Citroën C1

I’m not normally one to give cars a nickname and there’s a good reason for that.

It’s because I’m rubbish at it.

I tried it once with a caravan. I can’t remember what I actually called it but my son, who was just six years old at the time, changed it to “Patch”.

That was because the previous owner had given it a mis-matching paint repair near the front door, so “Patch” became its name.

Next thing I tried to find a name for was my old MGB sports car.

I called it Queen B, because I’m an idiot.

My son, who was 12 years old by then, quite rightly changed it to Dylan as a tribute to it usually being the slowest car in the world thanks to its reliability score of 0/10.

It broke down with such regularity that every time I went for a trip in it I didn’t know where I’d be staying that night.

These days I don’t have to think up names because I always have a different car.

Last week, though, I was tempted when I found myself behind the wheel of a new Citroën C1 called the Urban Ride.

It was, I decided, a happy little car.

It may have been small, at just 11ft 4in long, but it was a baby miracle. I loved it.

Why was it so good? Well for starters my daughter has just bought a brand new C1 Urban Ride, and considering how much she paid, it has to be the bargain of a lifetime.

I’m not going to say the exact price, but for a car that’s supposed to cost £13,510 she got hers for considerably less than 10 grand.

Its list of standard kit is absolutely astonishing, even including a full length electric cloth sunroof (see Playtime Pleasers).

It looks like a decidedly cheeky little chap (see Rear Mirror Monster) and considering its tiny size it is remarkably roomy inside.

The fact that it’s got four doors helps in that score.

Provided driver and passengers aren’t particularly large there’s comfortably room inside for four people, and I don’t mean two adults and two children.

Then there’s its lightness and brightness, which adds to an overall sense of being roomy.

My particular car came in a colour called Scarlett (Citroën’s spelling, not mine) and had a white finished dashboard (there are lots to choose from), with smart piano black fittings.

The cloth seats were a mix of office grey and white, which extended up the sides to almost the roof, which was cream and grey.

Even the Urban Ride badged floor mats were white stitched. No wonder there was such an airy feeling inside the car.

Moving to the outside of Mr Happy (I’ll tell you my name for the car at the end) the door mirrors were picked out in white, the rear windows and hatchback were dark tinted and there were white and black Urban Ride decals across both sides.

All four wheel arches were protected by chunky black plastic and the wheels, too, were in polished black.

None of this was flash and over the top. It was just smart, adding to the car’s effect of being business-like, while still being a jolly little chap.

The boot, too, was a surprise. At a metre wide (39in) and 49cm (19in) deep there’s enough space for two suitcases, while folding down the rear seats turns it into a 110cm (43in) luggage loader big enough for golf clubs and an electric trolley.

Under the boot carpet there’s enough space for a full size spare, never mind a space saver.

Mine didn’t have either, just a rubbish blow and go kit, but my daughter got a space saver spare.

On the performance side the C1’s three cylinder Toyota engine is never going to blow the roads to bits, and nor is it supposed to.

To use one of my favourite words it’s “adequate” and that’s all C1 owners want.

It handles reasonably well, it’s quiet, it’s a good cruiser but, most importantly it’s incredibly fuel efficient.

Its WLTP mpg figure may be 51.6mpg but Mr Happy averaged 52.8mpg, mostly achieved on less than fuel efficient trips to the shops, unlike long distance journeys where you can rack up the miles and the mpg at the same time.

So what did I call Mr Happy in the end.

Well, as it was bright red I thought of Firefly, then bettered that with Crimson Crispin.

In the end, though, I settled for Scamp, because that’s exactly what it was: a cheeky, cheery, little chap.

Told you I was hopeless at thinking up decent names.



Citroën C1 Urban Ride.

REAR MIRROR MONSTER: Looks like a baby, with smiley “elliptical” headlights like faces below eyebrows (indicators). Charming, but definitely no monster.

BACKSIDE BEAUTY: It is … if darkened glass is your thing. Tailgate is nearly all black glass, with gorgeous smooth dark tinted lights cutting into it from the sides. Shame it’s spoiled by a near two feet deep bus of a bumper.

PLAYTIME PLEASER: Air con, full length electric cloth sunroof, rear parking camera, heated electric door mirrors, auto lights and wipers,15in 8-spoke black alloys, speed limiter, DAB stereo with steering wheel controls, 7in touch-screen MMI interface, Bluetooth, USB, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and MirrorLink.


NAUGHTY NIGGLES: Sounds like you’ve left the boot open when you fold down the rear seats.

TASTY TOUCHES: Surprisingly large door pockets for such a small car in all four doors.

FAST OR LAST: Don’t expect miracles from a baby car with a baby engine, but the C1 is far from slow, and cruises quietly and economically at 70mph while the engine turns over at just 3,000rpm.

WONGA WONDA: If you get a deal like my daughter did it’s astonishing value.

WOULD CHANTELLE LIKE IT? Definitely. It’s smart, chic and comes with Urban Ride decals to prove it. Chantelle would give it a real name.

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