Hills pose a chal­lenge for pump-friendly townie

Yorkshire Post - Motoring - - ROAD TEST - Keith Ward

SKODA’S take on the VW group’s triple-badged city car vies with VW’s own up! and SEAT’s Mii ver­sions. The Cit­igo comes in, as you would ex­pect, keenly priced. It also car­ries Skoda’s stand­ing among the three in terms of brand re­li­a­bil­ity and cus­tomer ap­proval.

The neat and com­pact hatch­back body at just over 3.5m con­tains four seats with just about enough legroom for four aver­age-height adults. Be­hind them is a short boot, more of a deep trough re­ally, into which you must lift lug­gage over a high rear sill – 780 mm or a good 30 inches above ground. The stiff boot lid hinges ver­ti­cally to al­low ac­cess. The rear seat backs can be dropped for­ward onto the fixed cush­ions to take ex­tra cargo, so no flat through-floor. There’s a cupholder for each pas­sen­ger in an oth­er­wise mod­estly fur­nished cabin show­ing lots of painted me­tal.

The 16-strong Cit­igo range of­fers three or five doors, three lev­els of trim and a lit­tle 1.0-litre, three-cylin­der petrol engine tuned to ei­ther 60 or 75 PS, with five-speed man­ual or au­to­matic gear­boxes. Ver­sions badged Greentech em­ploy stop-start and low-re­sis­tance tyres to in­crease mpg and lower CO2 emis­sions.

Prices start at £7,630 for the 60PS three-door S and rise to £10,415 for the 75PS five-door au­to­matic El­e­gance. There’s The three-door we tried has an oddly- kinked waist­line trim. While the front seats fold and slide to give ac­cess to the rear, they do not re­turn to their orig­i­nal po­si­tion, so you have to re-set them each time. While the front doors open to 80 de­grees, they are so wide, at 1,300mm (51 inches), they give prob­lems in tight park­ing spa­ces. Even with the less pow­er­ful 60 PS engine the Cit­igo proved nim­ble and ag­ile enough around town. It can soon run out of steam on hills but will bowl along a mo­tor­way at 70mph in fifth gear, pulling its op­ti­mum 3,000rpm, with­out fuss or un­due noise. The big bonus is at the pumps. In brisk cross-coun­try runs on a va­ri­ety of roads, mixed with city and traf­fic driv­ing, the Cit­igo recorded an aver­age 62.9 mpg – even slightly up on the of­fi­cial com­bined fig­ure, which is rare.

PEDI­GREE: The Skoda Cit­igo comes with a rep­u­ta­tion for re­li­a­bil­ity.

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