The Citroen C1 is a small city hatchback made for those who want to enjoy a safe, relatively comfortable, affordable, and easy to live with experience. Citroen as a brand has been around for quite a while and the C1 is one of their most popular cars out there. These small city hatchbacks are primarily designed for easy maneuverability in crowded European cities.
Reliability-wise, the C1 seems to be doing okay at the moment, but it can’t be considered a particularly reliable car. Most reliability surveys and charts rate the C1 to be mediocre which means that it does suffer from a large variety of issues, some of them worse than others. All in all, it is a car that can fulfill its purpose really well, but it needs constant maintenance.
The most common Citroen C1 problems are associated with the transmission, the car’s equipment, electrical issues, the car not wanting to start, and issues with the seat belts. Most of these are not overly dangerous for the car overall, but they can be if you don’t take care of them in due time.
All in all, the C1 is a decent city beater that should be able to serve you for quite some time. The good news is that these aren’t expensive to buy nor maintain which certainly makes the C1 a worthy consideration both new and used.
Citroen C1 – Transmission issues
The Citroen C1 is available with either a manual or an automatic gearbox depending on what you value more. It is much easier to live with an automatic in busy European streets because you don’t have to think about shifting the gears yourself. The manual on the other hand seems to be fairly popular as well, partly because it costs less.
Either way, owners have reported the C1 transmission to sometimes struggle to go into gear, especially in 1st and 3rd gear. It seems like this issue is associated with poor maintenance as people often forget to replace transmission oil early enough. Some say that this is also connected to a bad selector linkage arm which will have to be replaced.
Citroen C1 – Equipment issues
Probably the most Citroen C1 issues are associated with the car’s equipment such as a faulty door locking mechanism. These issues are mostly down to a blown fuse which can be easily replaced. Be sure to take out your owner’s manual and look for the fuse yourself as this is a really easy part to replace. If this does not solve your issues, chances are that the problem is due to a wiring problem.
Owners have also reported issues with the stereo system, more specifically a stereo system that simply will not turn off. The headlights are known to suffer from inner condensation while the wipers are known to fail as well. The rear window rattles on many C1 models, at least as far as the newer models are concerned.
Citroen C1 – Electrical issues
Electrical issues are also a common occurrence with the C1 because the phone connectivity suite often fails to do its job which is actually connecting the phone to the car. The airbag warning light can also go on and off often and is likely due to an electrical issue of some sort. Moreover, some owners have complained about the car not wanting to turn off its headlights while turned off.
The car’s battery can be drained fairly quickly if you don’t notice this issue, so be sure to check if the car’s headlights and the stereo aren’t turned off when leaving the car overnight.
Citroen C1 – Car not wanting to start
It seems like the C1 also suffers from a variety of issues tied to the car not wanting to start or even stalling. These often seem to be associated with either the starter relay failing or the car’s alternator failing. The fuel pump can sometimes fail as well which will not let you start the car so be sure to check it first if that indeed happens.
A dead alternator can’t charge the car’s battery so be sure to test the alternator if your battery died. Do not buy a new battery before testing the alternator as that can kill the new battery as well.
Citroen C1 – Seat belt issues
The front seat belts on the Citroen C1 are known to refuse to lock themselves which can certainly be a significant safety hazard. The best thing to do at this point is to just replace the whole seat belt locking mechanism. Citroen also recalled a bunch of C1 models from 2020 because their seatbelts wear out too quickly.
Should I buy the Citroen C1?
If you want a small, nippy, and relatively well-equipped city car, the Citroen C1 is certainly a really interesting car to buy. If you are interested in buying one from new, there really aren’t many things to worry about because the car comes with fairly decent warranty coverage.
On the other hand, if you are interested in buying a used C1, you ought to do a pre-purchase inspection in order to be completely aware of how good the car truly is. Also, it is better to avoid high-mileage examples as these little cars aren’t really known to last hundreds of thousands of miles.
Can I buy a Citroen in the USA?
French automakers such as Citroen, Renault, and Peugeot have long been absent from the US market and that is likely not going to change anytime soon. If these brands were to come to the US, they would face stiff domestic competition which has been around for decades.
Did Citroen ever sell cars in the US?
Citroen did sell cars in the US, but they left in 1973 due to poor sales numbers. Citroen was actually the only brand to somewhat breakthrough, but that wasn’t enough for the US market. The Citroen DS and the 2CV were actually quite popular in the US, but that didn’t last long.