Skoda’s take on the VW Up has much to commend it
IF THE SUPERMINI market wasn’t crowded enough, the VW Group has served up three new offerings, with this new Skoda Citigo being pitched against the VW Up and Seat Mii.
The cars share underpinnings and dimensions, with styling tweaks to give them their own brand flavour. The Citigo’s chrome-framed, finned grille is from the MissionL concept car and shows the stylistic way ahead for the Czech marque’s expanding range.
There will be 59bhp and 74bhp petrol models at the Citigo’s launch. Both produce 70lb ft of torque and come with a five-speed manual ‘box, although an auto will also be available, as will a frugal Green Tec version.
Safety kit includes City Safe Drive brake assist. At up to 19mph it uses a laser sensor to automatically slow the car if it senses the danger of a crash.
In 74bhp form, the three-pot, 999cc engine is refined and the Citigo is capable of handling motorway cruises as well as its urban prowess. In the less powerful car, the powerplant sounds harsher and doesn’t cruise so willingly.
Light but precise steering reinforces the sensation that this agile car is in its element nipping in and out of traffic. The ride was onthefirmside on some country roads around Prague – something that will probably hold true on the UK’s uneven asphalt.
The cabin is sensibly thought out. Taking centre stage on the dashboard is a removable 5.0in multimedia device for navigation, hands-free phone, onboard computer and audio control. However, some hard plastics on the dashboard provide a reminder that this is a low-cost machine. Still, the cabin is pleasant, with plenty of width. As far as rear legroom is concerned, there’s enough for adults of medium height to sit line astern, but a pair of six-footers might struggle for space.
The Citigo shows its town car credentials with clever storage ideas. The 251-litre boot gets two stowing nets, the glovebox handle features a bag hook and there’s even a clip on the centre console to hold a photo of your nearest and dearest.
The three-door Citigo will be launched next June, with the five-door version following two months later. Skoda’s offering is set to be the most competitively priced of the three VW Group products, undercutting the cheapest Up by about L500. With a car this good in such a hody contested market, that could be significant.