Citroen C1 review - does French hatch offer the thrill of city driving? - Ride and Handling

Good value city car, but unrefined on the road

Evo rating
Price
from £8,345
  • Efficient, easy to park, well-equipped and good value
  • Poor body control, coarse manners, better rivals

Comfort should be high up the priority list of any chassis engineer working on a city car and so it was in the Citroen C1. Its suspension is soft and absorbs bumps and ruts in an urban environment as well as any of its peers. Decent sidewalls on all wheels help with that. On the motorway it's more stable than you might imagine and the suspension does a good job of cushioning the occupants from the road underneath. It even copes admirably with cross-winds, though drivers will feel a little inconsequential when sharing road space with full-sized articulated trucks.

The downside of the soft suspension is obvious the first time you tackle a corner with any enthusiasm, as the body leans at quite an angle. This will prevent most drivers from getting anywhere near the C1's modest grip levels, though it's no worse than many cars in the segment. For the record, the Hyundai i10 has a far more polished chassis overall and the Volkswagen up/SEAT Mii/Skoda Citigo triplets are all more engaging to drive.

Electronic stability control is standard across the C1 line-up, which helps in an emergency manoeuvre, especially in the wet, though this is hardly the kind of car that'll get thrown around on purpose by its driver.

While the C1 is on a par with many city cars in terms of refinement on the road, it can't compete with the best in the class. There's just too much road noise, wind roar and even unwanted clunks from the suspension at times. The driveline is unrefined as well and the controls that operate the car are too light for it to be at all enjoyable. The target market may well approve of effortless steering and super-light pedals, but we'd like more feedback and weight from both.

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