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How much? £9,470
On sale in the UK: Now
Engine: 999cc 12v three-cylinder, 59bhp @ 5000rpm, 70lb ft @ 3000-4300rpm
Transmission: Five-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Performance: 99mph, 14.4sec. 0-62mph, 62.7mpg, 105g/km CO2
How heavy / made of? 929kg/steel
How big (length/width/height in mm)? 3563/1641/1478
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CAR's rating

Rated 4 out of 54

Handling

Rated 4 out of 54

Performance

Rated 3 out of 53

Usability

Rated 3 out of 53

Feelgood factor

Rated 4 out of 54

Readers' rating

Rated 2.5 out of 52.5

Skoda Citigo 1.0 Elegance (2012) CAR review

By Ollie Kew

First Drives

31 May 2012 10:01

We're told the best things come in small packages, three is a magic number, and off the back of the Yeti and Superb, Skoda is on a roll at the moment.

So the new Skoda Citigo, the Volkswagen group's third and final iteration of its new Up city car platform, should be rather good. We drove the lowest powered version, resplendent in top-of-the-range Citigo 1.0 Elegance trim, to find out.

Isn't the Skoda Citigo just another VW Up clone?

Yes, but Skoda has tried its best to set the Citigo apart from its Volkswagen and Seat brethren with some natty individualisation options. More of that later, but first let's run through the familiar bits.

The new Skoda Citigo is just over three-and-a-half metres long, yet its boxy profile and wheel-at-each-corner stance afford it class-leading interior space. Certainly, it's no Rolls-Royce Phantom inside, but it shades the C1/107/Aygo family for cat-swinging capaciousness.

The interior really is the headline act for this new generation of VW city cars, and the Citigo is no exception. The cabin is of solid, logical construction with glossy highlights around dashboard controls to hammer home the heightened perceived luxury. Body-coloured metal on the top of the door skins, like on the Mk1 Ford Ka, also brightens the interior ambience.

Practical function has't overruled quality form either. The steering wheel adjusts for driver height, there's lots of leeway in the seat, and although the boot is high-lipped, its considerable depth adds up to 251 litres of cargo room, almost double that which lurks behind an Aygo's glassy hatch.

A familar story on the quality front then. What's the Citigo like to drive?

Sampled back-to-back with the recently facelifted but ageing Citroen C1, as I did, the refinement advantages to the Citigo are obvious, though it's still by no means a lukewarm hatch. Unlike CAR's first drive of the Seat Mii, our Citigo boasted the entry level powerplant - another 1.0-litre normally aspirated petrol three-pot, but one good for just 59bhp.

The irrelevant 16 second 0-62mph sprint might look unacceptably tardy for a 2012 car, but the sub-tonne Citigo is plenty perky enough up to 2012 city driving speeds (that'll be 10-20mph then). And the pay-offs for modest power are stirring a well-damped gearchange and a rorty triple-cylinder thrum when you're in the upper reaches of the diddy tachometer's rev-range, incidentally not as overbearing as the 'broken Porsche' soundtrack of the C1.

Another advantage of the space-efficient, minimal overhang stance is perky handling. Slab-sided it may be, but the Citigo can be tipped into tight turns or hustled along a B-road at a perfectly acceptable rate, with body roll always erring on the comical rather than scary side. In any case, standard ABS and stability control will intervene to assist the skinny eco-biased tyres long before the Citigo does itself - or its occupants - a mischief. That said, a C1 will push wide earlier, and feels less planted in rapid directional changes.

Safety and tech hasn't been forgotten in the back-to-basics Citigo?

Don't let the diminutive looks fool you - in addition to the electronic driving aids, the Citigo has a full complement of airbags, including side-mounted thorax protection as well as the familar frontal devices.

