C1, drive 1, want 1…

With more than 760,000 sold world­wide, the first C1 has laid down quite a marker. Matt Kim­ber­ley bun­dles him­self into the new one to find out whether it can fill some very big boots.

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Kentmotors -

The old C1 had prob­lems, and as you’d ex­pect, the new one has largely fixed them. The boot has been made big­ger, the styling has been made more unique and there’s some ex­cel­lent tech­nol­ogy on board. Add softer, com­fier seats and you’ve got a Citroen that blends the old and the new with a side or­der of cheer­ful three-cylin­der en­gine buzz. Looks and im­age

Citroen de­scribe the C1’s face as having a ‘mis­chievous gaze’, and for once I can en­gage with the PR waf­fle.

The cutesy, round eyes are framed by slanted eye­brows and a big, car­toon­ish grin­ning grille that makes it look like the car might be up to no good. Revving at the neigh­bours’ cat, maybe.

As a small, af­ford­able bif­fabout the C1 has never had an im­age is­sue. Younger driv­ers love it, and with more dis­tinc­tive looks thanks to that new face and even a dif­fer­ent shoul­der line than its Peu­geot and Toy­ota sib­lings, this one is even eas­ier on the op­tic fi­bres. Be­hind the wheel

In the lower-pow­ered ver­sion of the 1.0-litre en­gine, whose lower price and ex­tra fru­gal­ity make it the one to have, there’s a slight ten­dency to bor­der on stalling when pulling away, so it’s not the most con­fi­den­cein­spir­ing for learn­ers... un­less they like a chal­lenge.

Once mov­ing, though, the en­gine thrums away nicely, the ride is fan­tas­tic for a small car and the soft, squashy seats are su­per-com­fort­able. From the driver’s perch you can take ad­van­tage of the new sev­eninch colour touch-screen, which is bright and clear with fresh, colour­ful graph­ics.

It’s de­signed with in­te­grated Blue­tooth for hands-free phone use and mu­sic play­back, but the real news is the Mir­ror Screen sys­tem, which mag­ics what­ever’s on your own phone onto the main screen.

It means you can use Google Maps, for a start, which is like get­ting sat-nav for free. Value for money

For a car that many folks will say is bet­ter look­ing than the, err, “dra­matic” Toy­ota Aygo, the news that it un­der­cuts the Ja­panese mo­tor by a good few hun­dred pounds will be like sweet mu­sic. In fact, against all its ri­vals it looks like fair value or bet­ter, al­though deal­ers will be un­der or­ders to min­imise dis­counts on this new model.

This car summed up in a sin­gle word: Chip­per

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