Skoda Citigo vs SEAT Mii vs VW up!

Skoda Citigo vs SEAT Mii vs VW up!
Credits: Pete Gibson
4 Jul, 2012 12:00pm

Which of the VW Group’s city car class leaders offers the most for your money?

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.

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I think the 5star verdict for all three is ridiculous.
How about keeping in mind that other value proposition, the Duster, when you claim great value for a tiny car that costs over £10K?
They are Impressively engineered but the UP! I was in was perhaps the most un-emotional vehicle I've ever had the misfortune to spend time in. The polar opposite to the Fiat500.
Still, if it's from the VAG group it must be best-in-class, right?

Have you not looked at the endless options you can have on a Up to personalise it to exactly how you want it?! So the fact you can do that and you still call it Unemotional is a joke.

The Fiat 500 is a girls car and quite frankly I wouldn't be seen dead in one if I can help it. The quality of build and materials is poor even compared to a Hyundai I10!

I'm not at all surprised that you decided to compare 3 identical cars and yet find a winner and yet the winner is again Skoda.
I know you enjoy promoting Skoda but you don't have to make it that obvious.
Apart from the fact that such comparison is pointless, except of the obvious, aka 'pls buy Skoda', the Up! nevertheless by design and by carrying the VW badge and not being that more expensive than the others, should be the first choice.
Second choice should be the Mii and last the Citigo.
Sorry but the badge and design in detail play a major role when it comes to otherwise identical triplet cars.

However, I also think that there is just so much fuss about these cars, as if they have reinvented the wheel!
In fact they are just another citycar in many and most of all
the most indifferent ones. Have you seen them on the road?
Its just like if they don't exist at all, nothing interesting about them!
If not for all the promotion behind them, noone would have even noticed them on the street.
Do they really stand a chance when you compare them with other city cars like the 500, the Panda, the Picanto, the i10 and many others?
And don't bring up the price issue because the equipped triplets
are costly compared to competition.

Oh get over it everyone. The VAG group has produced a great little trio of city cars that are top of the class, and the Panda/500 pansyboys can't stand it.
And why shouldn't the Skoda win? It's the best value of the 3, and imo, looks the part too. Afterall, all 3 are built in the same factory, but it's only narrow minded shallow idiots that would buy a car because of its badge! I buy a car for 3 reasons - a) it has to have good build quality - Skoda has that, b) it has to look good but not feminine - Skoda has that too, c) It has to do everything I ask of it reliably and effortlessly - Skoda does that too.
The reason Skoda win all the time is simple:

My local Skoda dealer has told me that he is being visited by many potential Up customers. They fear they might accidentally crack the large tailgate window in the Up when carrying a large object and closing the tailgate on it. These customers prefer the conventional tailgate in the Citigo.

You can get a Suzuki for £6,000, a comparable three cylinder futter pop for urban and suburban use. Pretty anodyne but so is this trio.

Painted white, the Up is even more forgettable in reality than in photographs. In red it is a bit better but £10,000 worth? No!

Yes well done you can buy a Suzuki for £6,000. But why would you want too?!? Cheap plastic flimsy trims and loads of road noise plus a tin can door shut thank you!!

There is a reason it's priced at £6k and you will get what you pay for. Cheap materials and build quality. So don't even try compare a Suzuki to a premium brand. That's like comparing Fiat to a Aston Martin.

One point left out is that the Mii is being offered with the Media system FOC on all trim levels until the end of September and may well increase that So it puts the Mii on par with the Citigo price wise for the moment. But my local dealer is offering Mii's already with £300-£500 off as well!! It is difficult to choose although the Mii SE interior is horrid after seeing it in the flesh. Up! is the nicest interior IMO but these there cars are so close together it really is down to badge and seat trim preferences!!

Buy one of the trio from Toyota, Peugeot or Citroen. My wife has run a Peugeot 107 for 6 years and it is brilliant. It has a timing chain to so doesn't need the rubber band changed like the VAG trio.

I would worry about the misinformation that goes with VAG. My friend who has his own garage and repairs cars which are 3 years and older says that VAG are no more reliable than average. Too much hype from Auto Express! Wait for a year or two until you can sensible information from the forums.

