This is the city car showdown the world has been waiting for. The Volkswagen up! left rivals trailing in its wake when we first tested it in December, setting new class standards for quality, practicality and refinement. But now it faces a tougher challenge.
The Skoda Citigo and SEAT Mii share the new VW’s mechanical DNA under the skin, although thanks to their manufacturers’ different pricing and trim strategies, each offers an alternative take on the same brilliant theme.
We’ll use this test to crunch the numbers and evaluate what each range has to offer, and see which one of this talented trio gives buyers the best value for money. We’ve brought together an example of each for an on-road clash, but the entire line-ups will be under the microscope come the final reckoning. Let battle commence...
Before we hand out the final judgement on these three cars, it’s important to point out that they all do a fantastic job. No other class rival can match this trio’s impressive blend of brilliant driving dynamics, practicality, refinement and value. But there can only be one winner.
The Volkswagen up! is still a class act. It’s the best-looking car here and comes with a wide range of trim levels. And while it’s the most expensive to buy (although the price gap to the SEAT is smaller than you think), it’s available with Volkswagen’s great-value service pack. So it narrowly beats the Mii in this test.
The SEAT doesn’t really put a wheel wrong, but it doesn’t look quite as sharp as its rivals, plus it doesn’t have as much standard equipment as the VW and Skoda: you have to pay extra for sat-nav on the top-of-the-range model. Yet both cars have to give best to the Skoda.
It shares the dynamic and packaging brilliance of its cousins, but trumps them on price. Plus, our Elegance Greentech test car returned the best economy and emitted the least CO2 here.
Winner: Skoda Citigo 1.0 Elegance ★★★★★
The Skoda is the complete city car package. Like its sister cars, it’s brilliant to drive, surprisingly spacious and cheap to run, and as a result it sets new standards for the class. Yet it’s also the cheapest to buy across the range and returned the best fuel economy and lowest emissions.
2nd: VW High up! ★★★★★
While the VW’s reign at the top of the class was short, it’s still a brilliant choice. With sharper looks and an upmarket badge, the up! is the most desirable choice, while the pre-paid servicing pack is hard to ignore. But it’s more difficult to gloss over the higher purchase prices.
3rd: SEAT Mii 1.0 SE ★★★★
SEAT shouldn’t be disappointed with its last- place finish here, because the new Mii is every bit as brilliant as its VW and Skoda relatives. Yet the pricing strategy and less generous kit let it down, while our road testers preferred the smarter looks of the up! and Citigo.