2023 Author: Eric Donovan | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-05-21 15:44
How much car does a person need? Citroën answers this question with the C1. The French baby lures with five doors, low maintenance costs and a competitive price. The practical test shows which compromises have to be made.
The C1 was developed in collaboration with Peugeot and Toyota. Inside and out, the Baby Citroën is therefore very similar to its brothers Peugeot 107 and Toyota Aygo. 100,000 Baby Citroëns are built near Prague every year, and in 2006 one in ten of them will find buyers in Germany. In terms of price, the C1 comes as a combat dwarf: The little Frenchman in the "Advance" version costs only 8,890 as a five-door model with 1.0-liter three-cylinder and 68 hp (three-door: 8,490 euros).
But then you have to be prepared for meager times when boarding. The doors are only partially covered, with bare sheet metal gleaming towards the driver in the front part. The plastic material of the panels and switches does not make a high-quality impression. The skinny locking pins in the doors are reminiscent of Fischer dowels. Instead of the glove compartment there is a simple shelf. It doesn't even have a rubber mat, so ice scrapers, sunglasses or CD cases slide back and forth in curves.
You have to do without a rev counter in the basic C1 as well as with power windows, central locking, power steering or split folding backrests. The C1 only offers all of this in the "Style" equipment and then costs 9,740 euros. The C1 collects plus points in terms of operation and clarity. The offset tachometer on the dashboard brings a bit of a smart atmosphere into the cockpit.
The five-speed gearbox with the long gear lever can be shifted comfortably, only the reverse gear hooks now and then. Annoying detail on the side: the dashboard cover has a fine honeycomb pattern. When the sun is high, this pattern is sometimes reflected directly on the windshield. Then you see the world outside as if through a fine grid. There is good news in terms of space. The French flea is a real space saver.
The driver and front passenger can stretch out comfortably in the four-seater. The C1 also conveys an astonishing sense of space in the rear. Even people over 1.80 meters have sufficient knee and headroom as long as the front seats are not pushed back too far. Through knee contact, you can quickly find out that the metal frame of the front seats is only covered by the seat cover towards the rear.
For the fresh air supply, the rear passengers have to be satisfied with simple opening windows. When it comes to safety, the little French driver comes with ABS, driver and front passenger airbags and side airbags as standard. Head airbags cost 250 euros extra, ESP is not available. Isofix child seat holders are standard on board in the "Style" equipment.
The engine runs a bit grumpy when stationary, but it turns out to be an astonishingly fast machine. 68 horsepower have an easy time with the 875 kilo French. With a maximum torque of only 93 Nm, the water-cooled three-cylinder delivers a lot of thrust. In the city you are just as brisk as you are overland. The Baby Citroën even cuts a fine figure on the motorway. The manufacturer specifies the top speed with 157 km / h, given 5000 revs, a good 10 km / h more are possible. The noise level remains bearable up to 130 km / h. In the intermediate sprint from 80 to 120 km / h, however, the three-cylinder runs out of breath a bit. When the sprint from 0 to 100 km / h takes a little less than 14 seconds.
Good driving behavior
The driving behavior of the C1 is impressive. Apart from the somewhat spongy steering, the small car can be easily steered through fast corners. The chassis offers a good compromise between sportiness and comfort, the C1 can handle cobblestones or bumps. The 3.40-meter-short French car ensures a satisfied grin when parking. You are happy to wait patiently in front of parking spaces until the fat sled in front of you gives up the maneuver in frustration after three attempts, in order to then casually maneuver the C1 into the free space.
The manufacturer from the country of active parking has nevertheless taken precautions for parking bumps. In addition to protective strips all around, Citroën has installed impact absorbers behind the bumpers that can take loads of up to eight tons. When looking into the trunk of the city runabout, disillusionment spreads. There is no trunk flap, you simply fold up the rear window. Just 139 liters fit in the four-door luggage compartment. If you remove the cover, you can at least squeeze a water box into it. If you fold down the rear seats, however, the C1 becomes a mini-truck and swallows 751 liters up to the headliner (712 liters for the three-door).
In pure city traffic, our test car consumed almost seven liters per 100 kilometers. On the highway, the C1 allowed itself a little more than six liters of super with brisk driving. The little Frenchman was most economical in a combination between the motorway and country road.
Here he was satisfied with 4.2 liters per 100 kilometers with a careful accelerator. If you want to be even more economical, you have to order the C1 for 10,940 euros with the 54 hp 1.3 liter diesel engine. A SensoDrive transmission with automatic and manual mode is only available for the gasoline engine, so the five-door C1 costs 10,340 euros. A CD radio is available as a package with a tachometer for 420 euros extra. Citroën offers an audio combination with CD changer, a navigation system, air conditioning or an electronic parking aid in various accessory packages.