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.