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Skoda Citigo Elegance 1.0 MPI GreenTech 75PS 3-dr

Click to view picture gallery“After sixty years marooned on this
  planet, I
ve found the secret of a
  happy life: KIS. Keep It Simple.
  Or, in the case of the new Citigo
  city car, Keep It Skoda

ENSURING MOTORISTS 'KEEP IT SKODA' is the bonus that this zip-about-town four-seater can, if you wish, be bought purely on its price. T
he 7,630 entry-level Citigo is one of the cheapest new cars you can buy.

Of course, you'd only do that because Skoda is part of the respected VW/Audi group. You may like to know that the new Citigo is pretty much identical to the equally new up! from Volkswagen, with which it shares its platform. So there is absolutely no risk when buying the Citigo, even if it is 'just on price'.

Engine-wise, the Citigo's three-cylinder 1.0-litre petrol unit comes in two power sizes: 59 or 73bhp. Tested here is the larger 73bhp model which runs to 107mph and accelerates from zero to 62mph in 13.2 seconds (it feels quicker than the paper figures suggest). Stir it and you'll find eager get-up-and-go, with progress marked by a pleasantly thrummy engine note. A light-action five-speed manual 'box makes accessing the power easy. Should you prefer, an automatic transmission is also available.

Obviously this 73bhp version is better for those times you're not circulating in the city. Talking of which, the 'Citigo' moniker is something of a misnomer in that the Citigo (certainly the 73bhp version we've just spent a full week driving) is perfectly fine for everywhere else too — including motorways, where it feels perfectly at home at a steady 70mph cruise.

“Fuel economy is a core selling point and while the ordinary Citigo models deliver, the GreenTech variants offer even better mpg — 67.3mpg in the combined cycle. Without trying, we recorded an average 59.1mpg...”
Fuel economy is a core selling point and while the ordinary Citigo models deliver, the GreenTech variants offer even better mileage thanks to Stop-Start, brake energy recovery (lift off the accelerator or brake and the battery is charged), lowered suspension (better aerodynamics), and tyres with reduced rolling resistance to maximise economy and keep emissions under that important 100g/km ceiling.

Officially the 73bhp GreenTech Elegance manages 67.3mpg in the combined cycle: without trying, we recorded an average 59.1mpg.

"Can do better", my old school master used to scribble on my reports — and when it comes to MPG, so will most Citigo drivers.

Plus the 98g/km CO2 emissions earn more bonuses: no road tax and no London Congestion charge. The 35-litre tank also means a range between fill-ups of at least 400 miles.

If you think that driving a small city car is a chore, something done purely for the sake of economy, you'll be delighted to learn that the Citigo is actually an enjoyable car to drive. In town or out on the open road, the ride, thanks to its long wheelbase (given its short 'fit-anywhere' 3,563mm overall length), is notably comfortable, the Citigo skimming over potholes and sleeping policemen surprisingly smoothly.

On motorways it feels stable and on twisty country roads it holds its own, cornering tidily and staying with the traffic, while the precise, well-weighted steering feels fine both around the houses and out of sight of them.

The other benefit of the Citigo's generous wheelbase is its big-hearted interior space. The large front seats (well-bolstered with integral headrests) offer decent support, especially for your shoulders. They also tilt and slide forward, and combined with the two big side doors ensure easy access to the back seats in what is a four-max cabin. Four adults, that is.

Unexpectedly, even six-footers have ample room in the back — although officially a four-seater, with only two rear headrests and belts, there's a fair-sized gap between two adults. Plus there's a mass of room for feet and the soft front seatbacks are good for knees. Large side windows keep it all light and airy, and there are built-in outer armrests. Travelling in the back is really no hardship.

Citigo drivers will appreciate the excellent all-round visibility, helped by sensible-sized door mirrors. They'll also like the functional and foolproof fascia design. And looking smart in the black-themed interior are the body-coloured door cappings.

