Skoda Citigo Monte Carlo

 

   The top step of the Monte Carlo Rally winner’s podium may have thus-far proved elusive for Skoda, despite many a valiant effort, but nevertheless numerous class wins in other equally arduous events - reliability meant that long before the Czech manufacturer became part of the VW group they took the under-1300cc trophy for seventeen years running in what was once known as the Lombard RAC – ensures that Skoda has a history of success in world rallying that rivals the very best of them.

    In a bid to celebrate such things Skoda put a Monte Carlo badge on their previous generation Fabia. Next they applied same sporty-looks but not so sporty running-costs formula their hugely popular Yeti cross-over. Now it’s the turn of their Citigo city-car to get such treatment.

     With its chequered door and boot decals, blacked-out grille and equally dark 15” alloys, plus a black front splitter, boot spoiler, and under-bumper rear diffuser, the Citigo Monte Carlo certainly looks a lot more sportier than the altogether more sober looking Citigo SE upon which it’s based (and commands an approximate £1,500 premium over). It sits lower, by 15mm, on stiffer suspension and there’s a flat-bottomed dimpled leather steering wheel, a gloss-black dashboard and some very racy striped seats on the inside too. But, although you get more flash for your cash, you certainly don’t get more dash.

    Available as a 5 speed manual only the Citigo Monte Carlo is powered by a 3-cylinder 1.0 litre motor that has a peak power output of just 59bhp. As result there’s both good and bad news. Let’s get the bad news out of the way first: The 0-62 benchmark takes a near calendar-worthy 14.9 seconds so any overtaking must be very carefully planned, so too must the ascent of any steep gradients. Also, whilst I’m being picky, the Citigo’s fronts seats don’t return to where you’ve set them if you fold them forward to access the rears. That’s a little something that could soon become really annoying on the school-run.

    The good news: Even if you drive the Citigo as if your pants are on fire you’ll rarely ever see less than 50mpg; drive more conservatively and you’ll get closer to 60. The annual road tax is just £20.

    In fact there’s even more good news that just that. Because the Citigo is virtually identical (both visibly and mechanically) to Volkswagen’s Up, it not only feels bombproof – everything you touch, switches, indicator stalks, heater knobs etc. etc. feels like it’ll last lifetime – it also manages to feel far bigger on the inside than it actually is. There’s room for four six-footers – just, the deep boot will swallow a couple of cabin sized suitcases or a pair of weekend bags, the driving position is such that you feel like you’re actually sitting in the Citigo rather than on it (a plight that bugs many a city-car) and once up to speed it’s both quiet and feels like it could sustain such things all-day long without complaint. The grippy chassis, light controls, slick-shifting gearbox and compliant ride will work with you in your bid to attain such things without you having to resort to complaint too.

    You also get Air-con, an MP3/CD player, twin airbags, remote locking, power windows, and Skoda’s excellent Portable Infotainment Device as standard which is basically a bespoke Garmin satnav that sits atop the dash and displays the satnav, trip-computer, rev-counter and water temperature gauges and incorporates Bluetooth connectivity.

   You will have to adjust your mirrors manually though, there’s no spare wheel as standard, and if you want a DAB you’ll have find an extra £155.  But’s that’s hardly deal-breaking stuff. £10,670 bags you a Citigo Monte Carlo, compared Suzuki’s similarly Celerio that, at first appears expensive, whereas compared to Fiat’s 500 the Citigo’s asking price looks like remarkable value; in either case the Skoda is the better built car.  Without question, the Citigo’s right up there with the leaders of its class.

  

 

Skoda Citigo Monte Carlo

Engine: 999 cc, 3Cyl, 12V petrol

Transmission: 5 speed Manual. Front wheel drive

Power: 59 bhp @ 5,000 rpm

Torque:  70 lbft @ 3,000 – 4,300 rpm

0-62mph: 14.4 sec

Max Speed: 99 mph

MPG:  62.8 combined.

CO2: 105 g/km

Price: from £10,670 (as tested £10,825)

 

Many thanks to Clare at Skoda’s UK press office for the loan of the Citigo

www.liam-bird.com

@bird_liam

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Liam Bird Liam Bird

I'm Liam Bird, a freelance Motoring Writer based in the South Shropshire Marches. I currently write car reviews and road tests for a number of regional lifestyle magazines and newspapers which are distributed throughout Cheshire, Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Worcestershire, most of Wales and beyond.

As a member of the Welsh Group of Motoring Writers I'm as happy behind the wheel of a super-mini as I am in the latest super-car. I have press accreditation with most of the major motor manufacturers, meaning that as well as always being on the look out for further commissions, I always have a number of cars arriving each month ready to review.

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