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27 Nov, 2019 5:45pm Richard Ingram
The Skoda Citigo-e iV takes Skoda's city car platform and gives it a fresh EV flavour. Will it be enough to convince buyers?
With Skoda’s new Citigo e iV, however, the firm has boycotted its sister cars’ single-model set-up in favour of a two-tier trim arrangement – meaning you can buy the Czech EV outright from as little as £16,955. Skoda no longer offers the option of a petrol engine in its small city car.
For that price, you get the same 36.8kWh battery and 82bhp electric motor as you’ll find in the Skoda’s siblings, resulting in an identical 161-mile WLTP range. The biggest difference is that the entry-level Citigo SE does without the better-specified SEAT’s and VW’s rapid CCS charging.
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You’ll need to step-up to the pricier SE L (from £19,315 – the same price as the SEAT, give or take a fiver) for the quick-charge hardware, which reduces top-up time from around 4hr 15 minutes (using a 7kW wallbox) to just one hour via a 40kW charger. A three-pin plug will replenish the batteries in around 16 hours.
The iV stands out from the crowd with a blanked-out grille, subtle badging and – on some models – special aero wheels. There are a few extra buttons inside, as well as ‘Citigo e’ logos on the dashboard and green stitching on the seats and gear lever surround.
All Citigo e iV models come with climate control, a leather steering wheel and DAB radio. But like in its petrol predecessor, there’s no touchscreen infotainment system – instead, all cars come with a bracket that allows you to mount a device on top of the dash, running maps, media and more straight from your smartphone.
In addition to the fast-charge tech, SE L versions add 16-inch alloy wheels, ambient lighting, body-coloured mirrors and a Comfort Pack with heated seats and parking sensors. Whether it’s worth the extra will come down to how you use your EV; for many, the lower list price will trump the benefit of the added kit and faster charging capability on our higher-spec test car.
On the road, the Citigo e iV is a sprightly performer. It’s not as quick as a Renault Zoe or Kia e-Niro, but there’s plenty of shove for nipping in and out of traffic, and more than enough speed to keep pace with other road users. It lacks the petrol car’s natural lag, too – just pin the throttle and the iV takes off.
The claimed 160-odd-mile range seemed pretty accurate, and attempting to achieve it shouldn’t prevent you from exploring that instant torque on offer. In our experience, even with repeated full-throttle launches, the Citigo e iV’s range stayed almost true – dropping consistently with distance travelled.
Our largely urban test route didn’t give us a chance to properly explore the car’s high-speed handling, but the Citigo felt darty and alert – responding neatly to quick changes of direction. The ride was good over cobbled streets and speed bumps, only occasionally rattling or crashing through deeper potholes.
There are four levels of brake regeneration. The least severe of these is comparable to an engine-off coast function, while the strongest allows you to do 90 per cent of your driving on just one pedal. With enough anticipation you can feasibly travel from one side of town to the other without ever using the brakes.
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Refinement is impressive, with little in the way of wind or road noise – though background sounds like the windscreen wipers or indicators are more prevalent. There’s no whine from the electric motor, however.
All of the Citigo’s other facts and foibles remain. For a city car, it’s spacious; there’s no reduction in boot space or interior room, and there’s even a handy cubby at the front of the boot to store the charge cables when they’re not in use. But it can’t compete with the more expensive Zoe when it comes to quality or cabin tech.
4 Giving buyers a choice of charging options lowers the car’s list price and, if you don’t need to top up in a hurry, the cheapest Skoda Citigo will make a great deal of sense. It’s plenty quick enough, and even more fun to drive than its nippy petrol predecessor. The new Citigo e iV is the best value new electric car on the market.
- Model: Skoda Citigo-e iV SE L
- Price: Price: £19,315 (inc grant)
- Engine: 36.8kWh battery, single motor
- Power/torque: 82bhp/212Nm
- Transmission: Single-speed auto, front-wheel drive
- 0-62mph/Top speed: 12.3s/81mph
- Range/CO2: 170 miles / 0g/km
- On sale : Now