If you are looking for small city cars, they don’t get an awful lot smaller, or cheaper, for that matter, than the Skoda Citigo. A direct brother to the VW UP! and Seat Mii, it’s one of three nearly identical cars in the small city car segment that promise value for money, economy and a grown up driving style that won’t get too dull too quickly.
First impressions of the Citigo hammer home the idea of basic, it’s a fairly unassuming car to look at but as far as cheap city cars go, it looks about as complicated as you’d want it to be. Spec wise, the car comes in S, SE, SE L and Monte Carlo editions – as in the Skoda Fabia, the Monte Carlo adds a body kit and some nice seats, but nothing much in the speed department. Admittedly, the spec on the entry level S is pretty basis, but then the SE and SE L add a lot more kit. I managed to test a higher spec SE L version, and I can pretty much assure you it’s worth the extra – a neat little screen produced by Garmin that links to the car’s driving data is a nice little touch, and bluetooth, a leather trim steering wheel, air conditioning and even heated seats provide some added comfort and really leave you with a feeling that Skoda have managed to fit all the kit you’d need into a very small space.
Speaking of small spaces, as far as city cars go, even the Citigo is small, but Skoda have done a great job of making it appear roomy and comfortable inside. The cabin isn’t the most luxurious of places, but the only sign of skimping are the pop-out rear windows, everything else is neat, where you’d expect it to be and perfectly accessible. Due to the car’s height and upright stance, headroom is good and rear legroom is far better than it needs to be for a car of this size. Storage areas are plentiful as well, and although it’s an upright drive, it matches cars the size of the Vauxhall Viva for interior space, and that’s a far bigger can than the Citigo is.
In terms of driving, one of the best bits I found with the Citigo is its general refinement. Yes, you’d expect it to be good around town, and the little 1.0 engine zips around with gusto, shooting in and out and little streets without hassle. Put your foot down, however, and although you don’t get much in terms of speed, you don’t get much wind or road noise either, which was a surprise. The car was keen to rev, and I was surprised at the amount of poke I got out of the 3-cylinder engine, without too much hassle either, the Skoda Citigo is a fantastically refined car for the money. Track day thrills it ain’t – but real world popping into the town performance – perfect.
I managed to coax at least 55mpg out of the car during my week, which I was happy with, despite doing mainly longer distance drives. Around town though, it didn’t dip too much lower than this, and the general economy and affordability of the car, combined with its low initial cost, will put a smile on your wallet’s face. There’s little money to lose either, so residual value isn’t too much of an issue.
As far as small, cheap city cars go, I genuinely think the Skoda Citigo is the best I’ve driven. It’s refined and composed, well designed inside to avoid it feeling too claustrophobic, cheap to run and enjoyable to drive both around town and at speed, which is a huge feat for a car like this. 3 door and 5 door options are available, and there isn’t much between them, such is the excellent way the car has been designed.
In an era where you can bolt almost any piece of tech on to a car, it’s nice to see from Skoda a straightforward lineup, a solidly built car with great performance and an enjoyable drive, for significantly less than £10,000. It may be basic and cheap, but it certainly put a smile on my face.