Skoda Citigo Monte

Carlo 1.0 MPI

Skoda Citigo Monte Carlo
Skoda Citigo Monte Carlo, interior
Skoda Citigo, rear badge
Skoda Citigo, sat nav
Skoda Citigo, dashboard

WITH the emphasis in the small car market very much on personalisation and individuality these days it certainly pays for manufacturers to make their models stand out from the crowd.

Special editions are one way to do that, and Skoda have put a fresh twist on the acclaimed Citigo by giving it the Monte Carlo treatment.

The Czech car maker launched the Monte Carlo name in 2011 with a Fabia variant. It's named after the rally of the same name and is a nod to the marque's motorsport heritage.

So it was fitting that their latest small car became the second model to carry the moniker earlier this year - although it has since been joined by the Yeti SUV.

The trim is based on the mid-range SE grade car but seeks to give the normally reserved looking Citigo a sporty makeover - and there's no denying that it makes a strong visual impact.

Available with three and five doors, the most obvious difference from the standard car is the black external design elements which characterise all Monte Carlo models.

Here these include 15-inch alloy wheels, front and rear spoilers, rear diffuser, grille and door mirrors.

You also get racy black stripes at the bottom of the doors and darkened rear 'sunset' glass, while the car sits a road-hugging 15mm lower than the rest of the range on a sports suspension.

Altogether it gives the Monte Carlo a more muscular presence and creates a look that would make many a boy-racer proud.

Even my brother-in-law, who is way past the boy racing stage, was moved to remark on the dynamic styling when he saw it parked on the drive.

Having reached an understandable conclusion based on the appearance, though, he was eager to interrogate me about the performance - obviously expecting to be regaled with tales of hot hatch speed.

But the Citigo Monte Carlo is something of a sheep in wolf's clothing because, while Skoda have given it a beefy look, they've not bothered to beef up what's under the bonnet.

In fact, of the two 1.0-litre, three cylinder petrol engines used across the range Skoda has decided to stick the lower powered 60ps one in here so the 0-62mph sprint time, if you can call it that, is a decidedly pedestrian 14.4 seconds and the top speed is just 99mph.

Of course, that does mean that the Monte Carlo offers the same impressive fuel economy as the standard Citigo so you'll get an impressive 62.8 miles per gallon on average, while carbon emissions of just 105g/km and a low insurance rating also help to ensure miserly running costs.

And although power is limited, 90 per cent of it is available from 2,000 right up to 6,000rpm while peak output is hit from 3,000 to 4,300rpm. That, coupled with a snappy five-speed manual transmission, offers some versatile and peppy performance on the urban streets for which the Citigo is designed.

The ride is also comfortable and poised and the light and accurate steering makes manoeuvring around the city a doddle.

Predictably, it's not as engaging to drive on the open road, where the power limitations are more exposed, but rarely does the willing little three-pot struggle, even at motorway speeds.

Inside the cabin the diminutive Citigo boasts the surprisingly Tardis-like space of it's close VW Group relatives the Up! and SEAT's Mii so there is comfortable head and leg room for four adults, decent enough oddment storage space for such a small car, including two rear cup holders, and a very handy boot at 251 litres.

And in Monte Carlo trim the interior has been given the same sporty makeover as the exterior so you get a leather sports steering wheel with red stitching, a glossy black dashboard and eyecatching red and black upholstery with contrast stripes.

The kit for this special edition also gets a boost as Skoda throw in their innovate portable infotainment device as standard.

This features satnav, a multimedia player with Bluetooth and a trip computer in a handy dash mounted touchscreen interface and is added to an equipment list that also includes the likes of aircon, front fog lamps, electric front windows, ABS brakes and stability control.

All told, it's a well-specced and racy looking package for the trendy young things about town - just don't expect to do any actual racing in it.

FAST FACTS

Skoda Citigo Monte Carlo 1.0 MPI

Price: £10,590

Mechanical: 60ps, 999cc, 3cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 5-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed:99mph

0-62mph: 14.4 seconds

Combined MPG: 62.8

Insurance Group: 2

C02 emissions: 105g/km

Bik rating: 14%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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