The cute Citigo adds to an impressive model range for the VW-owned carmaker Škoda.
At just 3.56 metres long, Citigo is the new baby in the Czech company's impressive range. With an expected price tag starting at just under €10,000, this is a new car that makes a lot of sense – especially when you consider some luxury cars can lose over €10,000 in depreciation alone in just a year!
Citigo launches in Ireland in three-door form this July. There will be a five-door coming in September with roughly a €500 premium. It is an almost identical triplet to two other vehicles in the VW group: the SEAT Mii and the just-launched-in-Ireland VW 'up!'.
The VW is one of my favourite cars - with more kit as standard and a more powerful 75bhp engine available - but of course the price tag reflects this next to the Škoda. But bar subtle styling, equipment levels and a few other tweaks, there is no difference between the Citigo, the Mii and the 'up!. Škoda is keen to point out that the Citigo is the cheapest of the three cars to get into, and you can also spec it up to a high level for less - this is pretty much in keeping with its whole range.
Ireland is taking just one of the two excellent one-litre, three-cylinder petrol engines available in the Citigo for the moment - the lowest output version (although the 75bhp is available and a great version to drive). The 60bhp unit develops just 95nm of torque but, because the car is so small and light (until I got into it!), it can deliver 62mpg on average (4.5L/100km). Just 105g/km of CO2 is produced, so it easily falls into tax band 'A'.
Going from 0-100km/h takes 14.4 seconds, which in a car this sizes feel quite nippy. Top speed is 160km/h and the standard gearbox is a five-speed manual. Citigo scored really well in crash tests too, achieving a Euro NCAP 5 star rating. While it is not confirmed, it seems the excellent anti-crash system that is standard in the VW up! ('City Safe Drive') is not going to be fitted as standard in the Citigo in order to deliver the very competitive entry point.
So, the big question: why would you buy a Citigo ahead of an up!? Primarily because the Škoda is cheaper and your euro will get you more toys in the Citigo than in the Mii or up!. Clearly the VW has more street-cred, but for buyers who demand value for money more than the limelight Citigo makes a strong case for itself.
Three specification levels will be available: Active, Ambition and Elegance. If you need shopping space, the boot can hold 251 litres and up to 959 litres with the seats folded. There are a few simple touches in Citigo that make the whole experience a quality one. The ticket holder clip on the A pillar is nice, but the optional photo clip on the dashboard is a touch of class.
To drive Citigo is a hoot - as we expected. The choice for buyers of a 'triplet' is going to come down to badge loyalty, price and, more importantly for me, standard safety equipment and performance.
Škoda has built a reputation for delivering real value for money with excellent build quality, and this has to be applauded. Citigo joins Fabia, Roomster, Yeti, Octavia and Superb to complete a line-up that has helped the firm grow at a very impressive rate.