Skoda: 2014 Citigo review

Skoda: 2014 Citigo review

The Custard Yellow five-door Skoda hatchback parked on the roof top of the downtown building, almost appears as if it’s sneering at the bigger cars jammed around it in very tight spaces.

Outwardly the Citigo appears small, but that’s until you hop into it, and find a roomy and practical cabin indoors. Even Alec Issigonis [designer of the original Mini] could get a gin bottle from his liquor outlet to fit in the door recess. If it was Blue in our household it maybe referred to as the Tardis.

DSC_0057Where the majority of affordable light cars can go wrong is where more specification is deleted than added by the manufacturer, however while the Citigo is designed to be utilitarian and practical, it is not down spec and lacking bits you would normally expect to find.

‘Simply clever’ is a very apt motto for this particular model and although it’s Skoda’s marketing slogan it does embrace most of what you will read about here.

In true European fashion the styling is kilometres away from the endless boredom of the Asian design we have come to expect, although the left hand drive steering column controls P8130005will drive me insane for weeks to come.

Turn the key and the gruff sound of the 999cc three-cylinder engine tells the driver its ready, willing, and more than able with 55Kw of maximum power output and a respectable 95Nm in the rev range where you need it.

The secret to this little blinder is the three cylinders are near square stroke and bore affecting a ‘golden rule’ with internal combustion engines.

Although this is not the place to discuss engineering intricacies be assured that the designers have embraced the concept to the fullest and the engine will give long and rewarding service.

P8130017The Citigo really does cut the Mustard when combined with the driver-friendly five-speed gearbox and seemingly wide ratios making this gem the ultimate fun around town. The engine is so smooth it’s not fussed with which gear or what revolutions you use, although you do need to watch fourth gear and 50kph, as like many other cars staying at the legal speed is hard to achieve but don’t try that argument on the traffic cops. They won’t listen.

With economy averaging 5.2l/100km we think the claimed 4.7l/100km combined efficiency could be achieved with more kms on the odometer. Yes, the more expensive 95RON petrol is required for this model but this ensures top efficiency and fewer trips to the bowser in the long run. This P8130003car really is worth the good juice.

Safety features for the $18,990+ORC manual base model include a 5-star NCAP rating with Electronic Stability Control, and City Safe Drive, a feature that guards against those moments of inattention crawling in urban traffic.

It will stop you, before you drive into the rear end of someone in front.

The Citigo does not have bluetooth connectivity, however the ‘Funky’ audio [that’s what Skoda calls it], is not shabby at all, producing a good sound with some punch up front, rather than the usual pancake flat sound response commonly heard in small cars.

DSC_0053The versatility of this car will impress you, with nearly a cubic metre of carrying capacity with seats folded down, and the deep boot space is deceptive in how low the floor is.

Chief reporter Robert borrowed the car, and managed to fit himself and four other Kiwi-sized blokes into the Citigo as well as all their sports kit in the boot to get from our CBD office to a rugby training session. He says that on the run up College Hill from Victoria Park in the city he only needed to change down to third gear just outside the Cavalier Tavern.

For those folks who need it, an automatic transmission versions is available at $19,990+ORC. As is cruise control.

P8130024Air-conditioning is standard in the Citigo and central door locking is on the key remote, the leather steering wheel is a nice touch and the passenger enjoys a vanity mirror for pit stops of the facial kind.

The front windows are electrically operated, but the rear doors have a fiendishly clever quarter window type catch to allow airflow and not buffeting.

Our only criticism is the small on board computer display with restricted functions, although at this price point its hard to argue. We would like to see options fitted such as the 15-inch alloys at $1500, and the Sport suspension at $350, perhaps a sunroof for summer, although that’s an $1800 luxury item.

So who will buy this wee Skoda?

Smart city dwellers, which know a good thing, when they see it as well as commuters who will love the look and feel of the car as well as the thrifty side to motoring.

I don’t know how many times I have heard Skoda jokes from days of old as well as the endless and needless bashing of the brand, but I’m over it.

To those people who take this badge lightly, you really are showing your ignorance to product evolution within a Volkswagen Group company which is committed to giving the market more features, value, and specification than it can possibly know what to do with.

Simply Clever, absolutely sums up the Citigo.

Price: $18,990 plus on road costs

Pros:

  • Fun to drive
  • Tardis-like cabin
  • Well designed and executed
  • Thrify performance

Cons:

  • We couldn’t think of any outside of needing 95 RON petrol.

Words and pictures:

 

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