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Skoda Citigo Review

Skoda Citigo Tested February 2012

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Quick Summary

Recommended. Skoda's first city car is as good as you would expect from one of Europe's fastest-improving brands.

Road Test

The Citigo is effectively the same car as the VW Up and the Seat Mii. In this segment, profit margins are so tight that almost no-one can afford to go it alone (e.g. the Aygo/C1/107 triplets), so we can hardly criticise this particular three-way co-operation. The Skoda has a different grille and a slightly different profile to the rear passenger window, but that is about the sum total of the exterior changes. On the inside, Skoda differentiates itself thanks to an obsession with storage solutions that would put Ikea to shame. There is a cut-out for iPhones (just big enough for a Samsung Galaxy as well), little nets on the back of each front seat for rear passengers to put water bottles and as many cubby holes as you could possibly fit into a car this small.

Once you have found homes for all your bits and pieces, the engine starts with a distinctive three-cylinder thrum. Like all such engines, it is a slightly off-beat sound, but it is always willing and revs happily. This sound is going to get steadily more familiar, as pretty well all four-cylinder engines up to 1000cc will be replaced with three cylinder units, which tend to be more economical. We drove Citigos with both the 59 bhp and the 74 bhp options, and were surprised to find that, away from motorways, the less powerful engine felt just as strong as its more powerful sibling.

The good engine is backed up by a surprisingly smooth ride for such a small car, which makes it feel more mature and sophisticated than you would expect. The handling is neat and tidy, but this is no pocket rocket for thrashing around urban streets. It is all about enjoying the benefits of small cars (low cost, easy parking) without losing the refinement of a larger car.

Skoda has more than achieved that goal. It drives as if it is a larger car, while the space is excellent for this class. Tall people can sit in the back, so long as those in the front are willing to sacrifice an inch or two of front legroom, and the boot can carry more than just a few supermarket carrier bags.

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