The BASIC automobile is a thing of the past, with cars becoming more and more technologically advanced with each passing year.
Most new models offer sophisticated security features, smart infotainment systems, and types of stand-alone functions that would have looked like science fiction just a decade ago.
Some cars are capable of fording deep rivers, climbing mountains, or traveling at 200 mph.
But not everyone appreciates the size or power of these modern behemoths, or the price tag that goes with them.
There are lots of motorists out there who just want simple, easy driving and back to basics.
And that’s where the Citroën Friend comes in. It’s the perfect little runabout, for people who don’t need a big, heavy, expensive car.
Priced at around £ 6,000, the Ami is technically a quadricycle, which means it isn’t as safe or as capable as a normal car.
And with a top speed of just under 30 mph, you’re unlikely to go on any major road trips.
But if you’re just driving around town, this little electric vehicle is an efficient, eco-friendly tool for people who don’t need the world to see them in a BMW.
Opening of Citroën Ami order books
More than a thousand people – 1,100 and over – have registered their names (and £ 250) for one of these curious little engines, and many more are expected to hire one when they become more widely available.
An expected price of around £ 6,000 – roughly equivalent to the cost of the car in its native France – makes it one of the cheapest cars you can buy new.
Although anyone who wants to travel on main roads would be better off buying a used hatchback, which will be a more capable vehicle.
That £ 6,000 price tag is on par with a motorcycle, with a representative 500cc like Honda’s CB500X costing roughly the same.
Rent a Citroën Ami by the hour
The car was designed as an urban mobility solution as much as a car of one’s own.
Citroën’s vision is for the Ami to be rented by the minute, as you would with a Santander cycle or a scooter without a dock.
This reduces reliance on car ownership while still allowing city dwellers to drive when they need to, such as when it is raining or if they have luggage.
Citroën will also offer the Ami for longer-term rental. But would this be your next car?
There are obvious shortcomings, top speed being one of them. It is limited to 45 km / h, or about 28 mph. This means that you will be driving 2 mph under the speed limit in many UK cities.
It’s also very basic, with smart cost-cutting details that set it apart from most mainstream cars.
And it lacks modern amenities like a radio, satellite navigation system, and advanced air conditioning.
In France, this basic type of car can be driven by 14-year-olds, and people who – for whatever reason – do not have a full driver’s license.
But in the UK you need a full license, which means it competes with perfectly decent near-new sedans that you can buy for around the same price.
Whether you want to spend £ 6,000 on a small plastic car or the same for a two year old Vauxhall Corsa, it depends on your lifestyle.
But thanks to a low purchase price and the ability to hire one for short trips, you can expect to see a lot of them on UK roads next year.
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