The Skoda Citigo has been one of our favourite city cars since it first came onto the scene. Now, Skoda has given its smallest car a mid-life refresh, although you'll have to look closely to spot the differences. On the mechanical front, it remains unchanged, with two engines from which to choose.
In the Metal:
Unlike the polarising update Skoda gave to the Octavia, the Citigo's mid-cycle update is a far subtler affair. The bulk of the visual changes are centred around the front of the car and are made up of slightly restyled headlights to include an LED daytime running light strip along the base. Also tweaked is the grille, which is now shaped to fit in with the current family look. New bumpers add 34mm to the overall length of the car, but none of this means more space inside.
There is it very much as it was, save for the introduction of a new stereo system on all but the entry-level models. This unit is like that seen on the updated Volkswagen up! and includes a small display screen, doing away with the previous system of using a clip-in satnav unit. Instead, Skoda has used the ubiquity of smartphone ownership to save some money on the bottom line by adding a simple cradle to grip onto owners' devices. A Skoda app for both Android and Apple operating systems can add extra driving data should you be so inclined.
The cabin is roomy for a car of this size and, as you might expect from Skoda, there's a good selection of useful features dotted throughout the inside. New items include a useful hook that folds out from the handle of the glove box for hanging handbags or shopping bags from.
Skoda has stuck with its 1.0-litre three-cylinder powerplants in the revised Citigo, leaving them mechanically unchanged. Power outputs of 60- and 75hp are available, but sadly the company has no plans to introduce the 90hp 1.0-litre TSI engine that features in the newer Volkswagen up!. Nonetheless, these two engines suit the car well and, in truth, there is less to separate them than you may think. Both generate the same 95Nm of torque, but the 60hp version reaches its peak power output at lower revs (5,000rpm for those that are interested), whereas the more powerful 75hp version requires an additional 1,200rpm before it hits it maximum output. This means that, around town, there is much less to separate the two engines, but if you find yourself on a motorway more frequently you'll appreciate the extra power.
With most models riding on 15-inch wheels the ride quality is well cushioned. We did try a version equipped with the optional 16-inch rims and found a noticeable difference. One other aspect to consider when it comes to comfort is that both the Citigo Monte Carlo and engines equipped with Skoda's GreenTech system both have reduced ride heights. There's enough travel in the suspension to soak up the smaller stuff, but it's firm enough to make the Citigo feel agile when negotiating the hustle and bustle of town traffic.
The driving position and visibility are good though there isn't any reach adjustment for the steering, only height (not unusual in this segment). While there may only be a five-speed gearbox, the gear change is light and easy. Less impressive is the automatic ASG transmission. Behaving more like a robotised manual, the automatic gear shifts can be sluggish and any attempts to hurry the car along with the throttle pedal only seems to exasperate matters.
What you get for your Money:
Skoda offers the Citigo in three specifications; 'Active', 'Ambition' and 'Monte Carlo'.
The 'Active' grade is only available with the lesser-powered five-speed manual transmission in both three- and five-door variants. With this model the standard equipment is basic with 15-inch steel wheels, black plastic door handles and mirrors covers but it does get body coloured bumpers, electric front windows and a 'Blues' radio system.
The step up to 'Ambition' grade lets you choose from any of the engines, transmission and body style variant and ups the exterior appearance with colour matched door handles and mirrors while the headlights gain LED daytime running lights. Its restyled grille also features a chrome surround. Inside, there is split-folding rear seats, the 'Move & Fun' mobile mount, a height adjustable driver's seat and electrically adjustable and heated door mirrors.
Capping off the range is the 'Monte Carlo' model that features specific exterior decals, 15-inch alloy wheels, a sportier looking front and rear bumper and an all-black grille. The interior gains 'Sport' upholstery and a 3-spoke leather steering wheel.
Skoda has stuck to the mantra of 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it' for this updated Citigo. It remains one of the best all-round city cars on the market, and while others like the Hyundai i10 closely rival it in some aspects of practicality and value, as a complete package, the Citigo remains a strong player with useful features and a high sense of value for money.