Citroen C1 is the third - but by no means least – offering from the Toyota/PSA partnership. With over 780,000 sales since its European launch in 2005, the second-generation is a big improvement and will do even more business.
Three and five-door versions are available of the city car, and Citroen is offering its own unique options when it comes to customising. Where C1 is going to grab attention from Aygo and 108 is on price, with an entry-point of just €10,995 for the three-door.
C1 comes with a choice of a 1.0-litre Toyota-sourced or 1.2-litre PSA three-cylinder petrol engine. Citroen Ireland sees the 1.0-litre, VTi, three-cylinder engine as the big seller. This 68hp engine has an excellent official average fuel consumption of 3.8l/100km (74mpg), so in the real world 65mpg is doable.
The PSA 'PureTech' 1.2-litre unit will only be available in Ireland in five-door, high-specification form, starting at €14,195. The 1.2 offers more power with 82hp and greater flexibility on the open road.
C1 comes with a manual five-speed gearbox as standard or optional five-speed automatic 'ETG' (efficient 'geartronic' gearbox). The three-cylinder 1.0-litre is a lively unit and capable of cruising on the motorway, while also being fun to use about town.
C1 is identical under the skin to Aygo and 108, so it is quieter inside, stronger with a stiffer body and features improved handling. New suspension components, larger anti-roll bar and new electric power steering are just a few of the long list of improvements.
The big task for Citroen with C1 was to get its stylists to somehow convince us that C1 has a unique identity. Already, we know Aygo is going for the younger market with its Manga animation-inspired styling, while Peugeot wants the sophisticated discerning buyer. So what's left for the minnow of the PSA group?
C1 has a unique front-end featuring bold headlights and smart-looking LED daytime running lights that combine to give it a friendly face. To the rear the light clusters are squared off and VW Polo-like. Various styling kits and colour combos will add to C1's look. C1 is also calling the large sunroof-equipped C1 (available in the Toyota Aygo and Peugeot 108) its convertible. While the 'Airscape' roof is huge and well insulated too, it is still just a big sunroof! C1 will come in three grades: Touch, Feel and Flair.
The good news for Irish buyers is that Citroen is moving its entire car range to a three-year warranty (from two) in 2015. This will include any C1s registered on a 142 plate. This matches Toyota's warranty and will help the C1 increase its market share in Ireland.
C1 is a fun, easy-to-drive, economical machine that does more than you'd expect. It has character and charm and a price tag that will tempt a lot of buyers to the brand. Sales success in Ireland, with C1, Aygo and 108, will ultimately come down to the cars' dealership network.
We're looking forward to C1 arriving in Ireland this August.