The Citroen Ami returns after 42 years as an all-electric quadricycle, and it’s kinda cute

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The 2020 Citroen Ami is an all-electric vehicle based on the Ami One concept that the French company unveiled in 2019. Only 95 inches long and 55 inches wide, the Ami is in fact an elecric quadricycle rather than a full-blown car and it can be driven without a driver’s license.

This makes it accessible to people as young as 16 in most European countries (and 14 in France). Developed as a solution for city commuting over relatively short distances, the Ami is named after the original Citroen Ami, an economy car that the French firm produced from 1961 to 1978. What’s it all about and should you buy one? Find out in our review below.

Exterior

  • Really small
  • Looks like a car, but it’s not
  • Symmetrical design
  • Oposing doors
  • Double-decker lights
  • Some familiar Citroen cues
  • Looks cute
  • Plenty of customization options
2020 Citroen Ami Exterior
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The most striking thing about the Ami is its size. This thing is really tiny at only 2.41 meters (95 inches) long, 1.39 meters (55 inches) wide, and 1.52 meters (60 inches) high.

To put it into perspective, it’s about half the size of a Toyota Corolla sedan, which comes in at 182.3 inches long. But the tiny footprint makes sense given the purpose of the Ami and the fact that technically it’s not a car.

Citroen Ami exterior dimensions
Length 2.41 meters (95 inches)
Width 1.39 meters (55 inches)
Height 1.52 meters (60 inches)

Design-wise, it’s pretty obvious that the Ami is based on the Ami One concept, but the production model looks significantly different. The front and rear fascia are almost symmetrical, while the concept vehicle’s fancy lights have been replaced by more conventional units. The Ami looks a lot like a vintage bubble car. It’s essentially a box on wheels with fancier design cues and a cabin made almost entirely our of glass.

2020 Citroen Ami Exterior
- image 961011

Styling features have been kept to a minimum. The front fascia boasts a two-tier design with headlamps mounted on the lower section and indicators placed on the upper element. This double-decker light signature is borrowed from full-fledged Citroen cars and SUVs. The rear section is almost perfectly identical to the front fascia, with only the slightly smaller window, the roof spoiler, and the red taillights setting it apart.

2020 Citroen Ami Exterior
- image 961012

The profile is also almost symmetrical from bumper to bumper. The door window is flanked by identical quarter windows and the door itself is placed dead in the center of the body. The doors are also completely identical in the opposite direction. You can notice this by looking at the door handles and the trims on their lower section. And yes, the passenger door opens the conventional way, while the driver’s door is rear-hinged.

Citroen says the Ami’s exterior is highly customizable thanks to six color accessory packs, but we will discuss that in a section below.

Interior

  • Room for two
  • A bit cramped
  • Simple, cheap design
  • Colored inserts available
  • Some storage space
  • No comfort features
  • Low-tech overall
  • Glass bubble roof
2020 Citroen Ami Interior
- image 961024
At only 95 inches long, the Ami doesn't offer a lot of space inside the cabin.

But while the two-seat cabin is cramped compared to a regular car, it’s quite obvious that Citroen spent a lot of time designing it in order to make it as roomier and practical as possible. The Ami is clearly devoid of any fancy features, but it looks modern and... well... cute.

The dashboard is a simple piece of plastic, but the upper section was designed as a storage compartment for small items. There’s no center stack and no infotainment display, but the tray attached to the steering column was designed to hold a smartphone. Citroen encourages you to used it as a dashboard for navigation and entertainment. There is a really small display behind the steering wheel, but it only displays basic information about the Ami’s drivetrain.

2020 Citroen Ami Interior
- image 961009

The Ami provides seating for two and the cabin seems tall enough to accommodate tall adults. However, while the driver’s seat has a sliding function, the passenger seat is fixed. There are no electric windows either.

To get air inside the cabin, you need to manually tilt the windows upward. Cleverly enough, Citroen says this old-school feature is a tribute to the iconic 2CV (first introduced in 1948).

The Ami comes standard with a panoramic roof. Combined with the quarter windows and the thin pillars, it turns the entire cabin into a large glass bubble, so you’ll get as much natural light as you can.

When it comes to storage, the Ami features a big recess at the passenger’s feet that can fit a cabin-sized suitcase. There’s a second storage area at the rear, but there’s not much info about it. But it’s safe to say you won’t take the Ami on vacation or long trips, unless you load it into a truck.

Customization packages

2020 Citroen Ami Exterior
- image 961019

To make up for the lack of space and features, Citroen is offering a few customization kits for the Ami. The cool thing is that these are "do it yourself" packages that you need to install. The kit includes a central separation net, a door storage net, a floor mat, a storage tray on the top of the dashboard, a small hook for a handbag, a smartphone kit, and a dongle device connected to the My Citroen app to retrieve information from Ami on your smartphone.

You can also add splashes of color to the exterior by getting a kit that includes colored wheel trims, quarter panel stickers, and a capsule at the bottom of each door. Four colors are available, including grey, blue, orange, and khaki. The same colors are available inside for the dashboard tray, door pull loops, and door trim.

Drivetrain and performance

  • Single electric motor
  • 5.5 kWh battery
  • 8 horsepower
  • Top speed at 28 mph
  • Range of up to 43.5 miles
  • Charges in 3 hours from standard electrical socket
2020 Citroen Ami Exterior
- image 961015

The Citroen Ami is fitted with a single electric motor and a 5.5 kWh battery. The 6 kW electric motor operates at 48 volts and enables the Ami to hit a top speed of 45 km/h (28 mph). That’s far from fast, but more than enough for a bodied quadricycle that your supposed to drive in the city. The battery charges fully in just three hours from a standard electrical socket and provides a range of up to 70 km (43.5 miles).

