Skoda CitiGo Test Drive Review

Skoda Citigo Review

Car Tested : Skoda Citigo Elegance 75 HP GreenTech

Price: S £7630 (Rs. 6,48,550/-), SE £8690 (Rs. 7,38,650/-), Elegance £9630 (Rs. 8,18,550/-)

We thank Bickerton Skoda, Sheffield for providing us the Skoda Citigo for test drive. The car was with us for more than three hours. Special thanks to Richard Dale.

Along with the Seat Mii, the Skoda Citigo marks the expansion of Volkswagen’s Up! city car platform to other brands in the VW Group in re-badged form. The car was launched in CZech Republic in October 2011. There is a three-door version and also a five-door version. The basic S variant of the Skoda Citigo has power steering and daytime running lights. We were impressed by the features of the SE which adds electric front windows, smarter looks, ESP, remote central locking and air-conditioning. Elegance model gets alloy wheels, heated front seats and Skoda’s portable infotainment device: an on-board computer, sat-nav, Bluetooth and a multimedia player combined in a removable device.

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Exteriors – The Citigo is a smart looking city car and the Skoda family front grill looks astonishing on the vehicle. Its looks a bit boxy but still the design is impressive. Blackened headlamps adds sportiness in Citigo’s front styling. Vertical tail lights suit the rear of the Skoda Citigo. As the car is based on the VW’s Up! city car platform, the dimensions are pretty similar to UP! which is already on test in Pune, India. However exterior styling is more appealing than the Volkswagen Up!. Externally, the Skoda is smart and presentable and most definitely a compact car. The build quality is impressive (read typical European cars), with solid-feeling materials used throughout and some thoughtful finishing touches like a small clip to hold parking stubs or pictures. Some of the plastics are a little hard and scratchy but, given the price, it’s no major concern.

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Interiors – Get inside the Skoda Citigo and feel the sheer amount of room on offer in the front. It’s a comfortable cabin, and there’s even room for four adults and a small amount of luggage (with boot space of 251-litres, or 951-litres with the rear seats folded down). The Skoda Citigo’s dashboard is simple yet clever and is essentially inspired from Skoda’s other models. The quality of the plastic is impressive and we hope that Skoda will provide the same quality in India as well when they launch this car in India. Essential cubby holes were present however there was only one cup holder available in the Citigo, door pocket are good to hold newspapers or magazines. Driver and passenger seats provided are comfortable and provide impressive under thigh support, so long drives won’t be any problem in the Skoda Citigo. The car is comfortable for four adults and once you have the 5th passenger on-board then the rear seat will become uncomfortable. The main culprit for this is the gear hump.

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The rear seat legroom is nothing to talk about, however, it is good for short travel if you have three passengers on the rear seat. There are some evidences of cost cutting in the Citigo, like no plastic panels on doors, no full carpet in boot, only two AC vents (we hope that we will get four of them in India). However, the material which is provided is of top notch quality. Equipment levels are good too. Even the basic ‘S’ model comes with a CD player, power steering, an auxiliary connection for MP3 players, a height-adjustable steering wheel, airbags and daytime running lights. The Elegance model, however, is equipped like a larger and more expensive car. It gets air-con, alloy wheels, electric windows, remote central locking, stability control, electric heated door mirrors, heated front seats, a leather steering wheel, front fog lights and Skoda’s clever removable dash device with integrated sat-nav and trip computer functions.

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Performance – Small, cheap and cheerful, the CitiGo offers low running costs with three variants as described above, each with a 1.0-litre MPI petrol engine. The 1.0-litre, 3-cylinder MPI engine is available in 60 BHP and 75 BHP options. MPI engine needs some heavy revving when it comes to hills and motorways. Overall, the more eager 75 BHP engine copes better at motorway speeds. Five people on-board and switch the AC ON and you will feel that you need some more power when you are driving on the hills and the highways. The smaller engine can struggle at higher speeds. The three-cylinder engine is little loud when it gets cranked up to high speed, and a bit of road and wind noise creeps into the cabin as well. At low city speeds, the Citigo is amazingly quiet.

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Ride and Handling – We were impressed by the Skoda Citigo’s ride and handling. The car was behaving like a full grown hatchback around the corners. However, there is a bit body roll which can be ignored in this segment’s car. We will rate it at 8 out of 10 in ride and handling. It handles better than the Maruti Suzuki Alto and Chevrolet Spark. The steering feedback was perfect. The suspension was bit smooth and completely suitable for city drives. The Citigo takes on the hurdles of the urban environment well, riding potholes and speed breakers in a remarkably composed manner. Turning radius is also a point to be noted which helps with maneuverability, while the precise and light steering makes parking easy as well. There is enough weight in the steering to make the car feel assured out of the town and the Citigo will give you confidence to throw it around the corners. Braking was good as well.

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Safety and Security – The Skoda Citigo is certified as 5-star by the Euro NCAP crash test, earning praise in all areas. Standard kit includes four airbags, ESP and ABS. While a city braking system is available as an option, this applies the brakes automatically if it senses an infraction. This feature works if your speed is more than 30 km/h. The car which we drove does not have City Braking System and we didn’t get chance to test this feature.

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Conclusion – Skoda’s Citigo feels grown-up to drive, is economical and well built. It is cheaper than the Volkswagen Up! and the standard equipment is better than the Up!. The smaller engine can struggle at higher speeds, however, this engine is good for taking you from Point A to Point B in the city. If Skoda manufactures this car in India with 100% localization, then it will be an instant hit. Skoda Citigo is way better than the Alto, Spark and few other cars in this segment when it comes to ride, handling, features and mainly the build quality (typical European THUD sound is present while closing the doors).

Skoda needs to make some changes to the Citigo when they launch it in India, like –

1) High localization to control prices
2) Four AC vents
3) Carpet and plastic panels where it is required
4) Engine tuning as per Indian conditions
5) Tweaked suspension setup for rough roads

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Whats Cool

* Skoda design
* Equipment list
* Ride and handling

Whats Not So Cool

* Price
* AC
* Engine not suited for highways

Skoda Citigo Specifications

* Engine: 1000cc, 3-cylinder, Start Stop (GreenTech Technology)
* Power: 60 PS @ 5000-6000 RPM, 75PS @ 6200
* Torque: 95 NM @ 3000-4300 RPM
* Transmission: 5-peed Manual
* Top Speed: 160 km/h (est.)
* 0-100 km/h: 14.4 seconds (est.)
* Fuel Type: Petrol
* Fuel Tank Capacity: 35-litres
* Tyres: 175/65/14
* Safety: ABS, Four Airbags, ESP

– Kedar Bendre