed. 

Doesn’t it get cold onboard?

Sometimes ‘fair-weather’ is used as a rather derisive adjective, to question someone’s commitment or status as a true enthusiast of whatever is under discussion. Let me tell you that being a fair-weather Citroen Ami Buggy driver is the only way to enjoy the thing. 
If nothing else, with 47 miles of range from the 5.5kWh battery (45 miles real world, if you’re feeling brave) you don’t want to find out how cold weather zaps that

The literature says that you can charge the Ami Buggy up at a nifty 3.6kW, but over 175 or so harrowing miles with the car we never got close to that. The plug pulls out of a cavity by the passenger door hole, and it’s a French domestic plug with a little adaptor on it for Type 2 charge points. It’s all on brand, and fine if you charge at home from a wallbox.

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There are few things as depressing as watching an EV using less electricity than your kettle when you’re in a rush. Citroen says it will charge from 0 to 100 per cent in four hours: that number is fairly accurate, but it would feel like 10 times that in practice if you were, say, sitting in a leisure centre car park in Gravesend at 11pm. And yes, that is weirdly specific.

What if it rains?

You can get quite wet, but the Ami Buggy does come with transparent bits of plastic that zip up and cover most of the door, then roll away when they’re not needed. There’s a sizeable gap left at the bottom which does let a a little bit of spray through, and lots of wind.

But again, we simply wouldn’t recommend driving the Ami Buggy in the rain, it’s not for that. This car is all about the sunshine and good times, specifically the ones that happen in the city. Or along the French Riviera. But if you're all about the dolce vita there's also a Fiat version of the Ami that's arguably cooler than this one. And it's badged as the Fiat Topolino Dolce Vita, which is probably a bit on the nose. 

Should I buy myself one?

If you’ve got this far and you’re still asking yourself this question, then fair play – go for it. It's glorious stupid fun for people who don't mind being looked at. Too bad you've missed the boat: there were only 40 of these special edition Amis allocated to the UK, and they went quite quickly. There might be a brisk turnaround on the second-hand market once people realise what they’ve actually bought, so perhaps there are bargains to be had.

The Citroen Ami Buggy is perfect within a very narrow band of application, but would be miserable to live with outside of that. Otherwise we’d probably be more tempted by a scooter, or a bicycle and a really nice holiday somewhere warm.

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