The clever engine and gearbox combination, but the diesel C2 is a better bet.
14 April 2006

What's new?

Conduct a road test by actively seeking out jams and slow-moving traffic? It may sound crazy, but it’s just the thing to try out Citroën’s new C2 Stop & Start. We’ve been here before, of course, with the C3 Stop & Start, and its baby sister is very similar, but smaller.

With up to 30 per cent of every urban car journey spent stationary, a system that switches the engine off when you come to a halt and restarts it the moment you lift off the brake pedal seems like a wise idea. British drivers don’t seem to agree, though: we’ve bought just 350 C3 Stop & Starts in the past 16 months.

So why should Citroën bother with a C2 version? Because it can. The 90bhp 1.4-litre petrol engine and Sensodrive gearbox are lifted straight from the C3, and Citroën is confident that the smaller car will enjoy higher sales – around 1000 a year – with environmental concerns becoming increasingly high-profile.

What's it like?

Certainly the smaller car feels better suited to the technology than the awkward C3.

The only telltale to the engine’s state is a small green ‘Eco’ logo on the dashboard which lights up when the powerplant switches off. With very little shudder or noise when it restarts, your passengers could easily be unaware of the under-bonnet trickery.

Weighing 75kg less than the C3, the C2 also feels a lot swifter than the claimed 13.0sec 0-60mph time thanks, in part, to slicker gearchanges on the revised Sensodrive gearbox.

Should I buy one?

But even with standard air-con, rear parking sensors and side airbags, £10,690 is a lot to pay for a car like this. Especially when the more economical 1.4 HDi diesel is £130 cheaper.

Nat Barnes

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