Skoda Citigo Monte

Carlo

Skoda Citigo Monte Carlo
Skoda Citigo, dashboard

MENTION Monte Carlo and the image that comes to mind is of multi-million dollar yachts bobbing gently in the marina, the casino, celebrities, expensive sports cars and Formula One.

Skoda's link to the haven of the super-rich is tenuous to say the least. It used to compete in the Monte Carlo Rally, never won the event, and now no longer competes in the World Rally Championship.

Yet the Monte Carlo-badged Citigo just goes to show how a few decals, lowered suspension and a bit of cabin bling can catapult you from Primark to Prada in the style stakes.

Mind you, with its wheel in each corner design and city car dimensions, the Citigo is much easier - and maybe more fun - to manoeuvre in the Principality's narrow, crowded streets than your Bentley or Roller.

The Citigo Monte Carlo certainly looks the part. Based on the mid-range SE model, it is available with either three or five doors.

There are black design details all over the car, help[ing it stand out from the rest of the range.

Included are very cool-looking 15-inch black alloys, front and rear spoilers, rear diffuser, grille and door mirrors.

It might have a hot-hatch personaility but power comes from the same one-litre three-potter as the SE model.

With 0-62mph coming in a fraction over 14 seconds and a top speed of just 99mph, it certainly won't be able to compete in the performance stakes against any of the Ferrari or Lamborghini supercars that groove the Tarmac in the Mediterranean tax haven.

With an average fuel return of nearly 63mpg, it does however go a lot further on a gallon of fuel than most of the supercars that inhabit Monte Carlo.

It is also far from dull. The five-speed gearbox is light and precise, ideal for negotiating Monte Carlo's famous hairpin - and a lot more fun to throw around - surprisingly nippy and the steering is well weighted.

It's certainly dazzling inside, perked up by red seats. A sports steering wheel and Monte Carlo red/black upholstery make up the main visual changes to the interior, although Skoda's PID infotainment system is also fitted as standard, featuring sat-nav, Bluetooth connectivity, a media player, and trip and vehicle information.

Despite the Citigo's small size, it is surprisingly spacious. From the driver's seat the car feels a little on the narrow side, but headroom is excellent and it's easy to get comfortable. The back row is tight but it's fine for short journeys or for children, plus there are Isofix points for child seats. Both three and five-door versions are available and the latter has wide-opening rear doors.

But what impresses is how adaptable the Citigo is. One you get out of town and onto a main road it feels like a much bigger car. It's refined, quiet and doesn't feel at all strained at motorway speeds.

It might not keep up with a Porsche but it will easily keep up with the general traffic flow and has a surprising turn of pace when it comes to in-gear performance - not something you'd expect in a car designed for the city. It's even happy to be thrown into corners, with admirable grip from its little tyres and very good body control.

FAST FACTS

Skoda Citigo Monte Carlo

Price: £10,590

Mechanical: 60bhp, 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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