If that safety gambit means considering a Citigo for sons and daughters, bear in mind Skoda has covered the customisation angle to appeal to younger drivers. Painted wheels, roof panels and optional stripes all feature to tailor the Citigo to your (or your little darling's) personal preference. Also likely to be popular is the dashboard-mounted PID (Portable Infotainment Device), which controls Bluetooth, navigation and music, like a car-friendly miniature iPad.

Verdict: should I buy a Skoda Citigo?

If price is the prime concern, then certainly consider one - the Citigo is the cheapest of the VW/Seat/Skoda trio in base form, starting from £7630, and of course has the same class-leading cabin and perky drive as its sisters.

Ultimately, it'll come down to personal styling preferences and the locality of your particular dealer, but with CAR having recommended the Up and Mii, there's no surprise ending here: the Skoda Citigo is an extremely well-judged city car, and deservedly serves to strengthen the Czech firm's impressive range further.

 

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mini1

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mini1 says

RE: Skoda Citigo 1.0 Elegance (2012) CAR review

 Agree with livc44411 that the press are being too harsh on the PSA triplets. I should know - I own a Mk1 Aygo and it's an absolute hoot!

Having said that, I test-drove a Citigo out of curiosity at the weekend. I have to say that refinement is definitely an improvement over the PSA triplets, as is quality and solidity. They're no more powerful (in fact I thought the 75bhp Citigo was only just on a level playing field with the 69bhp Aygo - dread to think what the 60bhp engine is actually like!). Steering was positive and ride quality was decent, though bumps were still as evident in this car as they are in the Aygo (i.e very). It's really the refinement, solidity and equipment benefits that make the difference.

Top-spec Citigos offer the personal infotainment (brilliant - you have to experience it to believe it, and I was pleasantly surprised that it's not just another gimmick), as well as electric mirrors (I think this should be standard on all cars in this day and age) and heated seats - heated seats standard on a city car.

As the others say, it really depends which of these three you prefer. I've gone off the Up somewhat, and it would appear that the Citigo is not only cheaper, but also offers better value for money as far as equipment goes. 5 doors would be a must for me though.

I like the Fiat Panda too, but I'm still to be sold on the taller looks of that car - doesn't seem as squat as the previous model to me. Fiat are also being stingy with equipment levels. From first impressions, I was pleasantly surprised by the Citigo and slightly preferred its mature, grown up feeling to the slightly quirkier VW. As a feasible replacement for my Aygo? Maybe, maybe.

05 June 2012 00:56

 

dc

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dc says

RE: Skoda Citigo 1.0 Elegance (2012) CAR review

I agree with livc44411. But probably the strongest competitor to these VW group cars is new Panda, and having had a carefull look at both UP and Panda at a forecourt, I can say UP would have to offer some very special driving dynamics to get my vote. On a sligtly different note, am I the only person thinking the previous generation of Panda is one of the best car designs of this century so far?

01 June 2012 08:56

 

livc44411

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livc44411 says

RE: Skoda Citigo 1.0 Elegance (2012) CAR review

Bit harsh on C1\107/Aygo trio! Lets not forget these three were released seven(!) years ago! Comparing Citygo to Hyundai i10 would have been a more pertinent choice in my opinion...

31 May 2012 15:52

 

Bishopwasahero

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Bishopwasahero says

RE: Skoda Citigo 1.0 Elegance (2012) CAR review

This demonstrates very clearly the way in which VAG intends to manage its two value brands alongside the mainstream VW marque.  The Skoda and SEAT versions carry the same body panels, with differentiation only coming from lights, bumpers and grilles.  Inside, it's all about trim colours and cloth/ plastic differences.  They are going the same way with the Toledo and its Skoda equivalent.  It does seem a rather lethargic way of managing your brands, but, maybe it's the only available route to breakeven for SEAT.

 

The Up is definitely and deliberately a cut above - it's amazing what a difference a more confidently kicked-up side window line can do, and the rear hatch/ light integration seems more iPad like to my eyes, hence the whole ensemble is more cool and funky.

31 May 2012 11:32

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