The Monte Carlo badge was first seen on the previous generation Skoda Fabia, offering customers vRS-style looks without the fuel-guzzling engine and firmer suspension. It was such a storming success that Skoda has pulled a new Fabia vRS from the product plan altogether, and applied the Monte Carlo formula to the new Fabia, Yeti and Citigo. It’s the latter that we took for a spin.
At £10,590 for this three-door version (the five-door is £350 extra, it costs £1,520 more than the SE model it sits above in the range, but there really is no need to add any options. Standard kit includes 15-inch alloys, black trim on the grille, rear spoiler and wing mirrors andchequered decals on the doors and boot.
On the inside there’s smart striped seats, a sculpted leather-wrapped sports steering wheel, a gloss-black dash and the wonderfully-clear PID (Portable Infotainment Device) incorporating Bluetooth, sat-nav and audio functions. Air-con, a split-folding rear bench and electric front windows are also included, in fact the only sign of cost-cutting is the manual wing mirrors, but we’ll let that one slide.
Stickers aside (you can always peel those off), it’s a great-looking makeover especially when combined with the sportier three-door shape. The look and feel of the interior is fantastic for a car at this price point, too, and makes more expensive Skoda’s seem dull in comparison.
Unfortunately there’s no more firepower to match the racier looks. Under the bonnet you’re only option is a non-Greenline 59bhp 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol, returning 62.8mpg and 105g/km of CO2. Luckily it’s a cracking little engine that revs smoothly, produces a characterful but non-intrusive thrum and provides just enough acceleration for darting around town. What sets it apart from the city car pack though is it maintains its refinement and composure on the motorway, too.
Skoda has fitted lowered suspension, but it’s more of an aesthetic addition than a dynamic upgrade. Still, the Citigo already corners with bags of grip and relatively little roll – impressive given the supple suspension glides along on the majority of surfaces. The steering is light but direct, while the gearshift has just the right amount of mechanical precision. In short, the Citigo looks, feels and drives like something way above its price point.