Currently reading: New Citroen C1 - first pics
Grainy spy images show the next-gen DS-inspired Citroen C1, due by 2012, for the first time

Citroën is planning to give its baby model a dash of DS-like style for this next generation, due by 2012.

These grainy spy images of a prototype C1, almost certainly captured on a mobile phone during a customer clinic, reveal that Citroën is planning to incorporate much more adventurous surfacing than on the current car. That is particularly apparent around the C-pillars, which morph into a roof-mounted rear spoiler.

The next-gen C1 does retain some elements of the current car, however. The rear hatch appears set to remain as a single piece of glass.

See the first spy pics of the new Citroen C1

Citroën needs the C1 to grow up slightly, having axed the C2 in the spring. So the next-gen model will be around 15cm longer than the current car. That should push its dimensions towards those of the 3.6m-long Renault Twingo, seen by PSA Peugeot Citroën as a key rival.

The new C1 will, as now, be cast from the same mould as Peugeot’s baby car (to be called 108) and Toyota’s Aygo. Individualisation of all three models will be focused on the front and rear ends. Concerns over cost mean some of the side body panels are almost certain to be shared across the trio.

The C1 is likely to have more daring styling than the 107, though, as part of PSA’s strategy. The firm’s product chief, Vincent Besson, told France’s l’Automobile magazine that Citroën would be the brand “taking risks, opening new territories” while Peugeot would be “the reference”.

Read Citroen's plans for more DS models

At the heart of the new cars will be a new three-cylinder engine, developed by PSA. In normally aspirated 1.0-litre form, it is said to develop just 74bhp, but the range will include more powerful variants, including a 133bhp 1.2-litre turbo version. The more modest unit is said to be delivering 95g/km of CO2 emissions in a C3, so it should be capable of less than 90g/km in the smaller, lighter C1, 108 and Aygo.

The new powerplants will be made at a factory in Douvrin in the Pas-de-Calais region. PSA announced in the spring that it is investing €175 million (£148m) in the facility in preparation for three-cylinder powerplants. The factory will be able to build up to 320,000 units per year, starting in 2013.

C1 sales are said to have held up better than those of the 107 and, in particular, the Aygo. Toyota sold fewer than 8500 examples in the car’s ‘domestic’ market, France, between January and September, but Citroën shifted almost 24,000 C1s there during the same period. The car represents 10 per cent of the company’s ‘home’ sales.

Read Autocar's road test of the current Toyota Aygo


Read our review

Car review

The Citroën C1 is the cheapest of the C1-107-Aygo triplets. The city car is cute, but noisy and basic

Back to top

Toyota has already recommitted to a continuation of the current production contract, under which all three models are produced at a plant in Kolin, Czech Republic. Its input into the project is said to have been important in maximising the cars’ profitability.

Citroën is being freed up on the C1 because it is already working on a separate range of purer, more minimalist models that will sit alongside it in its line-up. These new models will have fewer ‘premium’ features but, crucially, not a radically lower price.

The first car in this new strategy is likely to take styling cues from the C-Cactus concept, shown at Frankfurt in 2007. PSA design boss Jean-Pierre Ploué told Autocar in the summer that the new sub-brand — which Citroën considers a separate division, along with DS, its regular models and Picasso MPVs — will be “a brand not defined by price but by simplicity and ingenuity of design”.

Insiders say that while the C-Cactus’s looks are being toned down for production, its core shape is being retained to produce a radical-looking five-door. It’s likely to arrive soon after the C1, in late 2012 or early 2013.Citroën still plans to use the C1’s small increase in size to broaden the model’s scope. The new baby’s line-up is likely to include everything from three-door and five-door variants to a spec-laden ‘Exclusive’ trim level.

John McIlroy

See all the latest Citroen C1 reviews, news and video

Join the debate

Add a comment…
Phinehas 23 November 2010

Re: New Citroen C1 - first pics

If it is to be bigger, albeit only by a bit, perhaps Citroën will call it the C2 and leave room for a super-small C1 later.

It's a problem for a manufacturer to adopt a numbering system based on size though because they become hostages to their own devices.

rhw0104 22 November 2010

Re: New Citroen C1 - first pics

15cm isnt much maybe its going to be the saxo that the C2 never was. The styling looks great as far as one can tell but the best bit is the engines zero road tax 1.2 turbo go cart.

This could be a real winner hopefully the car the C2 always should of been a real replacement for the saxo/106.

Do we think they will make a DS1???

david RS 22 November 2010

Re: New Citroen C1 - first pics

Larger larger... Stop that!

How to park the cars in the future?

Else it seems interesting. Wait and see...