OVER the years I have been a motoring journalist I have been lucky enough to drive some exotic machinery from Rolls Royce convertibles to McLaren supercars but nothing has provoked as much interest as our latest test vehicle.

From gobsmacked schoolboys to bemused car drivers the tiny Citroen Ami gets lots of smiles and thumbs ups as you trundle along in what is a very radically different vehicle from all others on the road.

For a start it looks like something from a 1970s science fiction film and is pure electric with a 46 mile full charge range. At only 241 centimetres long and 139 wide is small – making even my Mini look big – and weighs in at only 471kg. There’s just room for two people and a storage area for one large bag and the two doors open in opposite directions with the driver (LHD only) stepping out forwards and passenger alighting in a more traditional way.

The bodywork is plastic and there are no sun visors, internal rear view mirror or radio but there is a heater and a smart phone connection with a convenient dashboard cradle meaning you can access sat-nav and entertainment services via apps.

Citroen point out that it is not a car but is classified as a quadricycle in the UK so can be driven on a moped or motorcycle licence (in France by anyone over 14 and here, technically, anyone over 16)  but due to its speed restriction (28mph) it cannot legally go on motorways.

Given all that the Ami is a hoot to drive, a bit like a space age golf buggy causing lots of interest wherever you go. Just get in and press the D button and you’re off with that 28mph maximum coming up in a reasonable 10 seconds so keeping up with city traffic is no problem.

The Ami handles quite well over the bumps and around corners with its low centre of gravity and because it is so small has an amazingly small turning circle – it can even be parked nose in to the kerb because it is as long as most cars are wide.

It charges up from zero in three hours and a neat feature is that when you plug it into the mains via a three pin plug stored inside the passenger’s door frame (a rapid charge adapter is also supplied) the Ami tells you at what time it will be finished.

I also like the panoramic glass roof which makes the interior seem roomier than it is and there are lots of little storage areas for your bits and bobs including a big handbag hook in front of the passenger – very Citroen.

As you would expect the interior is quite basic and almost all plastic and at first you do have a weird feeling of driving from the back seat plus it is left hand drive but you quickly adapt and then begin to enjoy all the attention.

Our Ami was the base model Blue version (£8,095 on the road) but there are (slightly) higher spec-ed Amis available boasting such luxuries as decorative roof rails and extra decals.

So if you are a city dweller with an average commute to work the Ami makes a lot of sense – especially as the average speed on most city journeys is less that the Ami’s restricted maximum.

It is basic transport on motorcycle money but in the warm and dry and with a funky twist. Who knows – during upcoming times of austerity we may see lots on our streets like the microcar boom of the 1950s and 60s?

For more information go to www.citroen.co.uk

By Motoring Editor Steve Howarth