Skoda Citigo

Elegance GreenTech

Skoda Citigo, dashboard
Skoda Citigo, side
Skoda Citigo, rear
Skoda Citigo, front

CALL me old-fashioned but I kind of hanker for the days when all cars were individual entities in their own right.

With the advent of platform sharing by manufacturers it means the same car might be available in two or three different guises.

Sometimes it's even been done by supposedly rival manufacturers - as in the case of the Mitsubishi Outlander which was also badged as the Peugeot 4007 and Citroen C Crosser.

So, Skoda's Citigo can also be found as the Volkswagen up! and the SEAT Mii.

Okay, in reality platform and component sharing means a lot of sense, due to the economies of scale involved in R&D and ultimately that has to be to the benefit of customers but I sometimes feel I would like a Skoda city car to be different to others in the VW stable as well as to those produced by other manufacturers.

However gripes apart it's worth stressing that the Citigo is a good car - as are the up! and the Mii.

The small car zone has had something of an overhaul in recent years, they're no longer an afterthought by manufacturers and these days a great deal of thought, time and effort goes into their creation.

Perhaps it's down to the fact car makers need to meet tough average emissions targets but it's also because small cars are increasingly popular across a range of customer profiles.

Young and old drivers favour them, as do families as a second car and increasingly people see the sense in downsizing due to significantly lower running costs.

Perhaps the biggest plus point of the Citigo is that it's a small city car with a distinctly big car feel.

With all four wheels pushed out as far as they can feasibly go it means there's an amazing amount of space on the inside.

The cabin has a surprisingly open and roomy feel to it and even rear seat passengers (it only takes two) are pretty well catered for.

It's neither cramped nor claustrophobic and the adults I transported in the back managed pretty well it has to be said.

The boot's roomy too, given its size, with enough space to swallow several bags of shopping and more besides.

Trim and switchgear are impressive for a small car. In Elegance form you also get a detachable touch screen which clips on easily and features a satellite navigation system, on-board computer and Bluetooth connectivity.

The small three-cylinder engine might not sound like much on paper but it makes a great throaty noise and when worked hard powers the Citigo surprisingly pleasingly.

The aforementioned position of the wheels also adds much to its handling prowess, making it rather an engaging car to drive.

Buyers can choose between 60bhp and 75bhp variants and this lower-powered model was actually reasonably swift and in GreenTech guise produces emissions below the crucial 100g/km mark, so no road tax or Congestion Charge to worry about.

It is also exceptionally frugal, returning almost 70mpg on the combined cycle and features an efficient stop-start system too.

Not the sort of car that's perhaps suited to a hugely long motorway voyage but great for those short trips around town and ideal for manoeuvring in and out of tight spaces.

While it might struggle to assert an individual identity the Citigo is a well-built and well thought out car that's practical, good value for money, cheap to run and fun to drive.

FAST FACTS

Skoda Citigo Elegance GreenTech

Price: £9,630

Mechanical: 60bhp, 1,000cc, 3cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 5-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 100mph

0-62mph: 14.4 seconds

Combined MPG: 68.9

Insurance Group: 1

C02 emissions: 96g/km

Bik rating: 10%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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