A few months back we got behind the wheel of Volkswagens latest entry into the city car segment, the up!
Skodas new Citigo
is largely the same beast, but do its differences add up to make it a better car than its Volkswagen sibling? Read our first drive verdict to find out.
With sheet metal largely identical to that of the Volkswagen up! and Seat Mii, any preferences in the Skodas styling will be found in the details.
You still get the same solid shape and precise lines of the other cars (save for the three-door up!s kicked-up rear window), but the Citigo is the first Skoda to feature the marques new corporate logo. It ditches the Skoda script and also the green background, and looks a little more upmarket than before.
The same can be said of the Skodas nose, with a chrome-ringed and vertical-slatted grille that actually makes the Skoda look the most expensive of the trio, in our eyes. It may not be as distinctive as the up!s bold VW badge, but some may prefer the more discreet look. Around the back the Citigo has a half glass, half metal tailgate rather than the up!s all-glass unit. Again, its a little less distinctive as a result.
If you do feel like making your Citigo stand out though, youll likely do it with paint shades and styling packs. As youll see in the pictures, one of our test cars was a fairly eye-catching Sunflower Yellow. Red, while, and metallic silver and green shades are also available. A styling pack adds four-spoke alloy wheels, and you can also specify matte-black stripes if youre feeling bold.
Again, its all familiar in here from the up!. The dashboard is simple but stretches quite a distance to the windscreen, enhancing the feeling of space inside. While the design is VWs work, Skoda gives the Citigo its own steering wheel and gearknob, similar to those youll find in the Fabia. Higher-spec models get leather trim on the wheel.
Its easy to find the ideal driving position, with height, backrest and seating position adjustment, and a height-adjustable steering wheel. Space in the back is surprisingly generous, provided the driver and front passenger arent too tall.
The boot is large too. Seats up or down, the Citigo offers the greatest luggage space in the class at 251 litres to 959 litres – equal with its VW and Seat siblings, of course.
We really enjoyed thrashing the little up! around, and guess what? Yup, you get more of the same from the Citigo.
All the controls are incredibly light, from the fairly quick and accurate (but feel-free) steering, to the feather-light clutch and throttle pedal, to the lightly-sprung and easy-to-use gearshift. Its very hard to imagine the Citigo being anything other than an absolute doddle to drive in virtually any situation – even in the worst traffic conditions the UK can conjure up.
Despite sitting on tyres of modest size, the Citigo hangs on gamely through the corners and youd have to be driving like a lunatic to get yourself into trouble. The light body helps here, and conspires with the fingertip-light controls to make the car a willing partner to chuck around country roads and city streets.
The best bit though is probably the ride quality. Like the up!, the Citigo rides like a much bigger car. In fact, thats doing it a disservice – it rides better than many bigger cars.
You know the drill here – for Citigo, refer to up!. There are two engine options, both one of litre and thrice of cylinder, with 59 and 74-PS options. The latter is technically the quicker car, but out on the road theres very little to choose between them, and both have surprising torque given the tiny capacity.
At idle, the engine is near-silent – thats if youve not specified the GreenTech package, as the stop-start system makes it actually silent. Pick up the revs and theres an odd diesel-like clatter, and beyond this it sounds like theres a baby Porsche 911 hiding under the bonnet.
Neither is particularly fast – 13.2 seconds to 60mph and 107 mph top speed are as much as youll see – but both make the best use of their lower gears, so youll have little trouble keeping up with city traffic. The funky three-cylinder burble makes it plenty of fun to try. Our only criticism is that the revs take a while to die away when driving quickly, making smooth gear-changes more difficult – presumably a side-effect of ensuring the engine remains smooth at lower speeds.
Emissions range from 105 grams per kilometre for the basic 1.0 60PS or the 75PS with the Automated Sequential Gearbox, to as little as 96 g/km for the 60PS GreenTech. Naturally, models putting out less than 100 g/km earn free road tax, and congestion charge exemption.
Value for money
The Citigo range kicks off at 7,630 for the 3-door 1.0 60PS Citigo S, and rises to 10,415 for the top-spec 5-door 1.0 75PS ASG automatic in Elegance trim. Skoda is anticipating low depreciation, with 47-51% retained value after 3 years and 30,000 miles.
You can then chuck in several different option packs into each car, with comfort packs, several style packs, safety packs, entertainment options the list is endless.
Both cars we drove were equipped with several options, but we’ve picked out the most important ones below:
Portable Infotainment Device (PID) – A great option, and well worth the price unless youre really keeping to a tight budget. It displays car information (including mpg, range, instant consumption, trip time and average speed), navigation, media, and has the ability to sync with a phone.
Comfort pack – Features seat height adjustment and easier access to the rear in lower-spec 3-door models. If you intend to stay exclusively in the city, its not too important, but extra adjustment in the seat is always welcome for longer trips.
Running costs should be low. As previously mentioned, Citigo GreenTech models qualify for free road tax and zero congestion charge – so even for the price premium, theyre a no-brainer if you live in London.
Fuel consumption is impressive regardless of the model. GreenTech manuals get up to 68.9mpg, but even the 75PS manuals get over 62mpg. Those arent unattainable targets either – the PID was showing as much as 60mpg on average in our 75PS GreenTech test car, and even with substantial thrashing the 60PS SE refused to dip below 50mpg.
Cast aside the nagging feeling that the same car with a VW badge on the front would only set you back another few hundred quid (a virtually unnoticeable amount when buying on finance) and the Citigo is undoubtedly the best value of the up!/Mii/Citigo trio. Its just a pity it loses a few of the up!s cool styling touches.
At over 9,000 it becomes hard to make a case for the Citigo, since you can get a larger Fabia for that sort of cash – but at the lower trim levels its great value.
Our advice would be to buy a basic 60PS model in S trim, spec it up with the Portable Infotainment Device, and enjoy one of the cheapest and highest-quality city cars on the market.
What the press think
The Citigo has gone down well with the wider motoring press, with plenty of praise for the quality, economy and value.
Opinions vary on whether its the pick of the Volkswagen Group city car litter, with some preferring the extra cachet of the VW-badged car for a relatively small extra outlay. Others see it as a car that loses little to the VW, but costs a few hundred quid less.
Buying a new Skoda Citigo
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