Skoda Citigo vs Fiat Panda

24 Sep, 2012 12:45pm

The new five-door version of the Skoda Citigo faces the Fiat Panda in a duel of the fun city cars

Buyers of fun city cars have never had it so good. The latest pint-sized runarounds can turn a shopping trip into an action-packed adventure – and the newest arrival to the ranks is no exception.

As our reigning Car of the Year, the Skoda Citigo needs little introduction. But now there’s a new five-door version that adds an extra dose of practicality to the standard car’s brilliant mix of excellent value, top-notch quality, driving engagement and refinement.

We tested the top-of-the-range £10,390 Elegance GreenTech, which has all the kit you’ll need, plus fuel-saving stop-start and sub-100g/km CO2 emissions.

Yet the cheeky Fiat Panda also mixes fun and versatility in equal measure. It’s one of our favourite baby hatchbacks, particularly fitted with the sparkling TwinAir engine. In range-topping £11,250 Lounge trim, it’s more expensive than the Skoda, but its blend of performance and style makes it a serious contender.

So which of our dinky duo best balances fun with value for money?


The Skoda Citigo entered this contest with an unbeaten record. So does the new five-door version continue the car’s run of success? In a word, yes.

By adding an extra pair of doors, Skoda has made its entry-level model even more desirable. For young families on a budget, the Citigo is now a sensible alternative to more expensive superminis. Better still, downsizing to it doesn’t feel like a backward step, because its quality, refinement and long list of kit make it feel like a much more upmarket model.

Don’t discount the Panda, though. Yes, it’s more expensive to buy and has a greater thirst for fuel than the Skoda, but its two-cylinder engine is an engineering masterpiece and delivers a turn of speed and distinctive soundtrack that never fails to raise a smile. The Fiat also boasts more stylish looks, a distinctively styled interior and the same sub-100g/km CO2 emissions.

But there’s no escaping the fact that it doesn’t feel quite as composed and quiet as the Skoda when you don’t want to have fun, while it comes with much less standard kit. Heavier depreciation and a less versatile cabin seal its fate here.

In the end, the Skoda’s brilliance is hard to ignore and the addition of a five-door layout only boosts its appeal further. The best has just got better.

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You should have tested this in a group test with the i10 and Picanto.

Had one of the early Giugiaro-designed Pandas, and loved it for being minimal (only one wiper!) but eager. This one's overly cute and lacks the taut lines of its predecessor, or indeed the current 500. So, I'll take the Citigo or the Go.

Skoda just rules! I am a big fan! I am an owner of a Fabulous Fabia!

The Citigo would still have won as it is the best city car, and quite rightly so. The Koreans are all style and no substance.Now all we have to do is wait for the jealous VAG haters to start moaning.

If you seriously buy that Skoda you are dead inside.

Well I have one and I am not dead inside. You should try one before coming to stupid conclusions.

I very much doubt either of these are as much fun as my i10 to hustle about, the gearchange and steering are sublime. Fab engine too. cheaper price and 5 year warranty seal the deal.

I've owned a Skoda Yeti for over 2 years now, problem free. but I do prefer the panda over the citigo if I had to choose one.

Me too. Skoda provides great quality, better value and out-does VW in the car and customer surveys to boot, frequently winning or at least coming in the top 10.
Every time it releases a new model it gets rave reviews: the Fabia, the Superb, its 2WD or 4WD SUV the Yeti, and now the Citi-Go. And despite being long in the tooth he Octavia has been kept up to date and remains very popular and highly rated. Expect the same of that and Skoda's new Golf-stalking model (Rapide?) that fits in the range beneath it.
To think that we all howled with laughter just 20-odd years ago whenever a little rear-engined 'Rapide' went by with that black rubber thing on its boot. Well that doesn't happen any more...

My wife has just got a Citigo Elegance 74Hp and she loves it. As much VaVaVoom as her old Fiesta Zetec and really handles and rides well. She was ashamed to say she had a Skoda but now it's the first thing she says apart from ' I love you ' I think she means me !!

Ridiculous review, ridiculous magazine. I think the Fiat scores here. Shame about the bias!

I wondered when the jealous VAG haters would start showing up.Face it, Skoda are better than Fiat, not only this magazine thinks so either. Oh, and Skoda are outselling Fiat in the UK now too.

If I was VAG hater, I would not be owning an Audi A4 along with an Alfa 159 sir! VAG makes great cars but dull, boring and overtly manual. On the other hand italians have that something special that make their cars even more special and the Panda is no exception! I am sure people here will agree to that. I mean why on earth would I always drive the Alfa if I have a so called "reliable", " good looking" and what not Audi A4 in my drive? But I always do. In fact, I plan to keep it with me as long as I could.. That is Passion you see...!!

*mechanical not manual, i apologise..

If VAG sell more cars than Fiat, then it does not mean that their cars are better. A lot goes into it than just making good cars. And above all they have made goodwill, money over the period of time which Fiat have lost... So I will blame their management than cars... BTW their management are the ones who should take the beating...

Strange that Autocar does still not understand that a greater thirst means also that a car has higher CO2 emissions. Fiat may give the same CO2 rating but that figure is just not true or less true than Skoda's rating.

who cares that skoda is outselling fiat in uk... skoda are boring cars as vw generally.
the fiat panda is fun, the design is more interesting. the only reason why they are selling more cars in europe is because they have 3 clones running. (ugly clones)

Panda all the way. Death to the those boring uninspiring clones of metal with no soul!!

They just did. and guess what? It won.
"b'cos stone cold said so"

Shouldn't this test be comparing the Fiat Panda 1.2 Lounge instead retail at £10,050 - which is more on par with the Citigo's price, taking this into consideration, which will be the winner?