Citroen Ami specifications
Powertrain 6 kW electric motor
Battery 5.5 kWh
Horsepower 8 HP
Top Speed 45 km/h (28 mph)
Range 70 km (43.5 miles)

How much does the Citroen Ami cost?

2020 Citroen Ami Exterior
- image 961031

As previously mentioned, the Ami doesn’t require a driving license. So on top of being able to buy one with cash, you can access the Ami through different driving programs, like long-term rental and car sharing. If you want to buy one, pricing starts from €6,000 (about $7,360 as of January 2021) including VAT. The sticker doesn’t include eco bonuses and other subsidies for EVs.

The long-term rental of the Ami costs €19.99 (about $24.53) per month, but you also have to make an initial payment of €2,644 (around $3,244) including VAT. Finally, you can drive the Ami through a car-sharing program at €0.26 (about $0.32) per minute.

Is the Citroen Ami an alternative for the Renault Twizy?

Video: Introducing the Renault Twizy Z.E. Concept
- image 320643

Renault launched a similar vehicle back in 2012. It’s called the Twizy and it’s also a quadricycle, but it looks a bit funkier thanks to a smaller body that doesn’t incorporate the wheels and the wheel arches. At 92 inches high, 48.6 inches wide, and 57.2 inches tall, the Twizy is just a tad smaller than the Ami. It’s also a two seater and features a single motor and a 6.1 kWh lithium-ion battery. The Twizy is available with two power outputs of 5.4 and 17 horsepower, respectively. While the former hits a top speed of 45 km/h (28 mph), the latter reaches 80 km/h (50 mph). The electric range is rated at up to 100 km (62 miles), but the Twizy actually achieves around 80 km (50 miles) in real-world conditions. The range-topping Twizy is obviously quicker and provides a bit more range, but it’s also more expensive. The Twizy was originally priced from €6,990, but the French quadricycle now retails from €10,150 (about $12,340 as of January 2021), which makes it notably more expensive than the Ami.

Conclusion

2020 Citroen Ami Exterior
- image 961028

The Citroen Ami is obviously too small for most of a driver’s needs. It doesn’t have a lot of storage room, it can only seat two people, it’s slow and its range is too low for long distances. But the Ami isn’t a conventional car, so we shouldn’t judge it using the same rule book. The Ami is aimed at people who don’t need a car on a regular basis. People who don’t want to get a license just so they can commute or drive to the grocery store a couple of days a week. It could also be a second vehicle used exclusively for short trips in the city, especially if we’re talking about big and crowded cities or areas where it’s difficult to park. Citroen also thinks that the Ami could become a big hit with ride sharing and rental services.

Renault has been selling the Twizy since 2012 and the tiny quadricycle has been somewhat successful with more than 30,000 units delivered globally through 2020. And that’s what prompted Renault to develop several special-edition models and new drivetrains. Citroen could follow the same route here and take advantage of the Ami’s cute appearance to take over this market in a few years. It also looks closer to a real car than the Twizy and I have a feeling that’s a strong selling point for people who want a different alternative to a scooter or a conventional quadricycle.

  • Leave it
    • Could use more range
    • Slow

Citroen Ami history

The Ami name is far from new. This nameplate goes back to 1961, when Citroen introduced a subcompact car with the same name. Although it’s not particularly famous outside Europe, it was one of the best-selling cars in France in the 1960s and it remained in production for an impressive 17 years. The Ami is mostly famous for its fancy appearance. Essentially a rebodied 2CV with mechanical upgrades, the Ami featured a rather unconventional design, combining an organic looking front fascia with oval headlamps and a curved hood with with a boxy rear end and an inverted rear window. The hatchback and the station wagon versions featured a more conventional roof and Citroen even produced a two-door van.

The Ami was also one of the first cars, alongside the Ford Taunus P3, to feature non-round headlamps. Round headlamps were the norm back in the day, so it’s often viewed as a technical innovation that inspired other companies to come up with non-round headlamps shapes.

The Ami was originally launched with a 0.6-liter flat-two engine. These models were called the Ami 6. At first powered by only 22 horsepower, the Ami 6 was upgraded to 26 horses in 1964, 28 horsepower in 1968, and 32 horses in 1969. Citroen also offered an Ami 8 model with the same 32-horsepower unit. The fastest version of the 0.6-liter engine reached only 76 mph, which wasn’t exactly bad for an economy car in the 1960s. But Citroen also produced the Ami Super, powered by a 1.0-liter flat-four engine hood for 55 horsepower. Top speed for this model was a more appealing 87 mph.

2019 Citroen Ami Concept Exterior
- image 824238

For a short period of time, between 1969 and 1971, Citroen produced the M35, a coupe version of the Ami 8 equipped with a Wankel rotary engine. The 1.0-liter rotary generated 49 horsepower and 50 pound-feet of torque, pushing the M35 to a top speed of 89 mph.

Built in factories in France, Spain, Argentina, and Yugoslavia, the Citroen Ami remained in production until 1978, when it was replaced by the Visa. Due to its affordable price and maintenance, the Ami remained popular until it was discontinued, usually selling more than 100,000 units per year. Total production included almost 1.85 million units.

Ciprian Florea
Ciprian Florea
Senior Editor and Supercar Expert - ciprian@topspeed.com
Ciprian's passion for everything with four wheels (and more) started back when he was just a little boy, and the Lamborghini Countach was still the coolest car poster you could hang on your wall. Ciprian's career as a journalist began long before earning a Bachelor's degree, but it was only after graduating that his love for cars became a profession.  Read full bio
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