Skoda Citigo road test

July 26, 2013 | By | In News

The Czech cousin to the Spanish Seat Mii and German Volkswagen Up, the Skoda Citigo is the third model to make up the VW Group’s city car triumvirate. All share identical underpinnings, but the Skoda differentiates itself by offering the cheapest entry point, for very little loss in interior niceties. With the city car market becoming increasingly crowded, Motors.co.uk took to the wheel to find out whether the Citigo is worth your cash.

What is it?

The smallest car in the Skoda range, designed to show that super-economical motoring needn’t feel cheap or pokey, with its clever, boxy styling and four-square stance making it appear much larger than its tiny footprint would suggest. Just the one engine is offered, a tiny 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol in two states of tune: 59bhp and 74bhp. Opt for the GreenTech models, and you’ll get road tax dodging CO2 emissions of under 100g/km and fuel economy as high as 68.9mpg on the combined cycle, though all models get close, offering exceptional frugality and cleanliness.

What is it like to drive?

While the tiny power outputs on offer may sound like a recipe for continual frustration, the Citigo never feels a liability, even in faster traffic. Despite being slower on paper, in real world use the 59bhp version is hard to tell apart from the more powerful option, with both taking well over ten seconds to reach 60mph from a standstill. As such, we’d go for the slower one and pocket the difference.

The car’s wide stance makes it feel stable and secure, particularly on winding roads, where some rivals can start to feel out of their depth. It also gives the sensation you’re driving a much bigger and substantial car than you actually are, meaning you have the confidence to grab it by the scruff of the neck, should the mood take you.

This big car feel continues when you get the Citigo out of its metropolitan comfort zone and onto the motorway. While the engine can feel a little overworked at typical three-lane cruising speeds, the ride remains comfortable, and wind and road noise are kept to acceptable levels.

What is it like inside?

Where in the past, buying a budget car was an acceptance that you were going to spend your life driving around in a sea of ill-fitting scratchy grey plastic. The Skoda is different. Yes, there are some cheaper plastics used in the lower reaches of the cabin, but thankfully everything you see and touch on a daily basis looks and feels substantial. The switchgear is taken straight out of the VW parts bin and exudes high quality, while both the steering wheel and gear knob have a pleasing chunkiness to them. We tested a Citigo in Sport trim, which bestowed additional contrasting dash and seat trims, extra stereo speakers and leather cladding for the steering wheels amongst other trinkets. Overall, the interior feels spacious and airy, and it’s certainly not what you’d expect from a car that starts from under £8,000.

Is it practical?

The Citigo manages that Tardis-like quality of a cavernous interior, which will happily swallow four tall adults for a long journey. Being a tiny city car, the boot is nothing to write home about, though it is usefully larger than it’s nearest rival, the Toyota Aygo; 251 litres playing 139. That gap grows when you fold the seats down, with the Citigo offering 951 litres of load space, where the Toyota only manages to hold 751 litres. In keeping with Skoda’s ‘Simply Clever’ strapline, there are other nice touches such a multimedia holder, which will keep your phone in place just-so, for easy fiddling on the move (not that we promote that kind of thing).

Should I buy one?

Yes, most definitely. Its ability to be comfortable and eager, despite its tiny size and engine means the Citigo stands proud in its class, and is even good enough to shame some larger superminis. Thanks to its VW parents, it will provide years of hassle free, reliable and economical motoring, while it’s cheeky styling won’t show you up as a miser. We like the Citigo a lot, and we’re sure you will too.

Don't want to buy new? You can browse for a used Skoda Citigo in our classifieds here.

The facts

Skoda Citigo Sport 3-dr

List price: £10,290
Engine: 1.0-litre, three cylinder, petrol
Power: 59bhp
Top speed: 99mph
0-62mph: 14.4 seconds
Fuel economy: 50.4mpg (urban), 72.4mpg (extra-urban) 62.8mpg (combined)
Emissions: 105g/km CO2
Euro NCAP rating: 5 stars

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