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Citroen C1 (2005-2014) Buying Guide

Citroen C1 (2005-2014)
Citroen C1 (2005-2014)Citroen C1 (2005-2014)Citroen C1 (2005-2014)Citroen C1 (2005-2014)Citroen C1 (2005-2014)Citroen C1 (2005-2014)Citroen C1 (2005-2014)Citroen C1 (2005-2014)Pictures shown may not represent exact model specified

by Richard Dredge

Running a car doesn't have to be costly, and if you want the proof, take a look at the Citroen C1. Nimble, perfect for parking around town and surprisingly practical for such a tiny car, ultra-low running costs are the focus of the C1 but this is no one-trick pony. Despite its affordability, this baby Citroen is surprisingly capable on long journeys and while it's not luxuriously appointed, it's comfortable enough. The cars are also reasonably reliable, although build quality is one of the C1's failings; many of the cabin fixtures and fittings are flimsy. But whether you're a new driver or a more experienced one, you'll be having such a laugh driving your C1 that you won't care; the 1.0-litre petrol engine (diesels are incredibly rare) serves up a lot more fun than you'd ever imagine.

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We LikeWe Don't Like
Fun to drive
Imaginative design
Cheap to buy
Cheap to run
Very manoeuvrable
Lots to choose from
Limited performance
Tiny boot
Lacks safety kit
Unrefined
Limited range
Built very cheaply
Key Dates 
3/05The C1 Mk1 arrives with a choice of 1.0-litre petrol or 1.4-litre diesel engines. Buyers can choose between three doors or five and Vibe or Rhythm trim levels.
7/06The Airplay comes with a 1GB ipod and a docking station; it's based on the Vibe.
2/08The C1 Code comes with 14-inch alloy wheels, leather and Alcantara trim plus metallic black paint.
11/08A facelift brings a new nose, slightly lower emissions and marginally better economy, VT and VTR trims and new colour options.
1/09The C1 Splash is based on the VT and comes in blue or white.
1/10A VTR+ trim is introduced with leather and Alcantara trim.
3/12A facelift brings LED daytime running lights and a redesigned nose.
1/14Range revisions mean the Edition replces the VTR and the Platinum supersedes the VTR+. Most C1s now come with extra standard equipment.
Checklist 
  • Water pumps can leak then fail, so check the coolant level in the radiator.
  • The rear wheel brake cylinders can leak, so check for fluid on the brake back plate.
  • Water can leak into the boot via the seals for the rear doors, hatch or light units, as well as the aerial. Check the carpets throughout the car, for damp.
  • Many of these cars were supplied without air-con, ensuring a hot cabin in the summer thanks to the large glass area. Buy a car with air-con if you can.
  • The clutch release bearing is a bit under-specced and as a result it can fail fairly readily. Listen for odd noises as the clutch is engaged and feel for slip.
  • Exhaust back boxes can rot out in little more than two years. However, replacements are very cheap.
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