"The Skoda Citigo is a thoroughly grown-up, well-made city car that still knows how to have fun."
The Skoda Citigo may share its underpinnings with fellow Volkswagen Group cars the SEAT Mii and Volkswagen up!, but it's more than just a rebadged version of the same car. The exterior is stylish enough to rival the Fiat 500 for small-car charm, while the build quality easily matches the Kia Picanto and the interior space competes the Hyundai i10. And you could even argue it looks better than either the up! or the Mii. And it doesn’t matter which version of the 1.0-litre petrol engine that you choose, because you’ll get strong performance and excellent economy in all of them.
It will sit four people reasonably comfortably, while the boot is much better than you’d normally expect from a small city car, but what most impressed us was how mature it feels to drive - which, when combined with the sheer quality of the interior, shows why we gave it such a high score. In fact, the Citigo offers such a well-rounded package that we named the CarBuyer Best City Car for 2013. The Citigo comes in four main specifications – entry-level S, SE, Elegance and top-of-the-range Sport.
MPG, running costs & CO2 emissions
The advantage of any city car is that you can be pretty confident that it will return excellent fuel economy figures, and whichever Citigo model you decide to go for, it'll certainly save you money at the petrol station. The most efficient versions are the GreenTech models, which come fitted with stop-start, and claim to return 68.9mpg in fuel economy and emit a tax-free 95g/km of CO2, but even the standard cars still return 62.8mpg and emit only 105g/km, incurring a tiny fee for road tax every year. In reality, Skoda also works to keep insurance premiums lower for the Citigo than for its other city car rivals, and if you opt to buy it using Skoda Finance (which is very common), then you’ll also get free servicing for the first three years of ownership. Even if you don’t, you’ll still get a three-year warranty that also includes Europe-wide breakdown cover with the RAC for the length of the warranty, too.
Interior & comfort
The Citigo is small – that's the whole point of a city car. So, it's amazing how much space there actually is inside its tiny dimensions. A family – a couple of adults and kids – can all fit in comfortably, and you can even squeeze one six-foot adult behind another if you really have to. They won’t have a great deal of fun, but they’ll definitely get in there. There are lots of convenient storage solutions that make life easy, too, while the boot is bigger than those found in a Ford Ka, Fiat 500, Kia Picanto or Hyundai i10. The driving position is reasonable, even with no reach adjustment on the steering wheel, while the seats are nicely supportive. We wouldn’t recommend using the Citigo for long-distance journeys, but it is comfortably fulfils its town runabout purpose with ease.
Practicality & boot space
The Citigo is available as either a three or five-door car, so if you choose five doors you’re obviously going to get a much more versatile and practical car. However, getting into the back of this city car is actually easy regardless of body style – which is a real turn up in the city car sector. The overall space rivals the likes of the Kia Picanto and Hyundai i10 and is in many ways more useable. It's boxy dimensions create a good amount of headroom and a reasonably sized boot that offers 250 litres of storage space, which is actually bigger that the i10 or Picanto and it is more than enough space for a couple of squashy big bags or the family's weekly food shopping. All but the entry level S get split-fold back seats (and even the S still gets a foldable rear bench), which expands the boot to a more-than-generous 951 litres. There's also lots of handy storage cubbies inside the Citigo, with a big glove compartment, a deep centre console box and large door bins.
Reliability & safety
Skoda may have finally been knocked off the top of the Driver Power customer satisfaction survey in the 2013 poll after years as the number UK manufacturer, but it's not really a reflection of any drop in quality (Lexus just had a more amazing year). Quite the contrary, in fact, with Skoda owners continue to be generally the happiest with their cars, which is no small part down to their enviable reliability record. Skoda buyers also like the brand's no-nonsense approach and thoughtful extras, along with the solid build quality and high safety levels on offer. And while the Skoda Citigo itself doesn’t feature in the Driver Power top 100 cars, it very much fits in with the key Skoda characteristics, feeling much more substantial than many of its rivals, including the Suzuki Alto. The Citigo was awarded the maximum five-star rating in the Euro NCAP crash safety tests, with a wide array of airbags, plus head and thorax airbags for both driver and passengers. It's as safe as you can expect any city car to be, with electronic stability control fitted on all but the most basic entry-level S model as standard.
Engines, drive & performance
You’d be forgiven for expecting any city car to be boring when behind the wheel, but the Citigo's lively three-cylinder engine delivers more performance around town than any of the figures really suggest. Admittedly, it's not going to win any drag races and it's not brilliant when driving on the motorway – you're dwarfed by almost everything else around you – but it's definitely more fun that you would think. The steering is light and responsive and the gearbox is precise and easy to use. And usually any car that drives well tends to sacrifice comfort in the ride, but not the Citigo, which easily smooths out any bumps, potholes or ruts that you encounter. The ride is impressively comfortable for anyone sitting in the front or the back.
Price, value for money & options
One of Skoda's main focus points has always been value, and the Citigo very much continues that tradition by costing less than its Volkswagen Group sister car, the VW up! by approximately £500. Skoda also offer cheaper optional accessories than its many of its main rivals, with the Citigo's sat-nav and infotainment system costing £50 less than VW charge for the up! – which at £250 is about what you’d pay for a top-drawer external sat-nav anyway. Skoda resale values in the used car market are improving as its reputation continues to grow, but don’t expect a massive return when you do come to sell it on second hand.