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Driving Review: Citroën C1 Airscape

With quirky styling, solid build quality and French flair, the new Citroën C1 is a fun and feisty little car. The styling of this little car is what first catches your eye (and in this instance, the colour that is not quite red and leaning heavily towards pink. Think coral). At the front you get […]

With quirky styling, solid build quality and French flair, the new Citroën C1 is a fun and feisty little car.

Citroen C1

The styling of this little car is what first catches your eye (and in this instance, the colour that is not quite red and leaning heavily towards pink. Think coral). At the front you get a new two-part headlamp design with vertical LED daytime running lights, while the pert rear end has a solid glass hatch lid with taillamps that look very three-dimensional. The black roof against the bright colour tops off the futuristic-type look. The interior plastic can match the interior, which at first, admittedly, felt like a bit much in this particular colour. I got used to it in the end though and I figure that if you choose a more everyday colour (i.e. a primary colour of sorts), it would look just fine.

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The model on test was the C1 Airscape of which the highlight is the retractable roof. It’s not a convertible, but it’s too massive to be considered a sunroof. At least I think so. It allows for the feeling of topless driving with the rigidity of a hardtop. There is some wind noise when the roof is closed, but it’s not alarming. Other nifty features I enjoyed on this car include the multimedia system that has Bluetooth phone connectivity. With this system, I was able to make calls and send quick messages (when it was safe to do so) all via the touch screen interface. This interface also allows access to driver information such as range and fuel economy. Speaking of which, Citroën claims a fuel consumption of 4,3 litres/100 km while emitting 99g/km of CO2.

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This little 1,2 engine pushes out 68 kW and 116 N.m of torque. The torque kicks in at 2 750 r/min so pull-aways are strong and it’s easy to make quick overtaking manoeuvres. Gearing is short and the only issue I had was that, at slow speeds, first gear felt like too low a gear while second gear felt too high at those same speeds. At cruising and highway speed, however, the Citroen felt more than capable of eating up the miles and actually felt like quite a leisurely cruiser.

Standard features on this Airscape model include 15 inch alloy wheels, roof colour door mirrors, climate control, reverse camera, the aforementioned audio system that is MP3 and USB compatible plus allows the driver to mirror their phone display on the 7-inch colour screen, satellite controls on the steering wheel, front electric windows, electric mirrors and power steering. Safety items ABS with EBD and brake assist, electronic stability control, hill start assist, driver, front passenger, front lateral and curtain airbags, Isofix anchorages at the back and central locking.

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It’s a compact little thing at 3 460 mm long, 1 620 mm wide and a wheelbase of 2 340 mm. But it’s still able to accommodate five doors, which really is handy especially since not many cars in this small boutique hatch segment can offer the same.

While we’re on competitors, if you’re shopping in this segment also look at the Volkswagen Up! as well as the Toyota Etios Cross. The latter, honestly, doesn’t feel as solid as the C1 or the Up!, but it’s quirky and a fun little car with lots of standard specification.

The Citroën C1 Airscape retails for R 194 900. The entry-level C1 Feel is R 168 900. Look out for a more pocket-friendly 1,0 coming later this year.

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