Monday, 16 May 2022

City car will even have you singing in the rain

FOUR years ago, I made a new city car my car of the year. The previous year, in 2011, the Skoda Citigo had wowed public and professionals alike after it rolled off a production line in Slovakia

FOUR years ago, I made a new city car my car of the year. The previous year, in 2011, the Skoda Citigo had wowed public and professionals alike after it rolled off a production line in Slovakia.

What made the Citigo so good that it brought plaudits from motoring writers across Europe?

I said at the time that the car was great to drive, with clearly laid out instruments, all-round vision, and a terrific engine.

This week I have acquainted myself with the 2016 Citigo. It may be now that I am more conscious of it being a small car, but it is still a great performer.

A quick trawl through the Citigo brochure shows us that model specification has grown as much as its status.

This is in keeping with Skoda’s continuing elevation in the eyes of the motoring public — the people that buy its cars.

Earlier this summer Skoda further enhanced its reputation as a top car brand in the UK for vehicle dependability.

In July the Czech manufacturer recorded back-to-back victories in the JD Power UK Vehicle Dependability Study.

But what I like about the people behind this brand is that they seem to have a sense of humour.

The brand continues to live up to its slogan, Simply Clever, but with that all-important humorous touch that obviously appeals to buyers.

For example, in recognition of the fact that “UK drivers experience 133 days of rainfall every year” you can now get a brolly with your Citigo.

Citigo buyers get one included if they opt for SE models upwards in the range — and a place to stow it under a seat.

The model I was driving this time around was the Citigo Colour Edition — brolly not included, which is a shame because mine of several years has finally given up the ghost!

On this particular car you get cool bits and pieces that add a nice touch to the Citigo’s looks, such as the 15-inch Auriga black alloy wheels and a metallic paint livery.

But you can go further, of course, in tailoring your Citigo to suit your needs and style.

So if you are a cyclist you might opt for roof bars and a bicycle holder; if you like your sounds you can have four extra speakers; if like me you prefer five doors then the Citigo delivers (it is the only model in the Skoda range that offers three or five doors as an option).

Then you might want an optional panoramic sunroof, DAB radio, cruise control, rear parking sensors, mudflaps even (if you are that kind of motorist).

All these options are now available in a slicker, more sophisticated specification sheet available on the Citigo 2016.

Indeed, one of the top spec Citigo models now is the Citigo Monte Carlo, which I hope to drive at a later date and report back.

The test car I have been driving had a manual gearbox but there is an automatic transmission (ASG) available as an alternative. This is a gearbox controlled with a gear selector, featuring standard drive, neutral and reverse positions.

There are two small petrol engines available in the Citigo — one slightly more powerful than the other.

I was driving the latter and found that I needed a tad more oomph for my personal style of driving. But with the cracking manual gearbox I was able to enjoy driving this Citigo with an eye on the rev counter.

That is, between fourth and fifth gear there was a nice smooth change available which, at speed and without busting the rev counter, could give you the power boost you might need for overtaking.

For a city car, the Citigo is a willing player on the motorway or major roads (and surprisingly comfortable).

But, as I say, a touch more power from say the 1.0-litre engine with the ASG auto box might just give you the boost you desire. Back in 2012, I was smitten by the 1.0 MPI GreenTech engine that returned 67.3 mpg (CO2 emissions of 98g/km) and a top speed of 107mph.

The test car this time around didn’t have the benefit of Skoda’s GreenTech technology — though of course it is still available in the model range.

But the test car — a 1.0 MPI 60PS, five-speed manual — still returned an official 62.8mpg on the combined fuel cycle.

However, when driven hard I am sure this little Skoda’s petrol consumption reduced simply because of the style of driving.

But that criterion is no different from any car on the road today. We can all drive economically — it is whether or not we choose to do so that counts.

Anyway, if you are looking to buy a city car with the myriad of advantages that comes with a smaller vehicle, I thoroughly recommend you try the Skoda Citigo.

Skoda Citigo factfile:

Skoda Citigo Colour Edition 1.0 MPI 60PS five-door

Combined mpg: 62.8

CO2 emissions: 105 g/km

Max speed: 99mph

0-62mph: 14.4 seconds

Price of test car: £10,400

Key features on all  Colour Edition models are as follows:

l15-inch Auriga black alloy wheels

lBody coloured door mirrors and handles

lDriver’s seat with height adjustment

lElectric front windows

lEntertainment pack (four additional  speakers and multi-media holder)

lFront fog lights

lManual  air-conditioning

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