Expert Reviews

First Drive: Skoda Citigo

Thursday 29 June 2017

First Drive: Skoda Citigo
Summary

The Skoda Citigo is about as no-frills a car as you can buy today. It’s designed for urban drivers who need a compact but still practical way of getting around, as well as for those who don’t want to empty their bank accounts in running costs. The original car did this to a tee, and now it’s been refreshed for 2017. What does that mean? Well, the exterior – which was never a bad looking thing in the first place – gets a modified bumper and a reshaped front grille as well as daytime running lights. There’s also a new colour — Kiwi Green – which is a jazzy looking shade that stands out against the sea of grey and black hues on the road currently.

You now get a redesigned instrument cluster inside, while a new infotainment system gives clearer control over the DAB digital radio and media options. There’s also an optional multifunction steering wheel available.

Looks & Image

The previous-generation Citigo was a good-looking little car, and thankfully Skoda has only improved the package. The new daytime running lights give it a little more presence on the road, while redesigned 15-inch alloy wheels fill the Citigo’s arches nicely. The all-new Kiwi Green colour looks great on the car too – though it’s sure to divide opinion.

The Citigo’s interior quality is something that you’d expect from cars twice its price. Everything feels exceptionally well put together, and though there are some harder plastics to be found, you need to remember that this is a car which can be bought for a little under £9,000. It’s just as impressive as it was in the original, while the variety of Skoda ‘Simply Clever’ features – an umbrella under the front passenger seat and a fold-out bag hook on the handle of the glove compartment, for instance – only serve to better the Citigo interior’s quality.

Space & Practicality

Considering the Citigo measures just 3,597mm (a Ford Fiesta is 3,969mm, for reference) then you wouldn’t expect to find much in the way of practicality. In reality, that couldn’t be further from the truth. In five-door layout, like our test car, 251 litres of seats-up boot space is available which rises to 959 litres with the seats folded down. It has a split floor too, giving a far more flexible storage solution.

There’s plenty of leg and headroom for front passengers and rather surprisingly, those in the back are too well catered for. Taller passengers may of course struggle in terms of headroom, but occupants of average height will be more than comfortable sat in the rear of the Citigo.

Behind the Wheel

In an age of driving assists and autonomous steering, the Citigo offers a driving experience that is nothing short of refreshing. No mechanical changes made to this car over the previous model, meaning it drivers just as well as before. The steering is light but communicative and the five-speed manual gearbox has a decent action to it. At times, the engine does need to be worked hard – especially when tackling steep gradients – but for most of the time it’s refined and settled – not what you would expect from a three-cylinder petrol engine. 

For sure, the driving experience is basic, but that doesn’t stop it from being an enjoyable one. And if you’re after a car that is happier doing longer miles, then the more powerful engine is the one to go for.

Value for Money

If a Citigo with all the bells and whistles is what you want – think dark privacy glass and heated seats – then that’s exactly what the £11,325 Monte Carlo-edition car offers. Honestly though, we’d recommend going for a more base-spec Citigo, as it lies closer to the car’s no-frills mentality than the more equipment-laden models. In our eyes, the SE model is the pick of the bunch, offering air conditioning, rear folding seats and an infotainment system with Bluetooth connectivity and six speakers for £9,635 for the 59bhp, three-door model. It also remains a great option for first-time drivers, thanks to its Group 2 insurance rating.

Who would buy one ?

The Citigo is for drivers who want a car that isn’t festooned with technology nor one that costs much to run. As previously mentioned, it’s also a great choice for just-passed motorists who are looking to keep insurance premiums to a minimum.

 

Facts at a Glance

Model: Skoda Citigo SE L
Price as tested: £10,700
Engine tested: 1.0-litre petrol
Power: 59bhp
Torque: 95Nm
Max speed:100
0-60mph: 13.7
MPG: 68.9 combined
Emissions: 96g/km CO2

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