THE Citroen C1 VTR+ is proof that good things can come in small packages.
With excellent fuel consumption, environmentally friendly carbon dioxide emissions, zero road tax for the first year of ownership and low insurance costs, this city car is big on saving its owners money.
The ultra light 1.0-litre petrol engine may be a tad noisy but it offers a combined fuel consumption figure in excess of 60mpg as well as a decent amount of zip around town.
The C1’s styling and general pizzazz seems to point it at younger first time car buyers, but Citroen believe the car will also attract young families looking for a viable second car as well as ‘empty-nesters’ down-sizing as their motoring needs change.
The designers have clearly been hard at work to give the C1 a perky exterior with an distinctively styled front end backed up by the flair of an all-glass hatchback at the rear.
The VTR+ replaces Citroen’s previous range-topping C1 and comes with part leather upholstery as well as a range of other features.
These include a neat-looking radio/MP3 compatible CD player, electric front windows, remote central locking, body-colour door mirrors and handles plus a chrome-finish grille surround.
There’s also a rev counter perched above the speedometer with the entire effect looking unfortunately like Mickey Mouse with an ear lopped off. Dual-zone air conditioning is only offered as a £500-plus option which is a shame.
The C1 is packed with safety equipment though, including anti-lock brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution, cornering stability control and twin airbags as well as front lateral airbags and rear Isofix child seat anchorage points.
Step inside and the first thing you notice is the light and airy atmosphere in the cabin – mainly due to the large swathes of glass used. The centre console glows orange when the lights are switched on which looks neat while all the controls have a funky feel about them.
There is a surprising amount of headroom in the C1, although leg space for those in the back is a bit tight.
That said the wide-opening rear doors on the five-door model I drove make access easy. There is also plenty of space for maps and other necessities such as sunglasses, CDs and drinks bottles thanks to a wealth of storage compartments that are cleverly positioned.
The C1 however does lack a covered storage compartment to keep valuables from prying eyes so anything of value has to go in the boot.
The rear seats split 50/50 helping to increase the small luggage area that is really only capable of coping with a couple of overnight bags. That said the C1 isn’t designed for transporting a family of four on holiday to France instead relishing the cut and thrust of the urban jungle.
It has a compact turning circle which together with the light steering makes it highly manoeuvrable, particularly when negotiating tight parking spaces.
Surprisingly for a Citroen the C1 has a firm ride which means the many bumps and holes littering our roads can be felt in the cabin. But it does handle well with body lean controlled when tight and twisty country lanes are encountered.
The C1 was developed alongside the Peugeot 107 and Toyota Aygo but Citroen have worked hard to distinguish it from its sister models and this coupled with aggressive pricing make it an enticing option for those looking for a city car.
Citroen C1 VTR+ 1.0i 5dr
Mechanical: 68bhp, 998cc, 3cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 5-speed manual gearbox
Max speed: 98mph
0-62mph: 15.6 seconds
Combined mpg: 62.8
Insurance group: 3
CO2 emissions: 106g/km
BiK rating: 10%
Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles