Citroën’s most compact car; the incredibly nimble, agile, spirited, city-friendly, frugal and actually downright ingenious C1, has been upgraded. Yes, we agree that it is hard to believe, but it is now even better than before, making it the perfect accessory for those who have reached the conclusion that Little is the new Big.

Citroen C1

Its global popularity is undeniable and already over 600 000 have found homes, and the 2012 version looks set to keep the graph heading for the top right-hand corner of the page.

To achieve that, it now boasts an even more economical version of the characterful 1.0-litre three-cylinder powerplant and carbon dioxide emissions are down to just 99 grams per kilometre – the first petrol-engined Citroën to step into two-figure territory. Yet power remains unchanged at a handy 50 kW, more than sufficient to tackle the suburbs, even with a full load of passengers. Fuel consumption has dropped to a remarkable 4.3 litres per 100 km in the combined cycle – a saving of more than a mugful of the precious liquid compared to the previous version.

Citroen C1 2012

Under-the-skin changes extend to revised electric power steering for improved feel and feedback and recalibrated shock absorbers for added comfort without compromising the grip the tyres have on the tarmac.

The appealing and playful body styling gets updated too, gaining a more expressive front end. The bumper has been entirely redesigned to house LED daytime running lights on Seduction models, which is still a rarity in the segment. The rear view is pleasingly familiar and the new C1 retains the innovative all-glass tailgate, which is framed by harmonious crystal and anthracite lights that merge naturally with the bumper.

The South African line-up continues as a two model range, the Attraction and the Seduction – the latter with electric front windows, as well as an additional pair of side airbags and ISOFIX seat-mountings. The Seduction model boasts air conditioning and a CD player as standard but now with Citroën’s integrated Connecting Box (which comprises Bluetooth and a USB socket) as an option.

Several upgrades have also been made to the C1 cabin, particularly in terms of the interior design scheme.  The barrel-shaped display below the central console features new screen-printing for more clarity and modernity, and new upholstery designs, and a more ergonomically shaped gearlever, complete the changes

Luggage capacity is still 139 litres (expandable to 700-odd thanks to the 50:50 split rear seat) but boot access has been improved.  There are a further 12 stowage compartments, so that the paraphernalia which comes with modern living can be safely and conveniently packed away.

Pricing of the facelifted is R99 900 for the Attraction and R120 600 for the Seduction. “Our new positioning allows us to compete head on in this competitive segment where consumers are conscious of monthly costs. It is also significant that the Attraction model can be tailored by the customer to up spec their car depending on their budgets and desires,” says Grant Bowring, GM Marketing for Citroen SA. “This is the first step of many in positioning our Brand as top of mind on the buyers shopping lists.”

Further to this, peace of mind offering is essential and to this end all Citroen C1 models are sold with a 3 year 100 000km warranty and optional service plan.