Troy Queef

The helm responds rapaciously

Article image
An infectious and fractious buzz rasps through the somnambulant sinews of the rural East Midlands, zizzing off trees and kissing clouds with its insistent ire. Could it be that Kettering is about to suffer another fatal wasp attack? Fear not my friends for this crisp cacophony is not the aural warning of a squadron of stripy stingers but comes from behind the bonnet of a bonny and benign baby. Can you see one? That last sentence is no accidental lapse nor keyboard calamity for the very wheels I’m referring to are indeed C1. Citroen C1.

At the risk of muddying your mind with obvious oxymoron, small is the new large. From the funky fizz of Fiat’s fashionable 500 to the quantifiable quality of VW’s virtuous Up, it’s never been bigger to be little which is why the kids at Cit have given their microhatch a mid-life makeover, all the better to let it surf the trendy wave that splashes onto a beach marked ‘downsizing’. We already know that this is an admirably minimalist sub-B funster but has it been ruined by the automotive analogue of collagen and silicone? Is it lightweight dynamically as well as literally?

I’m finding out in the only way possible – by pedalling across the cream of North Northamptonshire blacktop, giving it a good thrapping towards Thrapston. The brightening buzz that announces my arrival and whirls in my wake comes courtesy of a keen trio of cylinders delivering 67 perfectly preened ponies to the front rubbers. As the revs rise, the buzz strums upwards to thrum and then hum and the little Cit begins to punch above the weight it doesn’t have.

Question is, it soars on the straights but will it sink on the switchbacks? I’m about to plunge my head into a bucket of answers. The brakes feel firm but friendly, like a reasonable teacher. Bang down a change, feel the lever move sweetly, snappy as a photobooth. Initial turn-in comes crisp as the contents of Gary Lineker’s larder, the helm responds rapaciously to my commands, my eyes lock like lasers onto the apex and the Double Chevroned doozy follows my gaze telepathically. As the apex is kissed like a Cornish man on his cousin, I lift loafer from loud pedal and feel the C1’s glassy ass begin to step wide. I simply catch it with a dab of oppo and I’m away.

The Citroen C1 VTR+ is a bitch. And I spanked it.

Troy Queef is Executive Associate Editor-At-Large for DAB OF OPPO magazine