Skoda hasn’t been very adventurous with its first foray into the popular city car market.
Even the name (Citigo) is on the bland side compared to the sister cars it shares its underpinnings with – the Volkswagen Up (or Up! as the marketeers call it) and the Seat Mii.
But Skoda makes no apologies for playing it safe.
James Taylor, product marketing manager at Skoda, readily admits the Citigo is “more traditional” than rivals in the segment, such as the Fiat 500, but he believes the brand’s usual formula of “outstanding space” and “value for money” will win people over.
It’s difficult to confirm the latter as prices weren’t available at the time of writing (although Skoda says there will be a £350 price gap between three and five-door versions), but spacious is certainly true. The Citigo can comfortably fit two average-sized adults in the back of the five-door and boot space is best in class – 251 litres with the rear seats up and 959 litres with them down.
There’s also handy storage features such as a bag hook on the glove box, an iPod holder, and nets on the sides of the front seats.
A portable Navigon sat-nav, which fits on the top of the dashboard, is optional on the S and SE trims and standard on Elegance.
On the road the Citigo is, unsurprisingly, at its best at low speeds round town. The ride is smooth, even travelling over cobbles in relative comfort.
Good visibility and light steering make the Citigo easy to manoeuvre and it’s questionable whether the optional parking sensors are necessary.
There’s no diesel on offer – just a 1.0-litre petrol with a choice of 60hp or 75hp with CO2 emissions of 105g/km and 108gkm respectively.
By opting for GreenTech, which includes start-stop, low rolling resistance tyres and regenerative braking, emissions fall to 96g/km.
There’s little to choose between the variants although the GreenTech has noticeably taller gearing.
Another plus for fleet managers is the car’s safety credentials with a five star Euro NCAP rating and the option of an autonomous emergency braking system (City Safe Drive) which is designed to prevent low speed shunts. Taylor estimates it will cost £200 to £250.
Andy Thomas, fleet sales development manager, is predicting sales of just under 4,000 units (of which 1,200 will be fleet) when the Citigo goes on sale in June, with a 60:40 split between the five and three door. The SE is expected to be the most popular.
Thomas suggests the Citigo will appeal to local businesses, the public sector and fleets in and around London.