Yes those 3 are alright, but at 70 they are really noisey, the sliding cheap plastic dials in the middle are horrible and flimsy plus the boot is pretty small on them and it has a real tin can sounding clonk when you shut the door. The Aygo however would be choice from the 3. Again quality is a world of difference and that is what you pay for.
Tesco value wine vs a premium bottle....what is going to taste better? No contest!

You are paying one heck of a lot more for a few cosmetics. With the VW trio you are not, to use your analoge, getting grand cru but vin ordinaire in a bottle with a fancy label. They do this sort of thing in the drinks world; advertise the stuff like hell and watch people fall for it!

As the Aygo C1 and 107 are made in the same factory there is no cause to prefer any one of them on any ground other than individual specification and whatever deal you can squeeze out of the dealer. Personally I don't care for any of these either, nor the Suzuki for that matter but at this level of motoring you buy the cheapest available, like milk or sugar from the supermarket.

My wife's little 107 is basically a shopping basket on wheels which goes on the odd 100 mile round trip on A roads. Aeolus nails it quite well in what he says. In fact at the small car end of the market you are always going to have to make compromises. If you are going to spend that sort of money on a well kitted VW Up do yourself a favour and buy something second hand that has had a lot of the depreciation taken out of it which is less of a compromise - possibly larger.

You can get a car which was sold with a 5 or 7 year warranty at 2 years old and you would be at least as well off as with a new UP

Personally, I would choose the Citigo over any other City car, It looks good, it drives great, it has a real grown-up feel to it, and it knocks spots of the competition, space and quality wise. For the base mode at £7630 (minus a bit if you haggle), it is unbeatable value and deserves it's place as AE's Car of the Year 2012. You can also upgrade to a 5 year warranty on it too. And it will hold it's value too. SEAT just looks cheap in comparison to Citigo, and the dealers are not as good as Skodas.

When people start spouting off about warranties on the Kia/Hyundai's being 5 and 7 years, take a look at Kia UK's facebook page and see all the disgruntled owners being told 'sorry, warranty doesnt cover this/that/the other as it's a wear and tear item' etc.

Does anyone know if the three VW group city cars are made in the same factory please?

I understand what you are saying but I think most people given the choice of cars if they were all the same price would look at going for the best badge. Unless you know nothing about cars then I'd think the majority of people would choose the VW.

If everyone was going to go for a "cheap city car" then surely everyone would by something mega mega cheap. Just because you downsize or down grade doesn't mean you have to lose loads of spec and quality hence VW's answer with the UP!

This "badge" business is the real killer. When a vehicle is essentially the same but bears three different identities it is the people who "know nothing about cars" who go for the most expensive! Received opinion sometimes stoked, I fear, through the odd bit of "black" propaganda gives plus and minus points to a given "badge" which can have little resemble to reality.

Please forgive typo of "resemble" for "resemblance" in last posting

I've been contacted by my Seat dealer, had brochures from Skoda and haven't bothered with the Up and, on that basis, I'll be considering the Mii.
I had a good look at the Arosa in 1997 but decided against it because Seat dealerships were rare on the ground.
Now they seem to have got their act together, so the Mii Sport looks like a decent prospect. Ok, they're all pricey.....but what isn't?

Good! A very logical decision and one which will save you a deal of money. None of this trio appeal to me but for those for whom they do "buy the cheapest available" is the sensible way.

On a more general note these vehicles must be the most cynical exercise in badge engineering since the days of the Austin Cambridge/MG Magnette although the SEAT Ibiza/Audi A.1 comes fairly close.

Yes, they are all built in the same factory in Bratislava.

Thanks coolcat. More confirmation that n50pap has made the sensible choice between the three.

Late to the party I know, but my wife and I have just purchased a Mii. I drove the Kia Picanto, Fiat Punto, 500 and Panda, Skoda Citigo and Fabia, Toyota Aygo and Yaris etc etc. I found the Citigo and Mii to be the nicest things to drive round town and a lot less noisy and more stable than our 3 year old Yaris.

So to eveyone whinging about the cars, just remember it's about how you feel about the car, not what the magazines or other people say! My sister just picked up a new Picanto because she didn't like the Up she tried - i felt the opposite. We're both happy with our new cars though!

Your last paragraph was the most intelligent comment I've read on here for some time.