Skoda Citigo Monte

Carlo

Skoda Citigo Monte Carlo, front, static
Skoda Citigo Monte Carlo, front static
Skoda Citigo Monte Carlo, rear static
Skoda Citigo Monte Carlo, dashboard
Skoda Citigo Monte Carlo, front seats
Skoda Citigo Monte Carlo, dash detail
Skoda Citigo Monte Carlo, rear seats
Skoda Citigo Monte Carlo, rear detail
Skoda Citigo Monte Carlo, boot

DRIVE a fast Ford Focus or bewinged Subaru and you'll get used to friendly waves from fellow road users who are either driving the same sort of car, or wish they were.

Well, now there's another one to add to the roll call of 'glad to see you' machines - and this one won't hit 100mph.

It would also struggle to pull the skin off a firmly set rice pudding and costs about the same as some people pay for better brakes on their Bentley - but you might just end up loving it to bits.

Oh, and it's a Skoda. They've been good cars for years but you'd never reckon one of them - and the tiddler in the range too - would attract the passing attentions of a car full of young men.

The fact they were in a near identical tiny Skoda too might have had something to do with it, but their smiles and waves were clearly well meant. Here we were, both of us, in something worth celebrating, they were saying.

What drew their attention on the M1 to the test car? That's an easy one, for it was the Monte Carlo edition of Skoda's Citigo and it came with no-cost tornado red paint to reinforce the sporty feel of the black alloy wheels, black front and rear spoilers, grille and door mirrors - and chessboard go-faster stripes on doors and rear hatch.

Inside (as the car's motorway admirers doubtless knew) you'll find a centre console in red, with that same colour used to highlight the cloth upholstery, leather clad steering wheel and the floor mats too.

Monte Carlo is known for its glamour and for its grand prix and motor rally and the bits of trim on this edition of the Citigo certainly adds a dose of glitz to a car that's otherwise simply a well built and practical town focused runaround.

The motorsport link is rather harder to explain, left here to a slightly lowered suspension to impart a bit of fizz when a corner arrives. Which might take some time with the Citigo's modestly powerful engine pulling the car along.

In fact, its three-cylinder thrum and a delightfully positive gearchange combine to make this a car that is way more than the sum of its parts.

It may not be quick but there's fun on tap for even the most mundane journey.

That lowered suspension never threatens to turn too tough for comfort and 54mpg at the end of a testing week made the Citigo a car to savour.

Modest dimensions help too, although the car's square cut shape (shared with near identical models from VW and SEAT) makes the most of what's possible.

So there's comfortable room in the rear for a couple of adults and lashings of space up front. The boot is modest but well shaped and the rear seat flops forward if needed.

It feels like a bigger car made smaller, so there's a real sense of solidity to everything you touch, from steering wheel to indicator stalk and switches. And a much bigger car would be jealous of the size of the doors fitted to this three-door model; they're simply huge.

You can, though, see where savings have been made to keep the cost down to city car level, with manual adjustment of the door mirrors, no auto setting for the lights and minor dash displays so dull and green they're hard to read.

FAST FACTS

Skoda Citigo Monte Carlo

Price: £10,940

Mechanical:69 bhp, 999cc, 3-cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 5-spd gearbox

Max Speed: 99 mph

0-62mph: 14.4 secs

Combined MPG: 62.8

Insurance Group: 1

C02 emissions: 105 g/km

Bik rating: 18%

Warranty:3yrs/60,000 miles

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