Many accuse cars of all looking very similar these days, but Citroen has set out to make sure that’s not the case with its funky Ami.
Different to everything Citroen sells, and pretty much any model on the market, the Ami isn’t really a car at all, but rather an ‘electric quadricycle’, which can be driven in some countries by 16-year-olds as a result. In the UK, drivers still need to be 17, however.
Aiming to serve as a cheaper alternative to an electric car for city dwellers and a safer way of getting about than a motorbike, it’s a funky-looking, stripped-out model that certainly gathers attention wherever it goes. Let’s see if it’s worth considering.
Powering the Ami is a small 8bhp electric motor linked to a 5.5kWh battery – both numbers that are considerably smaller than any other electric car on sale today. The Ami is clearly designed for urban areas, with its top speed of just 28mph.
Its small battery allows for a range of 46 miles, while there’s a charging cable built into the passenger door frame with an adaptor, which allows it to be charged with a Type 2 public charging point or with a standard domestic plug. Either way, a full charge can take place in around three hours.
Ride and handling
The Ami exists to serve a purpose, rather than aiming to be engaging. Think of it as a mode of transport, more than anything else. Next to a conventional car, it does seem massively compromised, and its 28mph top speed does severely limit its use unless you never go on a motorway, or leave town.
But its low weight means it’s zippy with the performance that it can use, with a gradual power delivery that is plentiful enough to get out of a junction or nip between traffic. The controls are very light and manoeuvrability is excellent, while a turning circle of 7.2m is brilliant.
There are slight safety concerns about the Ami, though, especially with a high-profile crash in one in Monaco recently when the vehicle rolled over.
Like the Ami’s stripped-back exterior, the same applies when you jump inside the Ami. Citroen has helped to keep the cost down as low as possible, and that’s why most of the cabin is plastic lined. Even the seats are plastic with cushions, while there are straps in place of door handles.
There’s no media system or speakers, either, but rather a clip for you to put your phone in the dashboard, as well as a space to store a speaker. It’s worth adding the Ami is only available in left-hand-drive as well. But visibility is still excellent, thanks to small pillars and plenty of glass.
The Ami is very limited when it comes to equipment, with standard features being limited to a small LCD driver display, USB socket to connect a phone and storage clips. There is a full panoramic glass roof, however.
Standard cars use black plastic wheels, but more stylish trims are available across other trims. There are various different colour packs on offer too, such as the Ami Orange, Ami Blue and Ami Grey, along with sticker packs to make this Citroen stand out further.
By EV standards, the Ami is most certainly cheap. The range starts from £7,695 – a third of what the cheapest new electric car would set you back. It can also be bought for around £99 a month.
An Ami Colour model comes in at £8,095, while prices rise to £8,695 for the Ami Tonic, which gets further personalisation and roof bars.
While it’s hard to doubt just how cheap the Ami will be to run, we reckon it is worth comparing with a cheaper used EV, with plenty of early Nissan Leaf and Renault Zoe models available for within this price. These models will be able to travel further than the Ami and reach higher speeds, too.
The Citroen Ami is a vehicle like no other on the market. It is remarkably stylish and could turn just as many heads as a supercar. As a cost-effective way of getting around a city, it’s hard to beat.
But unless you purely drive locally around a city, its use is fairly compromised. But if that doesn’t concern you, the Ami is an EV that certainly has plenty to offer.