Skoda Citigo

By Tim Saunders

The Skoda Citigo arrives after I reluctantly return a Maserati GranTurismo and a Volvo XC90. Driving two cars in one week is tough in terms of writing about them, which is not for the faint-hearted, I can tell you.

You might expect the little £10,500 Skoda to be a bit of a culture shock for me after living the life of Riley. Not so.

Left in a car park for me to collect, it is pitch black, and so it is handy to be able to press the unlock button on the remote key fob and to see the lights flashing in the distance. This is despite the fact that it is at the bottom of the long car park and I am at the top.

Once inside this compact city car, I am impressed with the simple layout of the dashboard yet surprised to find such luxuries as heated front seats as you can see in the video at testdrives.biz. Four adults will easily fit inside. This little Czech instantly endears itself and perhaps surprisingly it doesn’t feel that I’m driving a budget offering.

I’m testing the three-door model. The driver’s seat is manually adjusted. Its five-speed manual gearbox is a little woolly but it does the job well enough. Overall the interior reflects that of larger Skodas and it feels well put together.

The whole point of this car, which I am told can be yours for just £59 a month, is super efficiency. It can return over 80mpg, which makes it one of the most economical vehicles on the roads today. Oh the government isn’t going to like this one bit. You see it means that you can fill up its tiddly 35 litre tank for around £40 and travel over 500 miles. And we’re not talking about driving at some ridiculously slow pace to realise these returns either. It’s such a breath of fresh air compared to some hybrid vehicles, for instance, that claim over 50mpg but require you to drive at 50mph or less to achieve! This of course is not a hybrid. It’s just a petrol engine fitted with a reliable engine stop/start. Until this Skoda was introduced I was reasonably happy with my diesel Ford Fiesta that returns over 40mpg.

Parkers, the car experts, writes: “Based heavily on the architecture of the Volkswagen up!, all the ingredients are present to make it a capable car that appeals to a broad spectrum of society. It makes an ideal first car, due to its extremely low running costs, while it also works for a young family since there are several clever touches which improve practicality. The more mature driver may consider down-sizing to a Citigo as their needs change and the requirement for a larger car just isn’t there anymore. Even fleet drivers may be interested since company car tax bills are extremely small. However, by entering the super-small car market Skoda is going toe-to-toe with the likes of Volkswagen and SEAT, both of which have cars based on the same platform. Then there’s the Ford Ka, an excellent car in its own right. Does the Citigo have what it takes to stand out and appeal in a way its competition can’t?”

I say yes it does. My time with the Citigo, both in town and on the motorway, has been an absolute pleasure. My only criticism is that the driver’s seat could do with a little more padding. I heartily recommend visiting your local Skoda dealer and seeing it for yourselves.

New price range: £7,630 - £10,575

Economy: 68mpg

Top speed: 107mph

0-60mph: 13.9secs

Cylinders: 3

Power: 74bhp

Valves: 6

Fuel tank: 35 litres (7.35 gallons) [500 miles to a tank]

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