Used Skoda Citigo (Mk1, 2012-2019) review - How practical is it?

It's small on the outside, but the Skoda Citigo is surprisingly spacious and useable

The Skoda has interior space that almost embarasses some superminis. Its cabin is packed with useful storage areas, including a large glovebox, a decent cubbyhole in front of the gearlever and deep bins in the front and rear doors. Mid-level SE models and upwards get pockets in the front seats, too.

You sit upright in the Skoda, which makes for a comfortable (if un-sporty) driving position and good visibility. It also makes it feel like a larger car than the small proportions suggest.

Access to the rear in the three-door version is straightforward, thanks to the relatively long doors, and head and legroom are generous. However, the pop-out rear windows will be frustrating for passengers wanting a blast of fresh air. The Citigo is available as a three- or five-door car, but as the more practical model is only marginally more expensive, it’s the one to go for.

There are plenty of storage areas, and the Citigo was available with some of the brand’s Simply Clever additions, such as the smartphone holder that forms part of the Media Pack. There was also the option of an umbrella under the driver's seat, door bins with bags, and an ice scraper – a total of 16 Simply Clever features can be had. Check to see what’s present on the Citigo you’re looking at.

Dimensions and cabin design

The five-door Citigo is 3,563mm long, 1,645mm wide and 1,478mm tall (the three-door model is 4mm slimmer but that’s all). That makes it very similar in size and shape to the Hyundai i10, though longer and wider than the Toyota Aygo.

Both the three-door and five-door versions are strict four-seaters, but those in the back get just enough space for their legs and plenty of headroom.

Occupants in the back get more legroom than those in the rival Kia Picanto and the rear doors open wide, so it isn’t difficult to get in and out. Given the size of the Skoda, it does surprisingly well in this area and will accommodate four adults easily enough.

Boot space

Opening the tailgate reveals a 251-litre boot, which can be extended to 959 litres (951 in the three-door model) by folding the standard 60:40 split rear bench. That’s not bad at all when you consider the size of the Citigo and it’s streets ahead of the Toyota Aygo’s 168-litre boot, although the Hyundai i10 just pips it at 252 litres, and only the Ford Ka+ and Dacia Sandero offer markedly more space for the money. 

You don’t get a totally flat load bay, but some original owners may have added the £65 variable boot floor, which also creates a handy hidden storage compartment. This involves lifting up the boot floor to reveal an extra area beneath it, which is handy for tucking away smaller items such as shopping bags. 

Equipment and technology 

It's not the most glamorous city car, but the Citigo is neat and well proportioned. With its upright lines and simple detailing, the Skoda has clearly been designed to maximise interior space.

Nevertheless, the refresh in 2017 boosted its visual appeal slightly, with a redesigned front end featuring LED daytime running lights (standard on SE and above), as well as a couple of bright new colour choices.

There are four trim levels to choose from: S, SE, Monte Carlo and SE L, while the Colour Edition adds more, er, colour to the mix. However, the entry-level models are particularly basic and get black plastic mirror housings and door handles.

S and SE models make do with 14-inch wheel trims – although the SE’s body-coloured details help shake off the entry-level version’s bargain basement looks.

The Monte Carlo edition is the sharpest-looking version. It gets the standard equipment from the SE model and, to help it stand out from the rest of the range, it adds a series of styling tweaks, such as red/black upholstery and sport steering wheel with red stitching. It also has lowered suspension and eye-catching 15-inch alloy wheels as standard.

The SE L model adds some much-needed kerb appeal over the SE with standard 14-inch alloys and front fog lights set into the bumper. This is the only version available with the 75PS engine.

Climb aboard and the Citigo’s links with the SEAT Mii and VW up! are plain to see. The layout is the same in all three, meaning the major controls and switchgear are well sited. It lacks some of the slick materials found in the up!, but the new colour infotainment screen on higher-end models adds class, as do the gloss black trim panels and chrome surrounds for some of the switchgear.

The simple cabin doesn’t have the funky appeal of rival city cars such as the Citroen C1 or the Toyota Aygo, but the Citigo’s dashboard is clearly laid out and, while the plastics are hard, the quality is first rate.

Slick and precise Volkswagen Group switchgear is used throughout and everything feels solidly screwed together. It's just a shame there aren't more colour and personalisation choices on offer inside.

You get a surprising amount of kit on the range-topping SE L. A leather-trimmed steering wheel and gearlever feature, as do heated front seats, electric windows, Bluetooth and air-conditioning.

Five-door versions of the Skoda have pop-out rear windows rather than conventional windows that roll down, but this is the only really obvious sign of cost-cutting.

Previously, Skoda offered a dashtop-mounted Garmin sat-nav and infotainment system on top models. It was effective enough, but not the easiest system to operate, and looked a bit low-tech next to the built-in screens in cars such as the latest Kia Picanto.

From 2017, Skoda joined VW in offering a dashtop cradle for your smartphone and a new app service instead. Simply mount your smartphone, with a handy USB socket just behind it to keep it charged. Then you just download the Skoda app to your phone, or use Apple CarPlay or Android Auto on your device, to get access to navigation and other features. Bluetooth means you can sync your music and make phone calls, too. It’s actually an unmatched system if you only use your phone for mapping anyway – many city car buyers do exactly that – although if you don’t have a modern phone you’re sadly out of luck.

In addition, the Skoda’s supplementary screen that displays other info is excellent. It’s clear, crisp and really easy to use. It’s just a shame DAB radio costs about £160 extra, while the basic S model makes do with a non-colour screen.

We’d suggest finding a car with the Convenience Pack, which adds parking sensors and cruise control. The latter helps you make full use of the Citigo’s relaxed motorway ability; and, while the car is already a doddle to park, the sensors are great for nervous or new drivers. 

Safety

The Citigo impresses with its strong safety record. It received a full five-star safety rating from Euro NCAP when it was crash-tested in 2011, which was helped by a strong body shell, standard-fit stability control, daytime running lights and tyre-pressure monitors. It has only four airbags but achieved a rating of 89 per cent for adult occupant protection, while autonomous city braking is available to order.

It’s worth mentioning that the Skoda Citigo was tested again in 2019, albeit in the form of the VW e-Up! electric car. A new three-star rating reflects the changes in Euro NCAP’s test regime, with the safety assist score dropping from 86 per cent to 55 per cent.

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