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Fun on the run; The Skoda Citigo has a cracking little engine and plenty of style to make you smile, finds IAN JOHNSON.

Byline: IAN JOHNSON

THE rise of the city car is unstoppable due to soaring fuel prices and tighter emission controls.

But this is no bad thing because the latest crop of wheels for the urban environment demonstrates a brilliance the like of which has rarely been seen in this market sector.

The VW Audi Group were quick to take up the challenge and one of their best examples of "small is definitely beautiful" comes from Skoda.

The little Skoda Citigo followed hot on the heels of the VW Up, and is a charismatic little number that proves, without doubt, that a small, economical car can be anything but boring.

Bearing the latest Skoda corporate badge, the Citigo is typical of the brand's latest products, with clear shapes, precise edges, calm surfaces and nothing to disrupt the purity of line.

Apart from being a good looker, with a bit of cheeky road stance thrown in, the Citigo makes sense, with stacks of interior space and a generous boot for its size.

But its major pull is the modern engine. Like a lot of urban-oriented cars, the Citigo is petrol powered.

And in this case it's a three-cylinder, transversely mounted, 1.0-litre lightweight aluminium engine that throbs away under the bonnet.

There is a choice of two power outputs, 60 or 75ps, and both have been designed to offer the best possible fuel efficiency in crowded streets.

I have been driving the more frugal 60ps in Elegance trim and five-door bodywork. Costing PS9980, this car makes a lot of sense, with 68.9mpg on the combined cycle and emissions of just 96g/km.

And it is no slouch, with 100mph in its sights.

Although 62mph comes up in a little leisurely 14.4 seconds, the little three-cylinder petrol engine is spirited and sounds remarkably aggressive when pushed hard.

This engine is yet another demonstration of what can be squeezed out of a small petrol unit. It has a hearty beat and even the more powerful 75ps version can achieve a combined economy figure of 67.3mpg, with a top speed of 107mph and a 0-62mph sprint of 13.2 seconds.

The GreenTech version features such advanced technology as brake-energy recuperation and low-rolling resistance tyres, not forgetting the start/stop system that lowers the Citigo's consumption by nine per cent.

With plenty of knee and head room for rear seat passengers and even creditable boot space, the Citigo is yet another example of the quality engineering emanating from Skoda.

But this little car has a secret weapon to net sales.

It is such a cheeky little character that it generates smiles wherever it goes a quality that is priceless.

Factfile: Model: Skoda Citigo Elegance 1.0 GreenTech 5dr Engine: 1.0-litre petrol Power: 60ps Top speed: 100mph 0-62mph: 14.4 seconds Average mpg: 68.9 CO2 emissions: 96g/km Warranty: Three years/60,000 miles Price: PS9980 ANDREW Marshall, Arnold Clark Skoda franchise manager, said: "The Citigo is an elegant and grown-up vehicle with a sophisticated manner of handling. Moreover, its efficiency is hard to beat as it is economical and well built. The stop/start technology is an additional extra but worth it as you begin to earn your money back in fuel savings over the years."

CAPTION(S):

GENEROUS Z The Skoda Citigo has stacks of interior space and a large boot for its size

CHARACTER J The Citigo has a cheeky road stance that brings a feel-good factor to the city car market
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Mar 1, 2013
Words:583
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