From £7,710
The Skoda Citigo is a well-packaged, capable and stylish city car. It's great around town and fun to drive

Our Verdict

Skoda Citigo
The Citigo offers impressive running costs, and can seat four in relative comfort

The Skoda Citigo is the third member of the Volkswagen Up/Seat Mii triumvirate. It shares the Up's decent driving manners and good build quality

  • First Drive

    Skoda Citigo 1.0 MPI 60 SE

    Entry-level Skoda city car is competent and practical, but needs a keener price to stand out
  • First Drive

    Skoda Citigo 1.0 five-door

    The Skoda Citigo is a well-packaged, capable and stylish city car. It's great around town and fun to drive
17 February 2012

What is it?

This is the new five-door Skoda Citigo. Tested here, it carries the range’s lower-powered 59bhp three-pot petrol engine and five-speed manual gearbox. Prices are yet to be confirmed, but Skoda has said that the more practical of the two body variants (which will account for between 60 and 75 per cent of sales in Western Europe) will carry a £350 premium over the £7500 (estimated) three-door car. Built into the rear doors come cost-cutting pop-out windows, a first for these eyes and a questionable decision.

Both three and five door Citigos share the same 3560mm length, 1650mm width and 1480mm height and both offer the same class leading 251-litre boot space, which increases to 959 litres with the rear seats folded. By contrast a similarly sized Kia Picanto serves up 200 and 605 litres respectively.

What’s it like?

Around town, the Citigo’s 59bhp, 70lb ft torque 12-valve dishes up enough power for low speed sprints and cheeky lane changes. The five-speed manual gearbox is a good pairing thanks to slick, light shifts and suitable gearing ratio. A five-speed automatic gearbox is also offered, but we're yet to test it.

The Citigo’s electromechanical steering is also light and accurate, although steering feel is on the numb side. Rear parking sensors, which are relayed through the optional sat-nav (more on that later) are useful, but great all-round visibility makes them slightly redundant.

Most impressive, is the Citigo’s chassis and suspension set-up. Driven on Portugal’s cobbled inner-city streets, lumps and bumps are absorbed well by the dampers; minimal scuttle shake gives the feeling that the Citigo is a solid little machine.

Outside the Citigo’s intended habitat, Skoda’s smallest model also makes a good fist of a twisty B-road. Thrown at tight bends and the occasional hairpin corner, the Citigo resists understeer heroically and at speed the car feels planted despite its 929kg weight. With this engine, however, its lack of shove out of corners won’t appeal to enthusiastic drivers.

At motorway speeds, wind noise is kept to a minimum (thanks to its 0.33 drag co-efficient) so it’s the barky three-pot you’ll notice more. Given the engine’s power-anaemia, this Citigo doesn’t glide with the same grace as the 74bhp variant, but keeps up with traffic well.

Braking is courtesy of ventilated front brake disks and rear drums, which halt the car smoothly. Brake feel through the pedal is very good.

The model we tested came equipped with the optional Navigon sat-nav system. We’ve been assured that it works well in the Czech Republic, but on our Portugese test route, it dropped GPS signal with a change in the winds and wasn’t as intuitive as we’d have hoped. Whether or not it performs well in the UK remains to be seen.

Something Skoda has been very keen to show off is the model’s optional ‘City Safe Drive’ braking system. The emergency braking function activates itself at speeds below 19mph if lasers in the rear-view mirror detect a danger. When we tested the system, however, our soft 1.5-metre cubed target was launched into the air, much to the surprise of Skoda technicians; perhaps some finessing is needed.

Should I buy one?

The Skoda Citigo is a well-packaged, capable and stylish city car. With the lower-powered engine you’ll see 62.8mpg and 105g/km CO2 (Green tech versions with stop-start, brake recuperation and low rolling resistance tyres drop these figures to 68.9mpg and 96g/km CO2 respectively).

This lower-powered five door version is great in the city and capable everywhere else. But if it’s greater driver freedom you’re after go for its meatier brother, which excels in most areas.

Deciding which of the trio to go for (VW, Seat or Skoda) is up to you. Much like Becks, San Miguel or Staropramen each is an attractive proposition. Costs between versions will differ slightly, but either way, you won’t be disappointed.

Further down the line, a natural gas engined variant of the Citigo will make the line-up. According to Skoda, it emits 79g/km CO2 and achieves 97mpg.

Alex Kertsen

Skoda Citigo five-door

Price: £7850 (est); Top speed: 100mph; 0-62mph: 14.4sec; Economy: 62.8mpg; CO2: 105g/km; Kerb weight: 929kg; Engine: 3 cyls, 999cc, petrol; Power: 59bhp at 5000-6000rpm; Torque: 70lb ft at 3000-4300rpm; Gearbox: 5-spd manual

Join the debate

Comments
12

18 February 2012

"lasers in the rear-view mirror"

Surely this technology can be adapted to 'zap' tailgaters, making them glow red for a split second before disappearing in a puff of smoke?

18 February 2012

Really like the car, hate the way the tinted glass makes it look like a small van.

The testing of the City braking system doesn't inspire much confidence....

18 February 2012

Think the comment about the pop-out rear windows in the review was a bit unjustified - the 107/C1/Aygo is exactly the same in that regard, and as far as I'm aware it hasn't given rise to particular complaint. Likewise, given that the Mii & Up will by definition share this feature it seems a bit harsh to pin it on Skoda - I would assume it was a decision taken at group level.

Anyway, other than that it sounds like a decent city car - although that braking system could do with a bit of tweaking...

18 February 2012

[quote Dave Ryan]

Think the comment about the pop-out rear windows in the review was a bit unjustified - the 107/C1/Aygo is exactly the same in that regard, and as far as I'm aware it hasn't given rise to particular complaint. Likewise, given that the Mii & Up will by definition share this feature it seems a bit harsh to pin it on Skoda - I would assume it was a decision taken at group level...

[/quote]

Autocar are not alone in unfairly judging the 3 different models. AE pointed out the lack of reach adjustment on the steering wheel of the Mii, but its never been mentioned in their tests of the Up.

18 February 2012

I don't like the way that the front door window looks like it is out of alignment with the door because of the blackened panel. I know its not, but it visibly appears to be.

18 February 2012

It seems very mean to offer 2 outputs for the engine, As its quite heavy for a city car it would have been better if they all came with the higher output. Anyoneknow what the difference is?

The one thing i am most interested in is how it drives, it is as much fun as an Aygo, or does its extra weight take away from the light weight fun factor?

The base price does seem reasonable, although discounts and the basic kit need to be clear to give a true idea of how well priced it is

I have to agree with catnip, the dark rear windows are horrid, i hope they are optional!

18 February 2012

[quote Autocar]... Citigo’s 59bhp, 70lb ft torque 12-valve dishes up enough power for....... cheeky lane changes....[/quote] Is that another way of saying cutting other cars up?

18 February 2012

[quote Autocar]... Citigo’s 59bhp, 70lb ft torque 12-valve dishes up enough power for....... cheeky lane changes....[/quote]

I would love to see this really happen in the real world !

I doubt 59bhp will provide enough power to do cheeky lane changes, and before anyone goes you have never driven this car, in my defence I have driven many small powered engine cars that were so called supermini's these small petrol engines are just ok for town.

Anything else and they become a pain long term, in my view a car like this is best suited to town and inner city driving like it will be marketed for, driving this sort of car on a fast country road or busy motorway in my view would not be comfortable.

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