Skoda’s version of the VW Up is reinvented as an affordable electric city car with charm and dynamism on its side

What is it?

It might be tiny, but the Citigo-e is a pretty big deal for Skoda, being the firm’s first fully electric production model to hit showrooms.

It’s also the only version of the Citigo you can buy now – the city car lost its buzzy three-cylinder petrol options as part of an update last year – and is based on the electric Volkswagen e-Up, alongside the identical Seat Mii Electric.

But what matters most, and what is most likely to ensure success for Skoda’s smallest model, is that it is currently among the very cheapest electric cars available in the UK, undercutting not just its sibling cars but also the Renault Zoe, MG ZS EV and new Vauxhall Corsa-e by some margin. 

It’s still not what you’d call cheap, as is the way with these early-adopter EVs. Prices for the Citigo-e iV SE start from £16,955 after the government’s £3500 plug-in car grant is applied, meaning it costs nearly twice as much as the cheapest version of the old car. And it’s not as if there’s an abundance of added extras, either. Although electric windows and DAB radio are standard fitments, heated seats and parking sensors add £400 to the list price and even a manual seat height adjuster is a £70 extra. 

Range-topping SE L trim bumps the price up to £19,315 – bringing the Citigo into line with the £19,300 Mii Electric – and brings with it new colour options, sporty alloy wheels and a bespoke interior design. Also included at this level is a Type 2 on-board charger capable of charging at up to 60kW, which allows the battery to be refilled from zero to 80% in an hour. 

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What's it like?

In many senses, the Citigo-e iV is much like its petrol-powered predecessor. You still open the fuel filler cap to top up (albeit with a charging cable rather than a pump), turn a key in an ignition barrel and release a manual handbrake to set off. Owners of the outgoing car will not have to dramatically adapt their perception of driving if making the switch.

In fact, you’d be forgiven for not immediately recognising this as a new car. Despite the Citigo’s not insignificant reinvention, it retains the same wheels-in-the-corners stance and short, squat profile as its predecessor. The only real difference is the blanked-off front grille – a feature of most electric cars based on existing combustion-fuelled models – and the rev counter making way for a power usage indicator. 

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As with the exterior, the interior has been left largely untouched, making use of the same minimalist, almost utilitarian layout that made the previous iteration so charming. There’s an adjustable smartphone mount in place of an integrated touchscreen and smartphone connectivity compensates for features found on more premium cars. The infotainment system, operated using Volkswagen Group buttons and switches that are characteristically satisfying to twiddle, is pleasingly intuitive, if a little rudimentary.

Obviously, range will be an issue for some, and at 161 miles, the Citigo will certainly not suit all commutes. The battery will be quickly exhausted by motorway jaunts (admittedly not this car’s party trick in any sense) but we did notice that liberal use of the accelerator, even in town, could cause the car to lose 25% of its charge over as little as 20 miles. 

Equally, although the Citigo’s 0-62mph time of 12.3sec is well beyond what would traditionally be considered reasonable for a conventional city car, its 81mph top speed will hardly set the world alight. But then again, this car has been so obviously conceived and designed to make life easier for urban drivers. 

And indeed, that’s where this latest generation of the Citigo, more than any that have gone before, truly excels. A 9.8m turning circle gives it better low-speed manoeuvrability than almost anything this side of a moped and its narrow frame will encourage drivers to aim for parking spaces and gaps in traffic that simply wouldn’t be considered in even a Ford Fiesta or VW Polo. Its keenness to get up to speed is a boon here as well; albeit perhaps exaggerated by how little distance there is between your backside and the blacktop. 

Although poise and agility are unlikely to be near the top of the list of must-haves for prospective city car buyers, the Citigo doesn’t fail to elicit a smile in tight, twisty environments. Even at sub-30mph speeds, the car’s short wheelbase and overhangs lend a real degree of engagement to the handling characteristics, while the near-200kg weight gain brought about by the underfloor batteries has done little to adversely affect its ability to take speed bumps and potholes in its stride. 

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Our test car had 16in alloy wheels rather than the 14in steel items that are standard fitment for entry-level SE trim and they massively enhance the Citigo’s visual appeal without sacrificing too much tyre sidewall.

7 Skoda citigo e iv 2020 uk fd dashboard

Should I buy one?

The Citigo-e iV could well be the least disruptive means of making the switch away from combustion. It’s fun to drive, well built and stylish – much like its identical forebear – and remains overwhelmingly easy to use every day. 

