Citroen's new C1 quietly slipped into our country and we got to grips with the cheapest convertible on sale in South Africa.
Yes, this is a convertible. Unlike traditional convertibles where the entire roof section disappears into the boot, the Citroen C1 Airscape relies on a sardine can-style system where the roof peels back, resulting in a giant sunroof effect. The bonus and advantages of this are numerous.
Firstly, you can close the roof while you're driving at high speed, something ordinary convertibles simply cannot do. No more pulling over to close the roof as the rain starts coming down. Secondly, with the windows and structure of the car, you cannot have beggars in your face, something I've found happens when you drive a conventional convertible.
AppearanceAs for the looks, have you ever seen something which just oozes French flair and charm? This is such a cute-looking little car and many onlookers passed on kind words. With integrated vertical daytime running LEDS in the bumper like its DS3 sibling, the C1 Airscape is unmistakably a Citroen. There's a nice big shiny Citroen chevron slapped on the front for good measure. There's also some horizontal coloured stripes on the B-pillar, which is a funky touch.
The fun continues in the interior with the same funky stripes being the dominant theme. The seat sides and headrests have this same pattern on them, and there's huge splashes of red on the dashboard. If you're an introvert, you're going to find this car a little too loud, but I think its terrific especially when most cars are pretty dull and uninspiring.
SpecificationSpeaking of interior, this little French charmer comes with a commendable amount of standard specification. The centre console is dominated by a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system. There's also a USB port, aux input and Bluetooth connectivity. What's particularly cool is the mirrorscreen functionality, where you're able to connect your smartphone to the car and use the touchscreen interface to use certain apps.
There's also a climate control system which is just about able to cope with the African sun, a comprehensive trip computer as well as a reverse camera. Nice things like tyre pressure monitor and hill assist are also thrown in. It's pretty safe too, with ABS with Electronic Brake Distribution and Emergency Braking Assistance, Electronic Stability Control, Hill Start Assist, and driver, front passenger, front lateral and curtain airbags.
It's a fun and lively city car to drive. The Citroen C1 Airscape has a 1.2-litre three-cylinder engine delivering 61 kW and 116 Nm. This may not sound like much, but when you consider the C1 Airscape weighs in at around 956kg, it gives it a respectable power to weight ratio. Fuel economy is what the C1 Airscape is all about and Citroen claims a combined cycle figure of 4.3L/100km. Thanks to its fun factor and zippy attitude, we were nowhere near this figure, but 6.9L/100km is still okay.
Conclusion and SummaryThis is a seriously cute car from Citroen and it's fun to drive. It brings out the child in you with its vibrant character, the specification is generous too. It loses marks due to its price, which is quite large for such a vehicle. I'd put this cost down to a ridiculous exchange rate and import duties, which is a real pity as the world needs more cars with massive personality.
Citroen C1 Airscape Price - The range starts from R168 900, with the Airscape retailing for R194 900.
Second OpinionThe Citroen C1 Airscape is a fun car to whizz around in, it responds quickly to all imputs and doesn't feel lethargic at higher speeds. I'm not one for convertibles so this is a better compromise if looking a bit like a magic carpet on your roof. If only it didn't cost so much-Ashley Oldfield
We Like: Style, specification, fun to drive, cool factor
We Don't Like: Price, air conditioner battles to chill, may be too vibrant for some
Citroen C1 Airscape Quick Specs
|Engine||1.2-litre, three cylinder|
|Wheels||15-inch alloy wheels|
|0-100km/h||11 seconds (claimed)|
|Top Speed||170 kph|
|Fuel Economy||4.3L/100km (claimed)|
|Fuel Tank Capacity||35 Litres|