A semi-Lagrangian code for the solution of the electrostatic drift-kinetic equations in straight cylinder configuration is presented. The code, CYGNE, is part of a project with the long term aim of studying microturbulence in fusion devices. The code has been constructed in such a way as to preserve a good control of the constants of motion, possessed by the drift-kinetic equations, until the nonlinear saturation of the ion-temperature-gadient modes occurs. Studies of convergence with phase space resolution and time-step are presented and discussed. The code is benchmarked against electrostatic Particle-in-Cell codes. (C) 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.