When you consider the success of Skoda in recent years it may surprise you to learn that the Citigo is the Czech manufacturer's first foray into the world of city cars. While in essence the baby Skoda is little more than a rebadged Volkswagen up! the designers and engineers have managed to endow the car with enough of a personality to make us think that, in the right trim, the Skoda is the car to go for.
Inside & Out: 4/5
Let's not beat around the bush here; under the skin the Citigo is virtually identical to the Volkswagen up! and SEAT Mii, but the Skoda offering does seem to be more comfortable in its skin than the other two. This is probably due to the Citigo being the first Skoda model to feature the firm's new design language. The new grille and sharper headlights will eventually appear across the range and it's these touches that help to separate it from its siblings, giving the Citigo a more mature look than the sporty Mii and cool up!.
It is much the same inside with the Citigo featuring a more grown up, sombre interior. A lot of this can be attributed to the fact that the painted dashboard facia is exclusive to the Volkswagen, but is probably heightened by the beige interior treatment of our test car.
Despite its diminutive dimensions the Citigo is spacious inside with enough room for four occupants and a few bags in the 251-litre boot. This compares favourably against rivals like the Ford Ka and Fiat 500 but much of the space is in the height; not only is it accessed over a high lip, but is also limited in holding bulkier items. Thankfully the Skoda engineers went mad with netting in the cabin making for plenty of cubby spaces in there.
Engine & Transmission: 4/5
All told there are four different engine/transmission options in the Citigo but whether you opt for five-speed manual or 'automated manual' ASG transmission it will be fitted to a 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol powerplant. The engine differences are merely ones of power output with the standard car offering 60hp and the higher 75hp. It was the lower powered car we drove and while 60hp does not seem like an awful lot the Citigo's sub one-tonne kerb weight does mean it has less to haul around.
With a 0-100km/h time of 14.4 seconds the Citigo is never going to win any races, but from the driving seat it certainly feels as if it would. The off-beat three-cylinder thrum sounds better the further into the rev range you go and it feels as if you are driving faster than you actually are. Combine this with predictable and, dare we say it, fun, handling thanks to the 'wheels pushed to the corners' set up and the Citigo is an enjoyable car to scoot around town in.
Ride & Handling: 3/5
The Skoda engineers (and those at Volkswagen and SEAT) have to be commended for endowing the small Citigo with the kind of road manners one does not expect of a city car. Bumps and potholes are soaked up incredibly well and in general the interior of the baby Skoda is a comfortable place to be. The only time it does not feel so is at higher speed cornering when the steering wheel, bereft of much in the way of feel, feels thoroughly disconnected from the front wheels. Not that we expect many owners to experience this as the Citigo is a city car (it's in the name!) and around town the light steering is a real boon allowing for easy three-point turns and reversing into parking spaces.
Equipment, Economy & Value for Money: 4/5
Entry into the Citigo line-up begins at €10,425 for the three-door model in base 'Active trim'. This car runs on steel wheel, has a docking station for the "Move & Fun" satellite navigation system (standard only on the top-spec Elegance model) and a radio/CD stereo with aux input for plugging your iPhone into. A sum of €500 adds the height adjustable driver's seat, on-board computer and heated mirrors of Ambition trim while the satnav, alloy wheels, air conditioning and front fog lights of the Elegance model cost an extra €1,400, with the five-door variant commanding a premium of €500 over the three.
Some of the safety equipment that is standard on the Volkswagen up! (like the emergency city braking system) is not offered by Skoda, which accounts for a lower starting price.