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The Top Gear car review: Citroen C1
What is it like on the road?
The last C1 was only available with the Toyota-sourced 1.0-litre engine. Now Peugeot-Citroen has doubled the choice by offering its own 1.2-litre. The latter costs more and is notably quicker on paper – its 10.9sec 0-62mph time is a whole 50 per cent quicker than the 1.0’s – but if it’s a big financial stress, don’t worry too much. The 1.0 is pretty peppy and in a car this light, either engine will make the C1 feel surprisingly keen in the all-important traffic light grand prix.
The lightness makes it rather fun to drive, too. The steering is quick and eager and the car moves around with agility. You can even be boisterous into corners if you wish to relive the good old days of Saxo VTRs and VTSs at a slightly slower pace. It’s a good laugh, and while not as good as a VW Up, it handles better than a Renault Twingo, whose rear-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout seems to trouble the traction control even when you’re driving sedately.
The C1 isn’t super comfy – it’ll feel a bit brittle over more broken urban roads – but that’s true of nearly all cars with a wheelbase this short. It’ll only perturb you if you go looking for the most awful bumps and ruts.
It’s not as refined as an Up at higher speeds and on dual carriageways, but then lots of grown up saloon cars aren’t either – VW arguably overengineered it for its main purpose. The C1 is bearable, but it’s not the best in class if you’ll be on motorways a lot.
One last thing. You can option that cool-looking Airscape canvas sunroof, but bear in mind it does cause wind pulse above 30mph.