Your options are limited at this price point, for the time being at least, if you want a usable electric city car, which serves to make it all the more attractive. It might not be the best equipped in its class, nor the most powerful or long legged, but the range is perfectly fine for daily life and its peppiness more than makes up for a faint lack of refinement. 

Yes, its Seat and VW siblings add a little more badge appeal into the bargain, but at what cost? Well, around £2500. And if you just want something fun and frugal to take you to work and back, that’s money you really don’t need to be spending. Pick the Skoda.

Skoda Citigo-e iV specification

Where London Price £21,755 (before government grant) On sale Now Engine Single synchronous electric motor Power 82bhp Torque 155lb ft Gearbox 1-spd Kerb weight 1160kg Top speed 81mph 0-62mph 12.3sec Battery capacity 36.8kWh Range 161 miles Rivals Renault Zoe, Volkswagen e-up, Seat Mii Electric 

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Felix Page

Felix Page
Title: News and features editor

Felix is Autocar's news editor, responsible for leading the brand's agenda-shaping coverage across all facets of the global automotive industry - both in print and online.

He has interviewed the most powerful and widely respected people in motoring, covered the reveals and launches of today's most important cars, and broken some of the biggest automotive stories of the last few years. 

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KDsud 28 February 2020

Electric City Car

Technically small city cars make most sense of all the current crop of EVs. A small battery and limited range is not an issue for a city runabout and you will seldom if ever have to resort to 3rd party charging points (assuming you have a driveway). Unfortunately this type of vehicle also tends to do low mileages. At a not atypical 4k miles a year your annual fuel savings will be about £400 or £4000 over a 10 year life cycle after which the battery may have lost 25%-30% of its storage capacity. That £4k saving is well short of the premium you currently pay for an EV even with the £3.5k subsidy. Add to that a typical 10 year old well maintained conventional small car will provide another 5 years or so of reliable service with no loss of range. EVs may be the future and there are sound reasons for owning one but no one should be under the illusion that they are financially less costly to own than conventional cars.
gavsmit 28 February 2020

Still not an econcomically, or otherwise, feasible choice for me

The bottom line for me is that this compromised, small EV is still way too expensive and limited on range, considering the complete pain of recharging away from home if I need to for the length of journeys I have to make.

The situation gets worse when you compare it to my current ICE car which cost less than half what this one does when new just a few years ago. It has a range of almost 500 miles to a tank of fuel which, stating the obvious, is almost instantaneous to fill up unlike an EV and is more practical than this car.

Running costs for a car are not just about fuel either, as all cars will need servicing (no matter what common sense tells you about lower maintenance EVs manufacturers will still charge a hefty premium to inspect it and stamp a servicing book for it to remain under warranty) as well as tyres, brakes,insurance etc. And electricity costs will rocket too once the drain on the national grid rises (as politicians will use the environment excuse yet again as an excuse to tax people more from increased energy consumption from their originally regarded 'saviour of the planet' EVs).

I don't live in London or a major city using the environment as a great excuse to tax hard-working people so there's no incentives for me there either. And those incentives shouldn't be relied on anyway as politicians have a habbit of removing them (like what happened to low vehicle excise duty for cars emitting lower levels of CO2 in 2017).

I'd love to 'do my bit' to help protect the environment but that isn't going to happen by spending almost £20k on this tiny EV, and that's after I've already paid a hefty part of that huge price via my taxes into the manufacturer's profits by way of the government EV grant. I'd consider using my bicycle more for shorter journeys or the absolute pain of public transport before wasting a HUGE amount of money on something so tiny and compromised like this.

Also, those that aren't very car-savvy can't believe that such a car like this costs so much money (i.e. people who haven't been tricked by the car manufacturer's collaborative brainwashing that EVs have to cost this much, or are hidden behind their huge price hikes of new ICE cars in order to close that price gap artificially). 

Maybe the whole thing is a conspiracy to get us all to accept that we will have no choice but to sacrifice our freedom and enjoyment to be ferried around in automated electric boxes in the near future, no doubt still making some manufacturers and politicians a lot of money still.  


gagaga 27 February 2020


In the pictures it's clear there is something under the floor of the car - i'm gussing the batteries sat in a modified floor pan.

So what's the actual ground clearance of this for city speed bumps?  It looks ony 10-15cm which is hopelessly low.

xxxx 27 February 2020

Best not guess from a picture

gagaga wrote:

In the pictures it's clear there is something under the floor of the car - i'm gussing the batteries sat in a modified floor pan.

So what's the actual ground clearance of this for city speed bumps?  It looks ony 10-15cm which is hopelessly low.

So at 150mm the same as MINI countryman and slightly more than a POLO. Are they hopelessly low?