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Skoda Citigo

CITY SLICKER (some text hidden)

The Citigo was the first really small Skoda. June Neary reckons that this revised version is worth trying.

Will It Suit Me?word count: 94

It's a long time since anyone looked down their nose at you for driving a Skoda. Even the least well informed passer-by these days knows that the Czech marque is a premium choice amongst budget brands, primarily because it has more access than ever before into its parent Volkswagen Group's feast of high technology. That expertise brought Volkswagen and SEAT the little citycar design they respectively badge as either the up! or the Mii. This is Skoda's version, the Citigo, and it's the most affordable of the three. I was keen to try it.

Practicalitiesword count: 390

Though this car is just 3.5-metres long, it has far more room inside than a Fiat 500 of the same size - and if that isn't clever, then I don't know what is. Skoda reckon you can fit two fully-sized adults for decently long journeys in the back. That might be pushing things a bit, but a couple of grown-up people will be fine there for short periods. Kids of course will be quite happy, though I was a bit irritated to find that only two seat belt points are provided on the back seat. A rival Fiat Panda gives you the option of three. But the Fiat only comes with five-doors. This Skoda offers the choice of three or five. I certainly had no complaints about luggage space. Though there's a high sill over which you've to lump your stuff, once you get it in, there's a 251-litre capacity that's nearly twice what you get in a Peugeot 108, a Citroen C1, a Toyota Aygo or a MINI. The boot will hold objects of up to 58cm in height, has four bag hooks and can feature a double storage net attachment to keep your eggs from mixing with your Iron Bru. And of course if you need more room, you can push forward the rear bench to free up 951-litres of total space - a figure rising to 959-litres in the five-door version. That's nearly 50% more than you'd get in the ordinary boot of Skoda's huge Superb Estate. Up front, well, even in the improved revised version, soft-touch plastics are still nowhere to be found but the cabin still manages to feel of decent quality thanks to a careful choice of trim and materials. You sit behind a smart three-spoke steering wheel that's fashioned from light magnesium but unfortunately isn't adjustable for reach: it only moves up and down. It frames a simple, clearly designated instrument cluster that's been smartened a little in recent times but still features a trendily large speedometer, while in the middle of the dash, there's a compact centre pod for many of the minor controls. A clip can be added to the side of it so that you can slot in a picture of a loved one. I drove around for a week with a picture of my cat purring at me. Lovely.

Behind the Wheelword count: 226

There's a three cylinder petrol engine up-front, whichever Citigo model you choose. That accounts for the thrummy engine beat: busy but not unpleasant on the ear. You'll certainly be hearing plenty of it if rapid progress is needed, for without a turbocharger to boost torque, this one needs to be revved quite a bit, even if you go beyond the 60PS entry-level model to the 75PS variant I tried. Most will be content with the base version, capable as it is of sixty in 14.4s on the way to 99mph, quite enough to keep up with the traffic. The performance gains offered by the 75PS variant seem relatively slight (0-60mph in 13.2s on the way to 107mph) but the unit is a little more refined. This revised model is more media-savvy than before. Across the range, new-generation 'Blues' and 'Swing' radio packages offer more connectivity options - ranging from an aux-in socket to an SD card slot and a USB socket. A colour display, six speakers and a Bluetooth connection are added to the 'Swing' set-up. Using this, the system can be connected to the driver's smartphone, which is stored in a special smartphone holder on the dashboard. The apps running on the iOS and Android smartphone operating systems provide navigation, a driving data display, hands-free phone calls as well as playing music and the radio.

Value For Moneyword count: 317

Pricing at launch started from well under £8,000 but most Citigo variants in the UK tend to be sold somewhere in the £9,000 to £11,000 bracket common to this kind of car. Even if you haven't a family, I'd want to look at paying an extra £350 to go from the three to the five-door bodystyle. Less crucial is the premium of around £400 necessary to progress from the 60 to the 75PS engine. But urban owners may want to look at paying just over £500 more for the ASG automatic transmission. Thanks in part to a low kerb weight of only around 850kg, even the least efficient entry-level 60PS models will return a combined fuel economy figure of 62.8mpg, with emissions pegged at 108g/km. Figures you can improve to 64.2mpg and 103g/km by opting for the efficient ASG automatic gearbox, at just 30kgs in weight, one of the lightest auto gearboxes ever made. Those looking for better economy still in their 1.0-litre 60PS Citigo will be drawn inexorably to the 'GreenTech' model which features low rolling resistance tyres, a battery regeneration system and a stop start system that cuts the engine when you don't need it in traffic or at the lights. As a result, it can return an impressive 68.9mpg on the combined cycle and emit just 96g/km of carbon dioxide. Go for the slightly pokier 75PS variant and there's hardly any penalty at the pumps. Skoda includes its efficiency package (with start/stop and everything else) as standard with this engine, so the returns achieved - 67.3mpg on the combined cycle and 98g/km - are quite impressive for a car of this kind. Whether you opt for your Citigo with 60 or 75PS, the benefits of the efficiency package are important given that they take this car below the 100g/km barrier, making it completely free from congestion charges and delivering all kinds of tax benefits.

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Category: Small Runabouts

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