An impressive mini city car

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THE mighty Volkswagen Group empire recently launched three new small city cars each individually badged by VW, Seat and Skoda but all are virtually the same car and they have been receiving glowing reports in the motoring Press writes Bryan Longworth.

I was earlier impressed by the VW Up version and have now been testing the Skoda model the Citigo which I found still seemed to have different characteristics that gave it a separate identity.

On the outside the Citigo can be identified at the front in particular with Skoda styling tweaks and the car is the first Skoda to wear the brand’s re-designed logo of a winged arrow in chrome and black.

And I noticed that Skoda refer to the Citigo as “Your new communication tool” which seems to be Skoda-speak for a car that is quite different and rather cool and is aimed at driving in cities and around town.

Citigo comes as a three or five door and is available in three trim levels S, SE and Elegance with all three powered by a 1.0-litre three cylinder petrol engine with two outputs of 60bhp and 75bhp.

My test car was the three door Citigo SE with the lower output and a five speed manual gearbox priced at £8,530 although the car had quite a few options fitted which took the overall price to £10,165.

These included a portable infotainment device which included satellite navigation and details about mpg (in the mid 50s) and average speed plus sport and winter pack and sport decals which made the car look sportier.

Considering the test car was driven by the lowest powered engine I was quite surprised with the power output which enabled me to easily keep up with fast moving traffic in the outside lane of motorways.

I was also impressed by the very precise steering which is always a plus feature of cars produced by the VW group and considering its size the Citigo has quite a lot of space inside for the driver and passengers along with a reasonable load space in the rear load area that is quite deep but there is no spare wheel.

In fact the rear seat has plenty of room for two adults as I discovered when testing the VW version of this trio of new city cars which are all the same on the inside but if I was going to buy one it would be the five door because access to the rear is so much easier.

The fascia area looked rather austere although the instruments especially the speedometer were easy to see and I found the infotainment centre a very useful piece of kit for £275 perched on top of the fascia where it could be a tempting target for thieves unless the driver remembers to remove it everytime when parked which can be a bit of a pain.

The Skoda Citigo starts a bit cheaper than the VW Up version and as a Skoda admirer I would be quite happy to have one because the marque is now as much respected as it was in the days before the communist regime in Czechoslovakia temporarily ruined the image of the company.

My verdict: An impressive mini “communication tool”!