“The three-door’s two big side doors ensure
easy access to the back
seats in what is
a four-max cabin.
Four adults, that is
Other nice features are the chunky three- spoke leather-wrapped steering wheel (it only adjusts for height) and an uncluttered instrument cluster that consists of a speedo flanked on either side by smaller dials for fuel and revs.

If you like, the touchscreen display can be set to show a pair of larger digitised 'gauges' for the rev-counter and coolant temperature.

Build quality is good, and there are some useful touches such as the organiser (glasses, pen, coins) in the glovebox, the parking ticket holder at the base of the windscreen — on windy days you'll be glad it's there! — and small net pockets on the inner sides of both front seatbacks.

Not an issue, but worth mentioning: although the front windows are power-operated, the driver needs to lean across (if he/she is travelling solo) to operate the passenger window as there's not a remote switch on the driver's side. But then, how often do you need to? Another clever feature is the cup-holder in the open tray just ahead of the gear lever — it can easily be disengaged or a beaker-shaped storage unit slotted in which also has a removable moulded rubber grip designed to hold your mobile securely.

Standard kit on the Elegance model includes electric front windows, AirCon (it's quick to chill), power heated mirrors, two-stage heated front seats, leather steering wheel, CD player with Aux input, speed-sensitive power steering, daytime running lights, front fogs, and a set of smart 8-spoke alloys

Skoda hasn't skimped on safety either — you get ESP, head-thorax side airbags plus driver and passenger airbags, a seat belt reminder for all four seats, and a five-star Euro NCAP rating.

An optional Safety pack (180) adds 'City-safe' that monitors the area in front of the vehicle and actively assists braking at speeds below 19mph when there is danger of a collision. A Convenience pack (310) adds cruise control and three acoustic parking sensors in the rear bumper.

And if you think the Citigo isn't cool enough, then check out its PID (Portable Infotainment Device). This five-inch detachable touchscreen infotainment centre serves up SatNav, Bluetooth hands-free mobile, car info (ie; doors open, mpg, range, etc); and a media player. And, if your Citigo has reversing sensors, then the PID will display a visual of how close you are to obstructions.

“Luggage capacity
is usually the first thing
sacrificed when making
smaller cars.
Not so at Skoda — lift
the tailgate and you’ll
have easy access to one
of the largest boots
in this class:
251 litres for shopping
or ‘stuff
The PID sits on a short stalk sited top-dead-centre on the fascia, with plenty of tilt and swivel adjustment so your front passenger can use it too — and it's very easy to use, even if (like us) you don't have the operating instructions!

Much more than just another gadget, the PID really is useful and provides a wealth of pertinent information on the move. For example: when the 'low fuel' warning light comes on, a message flashes up showing the remaining range to empty and asks if you want to drive to a garage to top up right away. If you do, it then displays all the nearest garages on the SatNav map for you to select from.

Luggage capacity is usually the first thing sacrificed when making smaller cars. Not so at Skoda — lift the tailgate and you'll have easy access to one of the largest boots in this class: 251 litres for shopping or 'stuff'.

The tilt-for-access rear parcel shelf can be removed and stored in a jiffy, and you'll also find four bag hooks in the deep boot along with extra storage space under the floor in the spare wheel well — there's no spare, just a puncture repair kit.

Fold the 60:40 split rear seatbacks and those 251 litres expand to a very practical 951 litres that will definitely come in handy for those DIY superstore runs. And check out the petrol cap — it's a proper locking type worked by the ignition key and well worth having particularly as siphoning is on the up in these days of expensive fuel.

An affordable, likeable and seriously economical city car, the easy-handling Citigo is comfortable to travel in; it makes light work of city traffic (and is especially easy to park!) and can handle long journeys too. So trust to Skoda, that 'maker of happy drivers', and you can let your wallet do the talking. KIS! —

Skoda Citigo Elegance 1.0 MPI GreenTech 75PS 3-Dr | 9,860
Maximum speed: 107mph | 0-62mph: 13.2 seconds | Overall test MPG: 59.1mpg
Power: 73bhp | Torque: 70lb ft | CO2 98g/km