Skoda Citigo e iV hatchback
"The Skoda Citigo e iV is a thoroughly grown-up, well made city car that still knows how to have fun"
- Space for four people
- Big-car quality
- Great value
- Not exactly fast
- Sparse entry-level model
- Not the best for long journeys
Skoda made its first foray into the city car market with the Citigo, which arrived in 2012. The package remained fairly unchanged until the move away from a petrol engine to an electric motor at the start of 2020. A near-identical sister to the Volkswagen e-up! and SEAT Mii electric, the Citigo e iV’s arrestingly boxy looks make it a distinctive competitor to petrol-powered city cars like the Toyota Aygo, Citroen C1 and Peugeot 108 triplets, as well as the Kia Picanto and Hyundai i10 duo.
In going electric, Skoda has given the Citigo fresh design appeal, sharpening the style with redesigned bumpers and a fared-in grille that marks it out as different from the older petrol models, plus new aerodynamic wheels. Revised headlights that incorporate LED daytime running lights are now standard across the range. The charging port, meanwhile, is where you’d expect to find the petrol filler cap, and naturally you won’t find an exhaust pipe hiding behind the rear bumper.
The powertrain choice is simple, as the Citigo e iV is only offered with an 82bhp electric motor and a 36.8kWh battery. In perfect conditions, Skoda claims an official range of 170 miles. When we tested the car in winter, however, we needed to plug it in after 125 miles of driving. Our test included everything from stop-start urban traffic to motorway driving.
Driving enjoyment is also high on the Citigo's list of talents. Despite a name that hints towards the city being its natural domain, the smallest Skoda doesn't feel completely out of its depth on motorways. You can feel the extra weight of the batteries through corners and if you hit a pothole, but the car is never uncomfortable. Road and wind noise is now more noticeable because the electric motor is so much quieter than the petrol engine previously used.
Being almost cube-like in its design, the Citigo has a very space-efficient interior that offers a remarkable amount of room for four adult occupants. The boot is bigger than that of many city-car rivals and, unusually, the electric car is just as practical as the petrol models. This is all despite taking up very little space on the road, which makes the car very agile and manoeuvrable on tight urban streets.
The most recent Citigos have a far more sophisticated interior than earlier examples, but the inside is still looking a little dated next to newer rivals. While some other city cars offer a built-in touchscreen infotainment system, the Citigo e iV only offers a universal smartphone holder and a Skoda app. A basic radio system (albeit with Bluetooth compatibility) is plumbed into the dashboard.
The entry-level SE model is a little starkly equipped, although it’s great value if you can recharge your car at home. A DAB radio, climate control and remote central locking are all included, so you don’t miss out on the bare essentials. The SE L is more generous, adding rear parking sensors, heated seats and ambient lighting. The exterior gets a lift, too, with diamond-cut 16-inch alloy wheels, fog lights and body-coloured door mirrors and handles.
It’s worth noting that the SE L is about the same price as the SEAT Mii electric and Volkswagen e-up!, but the entry-level SE undercuts these cars by about £2,500. For the price of the SE, there are currently no other electric cars that offer such a well-rounded package and a comparable range.
Although the Skoda Citigo didn't appear in our 2020 Driver Power survey's 75 models, Skoda’s reputation for owner satisfaction has always been impressive. The company finished in fifth place overall out of 30 brands surveyed, the same place as in 2019, with owners clearly impressed by the low running costs, reliability and practicality of their cars.
The Citigo previously held a five-star Euro NCAP crash safety rating, but this has been revised to a slightly disappointing three stars after the autonomous emergency braking was removed. This is really the only fly in the ointment, as the Skoda Citigo e iV is otherwise a good-value, good-to-drive electric car.