Fleet News

Citroen C2 VTS

Citroen

Review

SOME fleet operators might not be that familiar with the diminutive C2, but there’s a generation of buyers who will be falling over themselves to buy this latest VTS model.

That’s largely due to the success of its Saxo predecessor, a car that is still held in high regard by those brought up on a diet of modified hot hatches via the hallowed pages of Fleet News’ sister title Max Power.

Combined with the larger five-door C3 and multi-faceted Pluriel, Citroen’s supermini line-up is comprehensive.

While the sporty, range- topping VTS version of the C2 might not be an immediately obvious choice for fleets, it makes a compelling argument for itself when you consider the desirability factor.

Some 40% of C2 sales to date have been of more sporting models and it’s not unusual to see urban-bound fleets running Minis or smarts emblazoned with company logos. It seems small, desirable and youthful cars are an effective and inexpensive fleet solution for many.

With around 56% of small cars being sold with three-doors, it is not disadvantaged here either. Legroom in the rear is tight for passengers if the front seats are positioned comfortably, but the rear seats fold with ease and the split rear tailgate is useful too. It is certainly an attractive car, the combination of larger 16 inch alloys, front foglamps and deeper front and rear body coloured bumpers transform the C2’s looks.

As such it is sure to attract younger fleet drivers, or just those looking for a small, inexpensive, yet credible performance car.

At £11,995 it’s priced only marginally above its VTR sibling, with just £400 difference if you’ve opted for air con on the VTR, it being standard with the VTS. Add group 8 insurance (the first year’s offered free to retail customers), and it looks promising, but consumption of 40.9mpg and emissions of 163g/km are only average in this class.

Behind the wheel

Get into the C2 and there’s a vast amount of space up front. The bolstered seats provide good support and adjustment and the reach/rake steering wheel allows everyone a good fit behind the wheel. Visibility is good too.

The cabin may be improved with sporting touches like a leather wheel and chrome door handles, but the C2 still fails to match rivals for quality feel and look. While that’s perhaps forgivable in cheaper versions in VTS guise the C2 it’s priced against rivals with interiors it simply cannot match.

Its 1.6-litre 16v engine produces 125bhp, but it needs revving hard to perform well, and although its 105 lb-ft of torque is delivered in a relatively flat curve you’ll find the need to drop gears for punch. Citroen quotes a 0-62mph time of 8.3 seconds - there’s no reason to doubt this, but it all gets rather raucous when it’s pushed.

Coming with a standard five-speed manual transmission, albeit with altered ratios, it’s mated to a light clutch. The shift is rather long in throw and not the most accurate, but it’s still far superior to the SensoDrive paddle operated shift of the VTR.

Thicker anti-roll bars and firmer suspension settings stiffen up the VTS, to the detriment of the ride on rougher surfaces. Add steering that although quicker lacks feel and the VTS is not as rewarding to drive as it might be. What it does feel though is safe. Even with the ESP switched off the VTS grips doggedly, and the brakes worked well even when pushed hard during a track test.

Driving Verdict

A smart looking and inexpensive step on the hot hatch ladder. Not the most rewarding drive, but it’s still fun and feels very surefooted. Backed up with ABS with EBD, and ESP and you’ll be happy to put younger drivers in it. Factor in an additional £150 if you want side window airbags though.

Engine (cc): 1587
Max power (bhp/rpm): 125/6500
Max torque (lb-ft/rpm): 105/3750
Top speed (mph): 126
0-62 (secs): 8.3
Combined economy (mpg): 40.9
CO2 (g/km): 163
Fuel tank capacity (l/gal): 41/9
Transmission: 5 speed man
On sale: Now
Price (OTR): £11,995

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.

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