Skoda's connection to the Monte Carlo Rally is tenuous at best – it’s never won the event, and no longer competes in the World Rally Championship. Still, it’s looking to expand its range of Monte Carlo-badged models, and the latest car to get a sporty makeover is the Citigo.
The Citigo Monte Carlo is based on the top-selling model in the UK, the SE, allied to the 59bhp three-cylinder engine. Disappointed that this rally wannabe edition doesn’t have the 74bhp version? Don’t be. Thanks to identical torque outputs – and the fact that this engine produces its peak power lower in the rev range – the 59bhp unit’s performance deficit is pretty much unnoticeable around town.
And with the Citigo only weighing a featherlight 854kg, it feels nippier than its 14.4-second 0-62mph time suggests – that’s credit to the slick five-speed gearchange.
The drivetrain’s main weakness is that there’s no stop-start – most of the Citigo’s rivals have this tech. However, refinement is still one of this car’s major assets. In the face of all the new challengers, the Skoda is still the benchmark for low levels of vibration and noise, which would shame models from the class above.
Yet it’s fun, too – loads of grip, minute overhangs and the 15mm lower sports suspension ensure anyone can have fun driving the Monte Carlo.
The perforated, tactile, flat-bottomed steering wheel is part of the cabin refresh, which is brightened by red and black one-piece seats and ‘Monte Carlo’ doorsill kickplates.
The exterior upgrades are appealing – this car wears its jutting front splitter, rear spoiler and diffuser well and the 15-inch alloys look sophisticated. Rally pedigree or not, it’s a winner.