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Car review – Nifty, nippy city slicker

2015-05-24 15:27

When my best friend came to visit for a week from the US, I had an array of cars to choose from.

But since we were going to spend most of our time in Cape Town, I wanted something small, nippy and cool – something that would be easy to manoeuvre into microscopic city parking spaces, and something that wouldn’t wince when it had to go uphill fast. 

I decided to give the new Citroën C1 1.2 VTi 82 Airscape Feel a bash.

But the C1 isn’t just any old little city slicker. The Airscape part of its name means that the top goes down, or rather, shifts towards the rear like a sardine tin, so the entire roof is open to peruse the beauty of our South African skies. In other words, you get that convertible feeling with the bonus of not having to slow down to a snail’s pace to open or close the roof.

As far as small runabouts go, the new C1 has oodles of personality. Its blunt little nose with daytime-running lights, and funky glass bumper in the rear, are fun and charming. 

When I picked my friend up from the swanky Table Bay Hotel at the V&A Waterfront, I was greeted with enthusiasm by the concierge staff and managed to park right at the entrance, instead of being sent to park over at the designated guest’s area. I may as well have been driving a Mercedes E-Class convertible. 

As Michelle appeared in the lobby with 30kg of luggage, the C1 surprised and impressed me again. We managed to get her very voluminous suitcase as well as a medium bag into the C1’s boot without having to fold the seats flat. She immediately commented on the C1’s funky, two-tone interior. 

So, did the C1 succeed in gratifying my expectations of going uphill with ease? It certainly did. Inside the C1’s tiny body is a little heart that beats strongly.

The C1’s 1.2-litre, three-cylinder engine with an output of 60kW and 116Nm of torque is ample to deal with Cape Town’s erratic typography, as well as the sometimes chaotic N2. We also made two trips to Hermanus via scenic Clarence Drive – with the top down (or to the rear), of course. 

The C1 held its own along the twisties, and with standard safety features like stability control and a whopping six air bags, there is no need for nervousness. 

On average, fuel economy is a pretty good 6.9 litres to 7.1 litres per 100km, but I have to add that I didn’t drive at a very leisurely pace. 

If you’re a fan of clinical car interiors, you’ll probably find the bright C1 a bit loud. But if you like a bit of colour in your life, the C1 will steal your heart. 

The only problem is the fact that this specific model, at R194 900, is quite pricy. 

But on the upside, the C1 is truly well equipped. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

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