The Skoda Citigo Sport might just be a dressed up Citigo but since when was that a bad thing? Jonathan Crouch reports.
Ten Second Review
Skoda's Citigo Sport is a well-equipped citycar powered by a modest 60PS 1.0-litre engine. It's got firmer suspension than the standard car, ritzy body stripes and alloys and a very classy touch screen sat nav and Bluetooth system.
Citycars don't tend to do sporty. We've had a few tiny Japanese oddities in the past, but by and large, car manufacturers have fought shy of equipping their smallest models with a whole lot of engine. You can see why too. These cars tend to sit tall and narrow and run on tiny wheels and tyres, so firing a whole lot of horsepower at them seems a recipe for disaster. Skoda clearly thought so when developing its Citigo Sport, which is why it's got exactly the same 60PS output from its 1.0-litre engine as many other variants offer in the Citigo range. Does that make it a bit of a sheep in wolf's clothing? Hardly. We all know the game that manufacturers like to play with their city tots and nobody's going to mistake a striped-up Citigo for a Shelby Mustang. As long as you don't take it too seriously, the Citigo Sport offers a lot of smiles for your hard-earned. We think you'll like it.
This isn't purely a cosmetic transformation. Under the body of the Citigo Sport, Skoda has fitted sports suspension which lowers the body by 15mm and it also rides on 15-inch alloy wheels. The result is that the ride will be a bit firmer over bad surfaces but the stance of the vehicle is improved quite dramatically as well. It now sits foursquare over its tyres like a shrunken Super 2000 rally car. It doesn't go like one but 60PS is adequate for squirting about town as the body of this car is extremely light. The sprint to 60mph takes around 14 seconds, which sounds incredibly lethargic, but up to around 20mph the Citigo feels quite peppy due to its low gearing and lack of inertia. It's usually enough to zip it in front of most things from the lights. The top speed is 99mph, so you'll need to be really trying hard to get yourself into trouble on the motorway, but you'll also need to give the Citigo Sport a determined pedalling to keep up with outside lane traffic. Good steering, high levels of grip and strong brakes mean that the Citigo - along with its SEAT Mii and Volkswagen up! siblings - offer more than the usual city car fare for keener drivers.
Design and Build
You get to choose from either three doors or five and then the choice extends to whether you want your Citigo Sport finished in Candy White with red stripes, Tornado Red with black stripes or Deep Black with red stripes. All the colour combinations look good as, rather surprisingly, does the five door car. Normally when you're buying a small car like this, the five door model looks a bit frumpy and the longer doors of the three door lend it a sleeker look but there's really not a lot between the two body styles here. Tinted windows and front fog lights? You've got 'em. All versions of this car are built in the same Slovakian factory and build quality seems very strong. The dashboard is simply designed, with a clear instrument binnacle and a high-mounted pod that houses the ventilation and audio controls. There's no reach adjustment on the steering column which is a minor grumble but otherwise there's aces of space and adjustability up front. The five-door model has no more rear space than the three-door and while there's no shortage of headroom, it's inevitable that in a citycar, rear legroom is pinched if there are taller people up front. The boot is a generous size at 251-litres, which is some recompense.
Market and Model
Jump inside the Citigo Sport and you'll find black and red sports seats, a three-spoke leather steering wheel with red stitching, a leather handbrake and gear lever gaiter with red stitching and matching floor mats. A two-tone grey and black dashboard and unique grey instruments also serve to differentiate this model. A highlight of the Citigo Sport's interior is the dashboard-mounted Personal Infotainment Device (PID). Featuring a five-inch touch-screen, this sleekly styled multi-function technology comes as standard on the Citigo Sport. The PID includes advanced satellite navigation, a Bluetooth hands-free telephone connection, vehicle and trip information, plus a media player which can be synced to an external music device. There are also six speakers so sound reproduction is better than the normal reedy music quality you get inmost city cars. There's also twin front and side airbags, anti lock brakes, a CD stereo radio with an AUX-in slot to pipe music from an external MP3 player and there are also the obligatory daytime running lights.
Cost of Ownership
As you might well expect from a citycar fronting up with 60PS, the Citigo Sport returns some quite sterling economy and emissions figures. Fuel economy is quoted at 62.8 mpg on the combined cycle and even around town, you might well get close to Skoda's 50.4mpg figure. Emissions are rated at just 105g/km. Residual values look set to be extremely strong, thanks to Skoda's aggressive pricing and burgeoning reputation for customer loyalty. The Skoda won't have things all its own way though. The SEAT Mii and the Volkswagen up! are also clamouring for this share of the market.
Although a sporty citycar might seem a bit of an oddity, Skoda has been refreshingly restrained when it comes to modifying the Citigo. It is, after all, a winning formula already and deviating too far from this template might not be the smartest move. The Citigo Sport is nicely judged, with a slightly firmer ride quality and a whole host of sporting cues that merely garnish the Citigo recipe. If you're looking for a cheap car, the standard Citigo models are where the value's at. You can buy a Citigo S for just over seven and a half grand, nearly £3,000 less than where this Citigo Sport starts. Is it worth it? That's your call. This car has a certain charm and the Sport model just adds to the feel good factor. We can see why you'd like this one.