New diesel C2 VTS will be cheap to keep, but that doesn't make it an appealing car to drive

What is it?

Citroen has added a 1560cc HDi diesel engine to its C2 VTS hot hatch range, in a move to improve economy and running costs without sacrificing the urgency needed from a performance hatch.

This alternative diesel VTS delivers just 108bhp compared with the petrol’s peaky 123bhp, but it does get more torque (141 lb ft) and returns a wallet-friendly 64mpg combined. In blending that with racy styling, Citroen is trying harder than ever to entice cash-strapped young enthusiasts.

What’s it like?

Despite the badge, it’s not much fun. The rev-happy petrol twin-cam was the original C2 VTS’s best asset and, despite a hefty slug of mid-range shove, the diesel just doesn’t encourage spirited driving in the same way. It will hit 60mph in 9.4 seconds but somehow never feels lively or enthusiastic.

Progress is further hampered by a slack and imprecise gearshift, a poorly damped and fidgety ride and, unsurprisingly, zero steering feel. The diesel engine’s extra weight also makes this C2 noticeably nose-heavy. So this is no athletic performer but that said, it’s not entirely gutless either, and the boy racer looks will appeal to some, as will the cheap running costs.

Should I buy one?

Costs could be key – the VTS diesel is in twenty-something friendly insurance group 8 and the lowest £35 per year road tax bracket. It’ll also be London congestion charge exempt from 2008, thanks to its lowly 119g/km CO2 emissions.

But the C2 looks and feels outmoded and always had a low-rent finish, making the VTS’ list price of £13,440 seem faintly ridiculous.

Citroen will be introducing it on offer at £10,995 with one year’s free insurance, but don’t be tempted; you’d have loads more fun in a Fiat Panda 100HP, and it’ll be worth the extra it costs you.

Will Powell

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