First drive: 2014 Citroen C1
The new Toyota Aygo is clearly aimed at the younger buyer, as the sharp front end styling and Manga-esque proportions will appeal to those weened on comic books.
Peugeot's upcoming 108 will likely be the most chic offering, striking a chord with the fashion conscious buyer looking to move away from Fiat's now dated 500.
Somewhere in the middle sits the C1 - a practical urban run-around that looks cool but doesn't push the envelope too far, features a host of helpful tech and doesn't cost the earth.
We went to a football-frenzied Amsterdam to find out if it's any good...
What is it?
In short, it's a complete overhaul of Citroen's popular C1 model. Revised chassis and suspension settings will be welcome news for those used to the jarring ride of the previous model, as will the improved infotainment system that now packs some seriously useful technology. Stylish revisions to the exterior also help to drag the model into 2014.
What's under the bonnet?
Just two engines will be available from launch and they both drink from the green pump. The 1.0-litre, three-cylinder VTi unit packs 69bhp and comes mated to either a five-speed manual or Citroen's slightly clunky ETG auto 'box. It can also be specified with fuel-saving Start/Stop technology. A more potent 1.2-litre, three-cylinder unit boasting 82bhp is also on offer and because it powers such a tiny car, actually makes for quite a sprightly drive. Don't expect the Aygo to keep up as the Japanese marque has opted not to stock this powerplant.
What's the spec like?
In an uncharacteristically French move, the trim levels are fairly easy to navigate and the majority of equipment comes as standard. Hill Assist, which automatically holds the car on inclines over 3 per cent, is gratis, as is the eco-friendly gear change indicator. Customers should splash a little cash on the 7-inch touch tablet as it not only looks fantastic, it also packs Mirror Screen that allows drivers to access a number oh smartphone apps while driving. The sound system is fantastic and the plethora of interior personalisation options will ensure every C1 is pretty much bespoke to the buyer.
The previously mentioned models from Toyota and Peugeot will likely be the hottest rivals but Skoda's CitiGo, VW's Up and Seat's Mii have proven to be big hits with customers. Regardless, the new Citroen instantly feels like a more premium product than both Skoda and Seat's offerings.
What's it like to drive?
The list of improvements over the previous model is longer than the Redux edition of Apocalypse Now. A lighter rear axle, new suspensions springs, enhanced shock absorbers and a new anti-roll bar equate to a much improved ride and new electric power steering makes navigating the city streets a doddle. Even the cracked and cobbled roads of Amsterdam were no match for the plucky C1, it sucked up the imperfections like they were going out of fashion – which, as us Brits know all-to well, are not.
The AOL Cars verdict
The latest C1 is a vast improvement over the old model as it now offers a driving experience that won't put buyers off tackling longer, more challenging journeys. Interiors are still basic but perfectly acceptable and the option of a large, retractable canvas roof on Airscape models offers a unique selling point (£850) that is often too pricey on rival cars. Choosing a C1 over its Peugeot and Toyota siblings will likely be a decision based on personal taste rather than one based on technical ability but we can safely say that the revvy 1.2-litre engine in such a tiny frame is bags of fun and well worth a test drive
Engine: 1.2-litre, three-cylinder petrol
Max speed: 117mph
0-60mph: 11 seconds
Emissions: 99 g/km