Skoda Citigo review
The Skoda Citigo is one of the best city cars on sale, with big-car features and low running costs, although it’s not quite as cheap as you might expect
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The Skoda Citigo is a little city car that provides big value for money, as well as a lot more space than you might expect. You can choose between three- and five-door bodies, and although the whole range comes with petrol engines, they’re all economical and ideal for getting around town.
Under the skin, the Citigo is the same car as the Volkswagen Up and Seat Mii, and it first went on sale in 2012. Since then, the only significant change came in 2017, when Skoda introduced a series of revisions, including a new bonnet, grille and headlights. However, even with these changes, the latest car hardly looks any different to the original version.
Step inside, and unsurprisingly, the Skoda Citigo’s interior is very similar to the Up’s, if not quite as funky. To some eyes, it might seem a little minimalist, with only a few controls, but the last thing you can accuse it of is feeling cheap. On the contrary, it’s robust and very high-quality, given how little the car costs. And, on most models, many of the functions are controlled through an app on your smartphone, which can be mounted in a holder on the dashboard.
There’s also a surprising amount of space inside. Not only is there plenty of room in the front – with a height-adjustable driver’s seat on most models – there’s also room for a couple of six-footers in the back. And, if you want to use it as a family car, there are two sets of Isofix child-seat fittings in the back.
Again, given how small it is, the Skoda Citigo is impressively practical. There’s a decent amount of storage space inside. The door bins and glovebox are reasonably roomy, and most models also have pockets on the side of the front seats.
Likewise, the boot is one of the biggest you’ll find in a car of this size. It’ll take 251 litres, which is very similar to what you’ll find in the Hyundai i10 and Kia Picanto, and up to taking a baby buggy or large suitcase. On all but the most basic models, the rear seats are 60/40 split and they fold down to give you 951 litres (or 959 in the five-door), which is enough to take a bike, if you remove a wheel.
The Citigo may be one of a set of near-identical triplets with the Seat Mii and VW up, but the Skoda is my favourite
You can only have your Skoda Citigo with petrol engines, and both the 60hp or 75hp versions are fine for getting around town – which is where the Citigo is at its best. However, if you’ll be regularly driving the Skoda Citigo on the motorway, then it’s worth going for the more powerful engine. Most importantly, though, they are both exceptionally cheap to run.
It should be a reassuring car, too, as the Skoda Citigo qualified for a five-star rating when it was tested (as a VW Up) back in 2011. The tests have become stricter since then, but you can also add a City Safe system for £355 that will brake automatically for you in an emergency.
In terms of equipment, the basic Skoda Citigo gets the bare essentials – remote central locking, a CD player, four airbags, electric front windows and stability control – but little else. Monte Carlo models have sporty looks inside and out, or you can add some sharper looks to your car by choosing the Colour Edition trim. This gets a little extra kit, including metallic paint, as well as black or white alloy wheels and tinted rear windows.
The Skoda Citigo is one of the very best city cars, providing big-car features in a small package. It’s also a little bit cheaper than the equivalent Seat and Volkswagen models, which are all-but identical. If you’re in the market for a small car, then you should take a good look at the Skoda Citigo.
This is a tiny car, but you’ll be amazed at just how much space there is inside
The Citigo can teach some genuine family cars a thing or two about making good use of the space inside
Considering how small the Skoda Citigo is, you’ll be surprised at how much room it offers. In the front, you’ll easily get a couple of six-foot adults, although you should note that the most basic models don’t have height-adjustment on the driver’s seat, and the steering only adjusts for height, not reach.
What’s amazing is that you can also get a couple of adults in the back. Only if there are a couple of giants in the front will taller rear-seat passengers find legroom rather tight. However, there are only two seats in the back of a Skoda Citigo, so there’s never the option of squeezing in a third passenger – even on the shortest of journeys. Although, should you want to, you can take a couple of young children, because two ISOFIX child-seat mounts come as standard across the range
Expecting this dinky city runabout to have impressive storage is like expecting McDonald’s to have a wine list – a bit unreasonable. Even so, you might be surprised that the Skoda Citigo does come with plenty of smaller storage areas for mobile phones, wallets or bottles of water.
There’s a cubbyhole for loose change in front of the gear lever and, on SE models and above, there are mesh pockets on the sides of the front seats. At the back of the centre console is a drink-holder that everyone in the car can reach, and on three-door models, you also get storage compartments on the floor at the side of the rear seats that will take a small bottle of water.
The Skoda Citigo’s boot is one of the largest you’ll find in a car of this size. It’ll take 251 litres, which is more than enough for a few bags of shopping, and, very handily, there are four bag hooks built into the sides of the boot to make sure you don’t tip your weekly supplies all over the boot as soon as you turn out of the supermarket car park.
If you do need more room you can drop the rear seats – which are 60:40 split in all but the most basic model – to put 959 litres (or 951 in the three-door model) at your disposal.
With its excellent refinement, agile handling and eager performance, the Citigo has the feel of models from a class above.
The Citigo is so comfortable and enjoyable to drive that it feels like a much bigger car
It doesn’t matter what colour or trim you choose for your Skoda Citigo, you can be sure of one thing: it’ll come with a three-cylinder 1.0-litre engine. The only decision you have to make is how much power you want – 60hp or 75hp – but both have more than enough power to whisk you around town without a problem, and they certainly feel quicker than their 0-62mph times suggest.
That said, this is a city car, and how it performs against the clock isn’t relevant. What’s more important is that both versions of the engine respond well when you need them to – which makes this a fairly relaxing and enjoyable car to drive. The 60hp unit will be fine for most people, and only if you spend a lot of time on motorways or faster roads will you really want the extra power of the 75hp version. Then again, if you were going to spend a lot of time on the motorway, you probably wouldn’t be considering a Skoda Citigo in the first place.
There’s also not a lot to choose between the fuel economy of the various engines, with every combination of power output and gearbox capable of claimed economy of well over 60mpg. But, if you do want the very best economy, go for one of the GreenTech versions, with start/stop and brake energy recovery. All these can achieve a claimed 68.9mpg and 96g/km CO2 output.
It’s no secret that the Skoda Citigo is designed to be a great little car to drive around town; and, the good news is that the designers have done a fine job. Visibility all around is very good, the controls are light and easy to use and the turning circle is pretty good.
The suspension is also nice and comfortable, meaning you don’t feel the lumps and bumps that litter our city streets. Better still, that feeling continues even after you get beyond the city limits, and no matter where you go, the Skoda Citigo is an enjoyable car to drive.
Of course, that’s thanks in part to its small size and low weight, both of which help to make the car feel agile and easy to manoeuvre. And, you’ll appreciate that whether you’re on the High Street or the motorway.
You also might not expect safety to be a big selling point for a city car, but the little Skoda scored a full five-star rating from Euro NCAP, albeit back in 2011, when the tests were a little less stringent than they are now.
Every version of the car comes with four airbags, anti-lock brakes and stability control, but one option you may well want to consider is the City Safe braking system. This is available on every model except the most basic S and, for £355, gives you a system that monitors that area in front of the car and automatically applies the brakes if it thinks that a collision is imminent.
Everything is incredibly easy to use and the build quality is great, but you can’t get the Skoda Citigo with any kind of built-in infotainment screen