What is it?
The most interesting version of the Volkswagen Group’s trio of new city cars, potentially - mainly because it’s the best value. The bottom-rung Skoda Citigo undercuts the equivalent VW Up by £365 and Seat Mii by £215. So with equipment levels being broadly similar across the three entry point models, is there any reason that bargain hunters shouldn’t plump for the Skoda?
What is it like?
Skoda didn’t have ‘S’ trim Citigos on its UK press launch, but our ‘SE’ spec 59bhp test car was close enough to answer the question. The former comes without air conditioning, central locking, electric windows, ESP, split-folding rear seats – much of which you’ll find on slightly pricier basic versions the car’s rivals. ‘SE’ trim adds all of the above, but bumps up the Citigo’s price to level with the cheapest Fiat Pandas and Hyundai i10s.
During our test drive in a Citigo SE, the Skoda impressed in a broad sense. Compared to the ‘A’ segment class standard it’s well built, well appointed, spacious and very usable. The 59bhp engine is a little rougher than the higher-powered engine, but it’s easy to get on with, and delivers enough performance for all but extended motorway use.
The car handles tidily and accurately, and with strong grip and precision for one so small and high-sided. The Citigo’s steering is light and a little uncommunicative, and doesn’t inspire the kind of agility you’ll find in a Hyundai i10 or Fiat Panda, making the Citigo a little dull and uninvolving to drive at times. There’s also a choppiness to the Citigo’s low-speed ride that disappoints in comparison to the outstanding rolling comfort of the VW Up, and a slightly lower-rent, workmanlike feel to some of the Skoda’s cabin fittings relative to the Volkswagen. As with the VW, you don’t get reach adjustment on the steering column of the Skoda, either.
Should I buy one?
Perhaps it’s because the Citigo is more conventional than we’ve come to expect from Skoda’s cars over the last decade, but in a class in the midst of a new metal explosion, it seems to lack a little originality and an outstanding selling point. And while it’s good value, it’s also not cheap enough to be considered the class-leader on price, either.
Bottom line? For an extra four-hundred quid, you’d have the VW.
Skoda Citigo 1.0 MPI 60 SE
Price: £8530; 0-62mph: 14.4sec;
Top speed: 99mph;
Engine type, cc: 3cyl, 999cc, petrol;
Power: 59bhp at 5000-6000rpm;
Torque: 70lb ft at 3000-4300rpm;
Gearbox: 5-spd manual