Citroen C2 VTS 2008

Everything in our lives is getting more expensive, and first and foremost, of course, it’s not food, but fuel. It’s precisely its increase in price that will inevitably lead to a rise in the average supermarket bill, and it’s something we can’t live without until “electric cars” become widespread and accepted in our minds. So, how do you stay afloat, commuting every day by car? The answer is simple – buy a compact hot hatch.

The culture of “hot” hatchbacks didn’t emerge yesterday and had fertile ground. Not every car enthusiast wants or can afford a big engine, which is invariably accompanied by an equally large cruiser. Besides personal taste preferences, such a vehicle requires more parking space, more fuel, more expensive spare parts, and so on. That’s why, back in the 80s, VW created the concept of a front-wheel-drive hatchback with a relatively powerful engine, sporty interior (often exemplified by installing Recaro seats), upgraded brakes, balanced suspension, and similar tuning. The first was the Golf GTI, and the number of followers is countless. And if in Russia such configurations somehow bypassed public recognition, in Europe they enjoy steady demand. Particularly, the hero of our article, the C2 VTS.

The Citroen C2 went on sale in 2003 as a successor to the Saxo model. Its classification initially raised questions, as the B-class already had the five-door C3. But later it became clear that the French were thus making a large-scale expansion into the supermini class, where they traditionally had the highest chances of good sales.

The formula for success of the new model was its maximally small size, framed by the body of a three-door hatchback. Just over 3.5 meters in length and just over 1.5 meters in width – such cars had stable demand in European markets due to the lack of parking spaces. A weight of a ton and small-capacity engines provided fuel savings and various tax and insurance benefits.

Externally, the car looks quite good, without causing any repulsion or associations with the Daewoo Matiz: the French were not drawing a compact car for the first time and succeeded in this. The rear side window looks like hell for a perfectionist, as its lower edge runs below the front side window. But this is a tribute to useful glazing, so let’s not consider that the front and rear parts were drawn by different designers. But the rear door consists of two halves: upper and lower. This solution, once used in the Civic 5th, reappeared with the French, and I’m almost sure you’ll fall in love with it.

Basic versions of the car came with engines of 1.1, 1.4, and 1.6 liters. Acceleration to 100 km/h varied from 17 to about 11 seconds, which was quite acceptable considering the average consumption of around 8 liters of 95 petrol for the most powerful engine. There was a choice of either manual transmissions or the SensoDrive robotized transmission, actively promoted by Citroen. However, the “robot” from the French turned out, like most first robotized transmissions, not too successful, even though it had a mechanical mode and paddle shifters.

The interior is simple and straightforward, but maximally functional. The seats are basic – at a maximum speed of 160 km/h (for the base versions with 1.6) you won’t need to take a high-speed turn at full throttle. Well, that’s what Citroen thought. But the 2+2 formula allowed for making separate rear passenger seats fold independently of each other, allowing you to quickly transform the modest trunk into a fully-fledged one.

But all these discussions of the interior are just a prelude before two truly interesting configurations: VTR and VTS. VTR is, in fact, the maximum configuration with a slightly more interesting appearance, a 1.6-liter engine, and a bunch of options. But the VTS, which you see in the photographs, is a full-fledged hot hatch in the style of Corsa OPC and Fiesta ST. A 1.6-liter engine with 125 hp paired with a manual transmission can accelerate the modest three-door to 100 km/h in 8 seconds – quite a decent acceleration for 2003. But the whole essence of the car, according to the manufacturer, should be revealed in turns – and yes, it really works! Suffice it to say that this body became the “combat” one in WRC in the S1600 class – even Sébastien Ogier drove it!

The beauty that came to our pages today went even further – it was taken to Kraero, fitted with a Clinched expansion kit, splitter, diffuser, side skirts, and spoiler. XXR R17 wheels perfectly complemented the image of an urban sports car – that’s exactly how I would describe such tuning of tiny hatchbacks. A coilover suspension was also installed at the front, and just springs with lowering at the rear – it turned out low enough to be called stylish, and not enough to put planks before speed bumps. Going into the engine itself is an ungrateful task in this case, but fitting a Super Sprint exhaust manifold and a Turboworks track was vitally necessary for quality sound. The interior is harmoniously complemented by Bride sports bucket seats and an OMP steering wheel. You can assess for yourself how much the appearance of the car has changed – just find a photo of the factory car on the Internet.

The most amazing thing about this car is that it’s really a daily car. While you’re driving a Polo and sure that it’s simply impossible to drive anything smaller and lower every day – the C2 takes and does. Of course, everything depends on goals and tasks, but you’ll agree – the car is ideal for city trips.