Skoda Citigo Monte CarIo: Two-Minute Road Test

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There’s something delightfully old school about the Skoda Monte Carlo. It’s a teeny tiny tearaway, complete with go-faster stripes, stick on badges, five-speed gearbox and 60hp 1.0-litre engine. On paper, it should be all show and no go, but on the road it’s anything but. Pound for pound, this is one of the most rewarding cars you can buy.

Skoda Citigo Monte Carlo: what are its rivals?

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To list a random selection of city cars would be to miss the point of the Skoda Citigo Monte Carlo. Sure, there are many city cars to choose from, most notably the Volkswagen Up, SEAT Mii, Hyundai i10, Fiat Panda and Kia Rio. But aside from the Renault Twingo SCe, few city cars offer quite the same level of fun and engagement. Fact is, the Citigo Monte Carlo looks great, especially in three-door guise.

Skoda Citigo Monte Carlo: which engines does it use?

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Curiously, the Citigo Monte Carlo uses the smaller 60hp version of the 1.0-litre engine and it’s fair to say you need to work really hard to get the best from it. The 0-62mph is completed in a sloth-like 14.4 seconds, but that only tells half the story. The characterful/irritating (delete as applicable) soundtrack from the three-cylinder engine only serves to encourage you to press on.

Skoda Citigo Monte Carlo: what’s it like to drive?

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In short, it’s brilliant. But it won’t appeal to all. Thanks to its lower and stiffer suspension, the Monte Carlo feels more chuckable than the standard Citigo and although the steering offers little in the way of feel, you’ll revel in the simple act of chucking it around corners. It’s all about momentum – maintain it and the Monte Carlo becomes a willing partner through a series of bends.

In fact, it only feels underpowered when overtaking or on motorways. Once cruising, it’s remarkably refined, but entry slip roads and hills will see you changing down, searching for a gear that isn’t normally associated with motorway driving. It can make the optional cruise control a tad redundant, as you really need to prepare for hills, with fourth and even third gear required for some climbs. But don’t let this put you off, because it’s wonderfully composed at speed, with very little in the way of wind and road noise.

Skoda Citigo Monte Carlo: fuel economy and running costs

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Skoda claims the Citigo Monte Carlo could return as much as 62.8mpg on a combined cycle, but only the restrained will see figures anything like this. And that’s because the Monte Carlo constantly encourages you to behave like a hooligan, working through its short-throw and snappy five-speed ‘box. Over the course of a week, which included a couple of ‘dawn raids’ and motorway driving, we achieved a respectable 48.0mpg.

The CO2 emissions of 105g/km translates to £20 a year in vehicle excise duty, although it’s free for the first year. The fixed service regime means the Citigo Monte Carlo will need to be serviced every 10,000 miles or 12 months.

Skoda Citigo Monte Carlo: is it practical?

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The more expensive five-door version will be more practical, but you’ll have to forgo one of the best side profiles in the business. There are a number of storage compartments throughout the cabin, including nets on the side of the front seats and cupholders at the base of the rear seats.

In a triumph of good packaging, there’s enough room inside for four adults, while the boot offers a generous 251 litres of space.

Skoda Citigo Monte Carlo: what about safety?

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The Skoda Citigo is one of the safest cars in its class, achieving the maximum five-star Euro NCAP safety rating. You’ll also find switchable Electronic Stability Control (much fun to be had), side airbags for the front seats and two ISOFIX mounts for the rear seats. City-Safe active braking and a passenger airbag switch-off come as part of the £275 safety pack.

Skoda Citigo Monte Carlo: which version should I go for?

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Your choice is limited to three- or five-door, plus a range of options and colours. We happen to think it looks best in Candy White – a bargain at £140. Granted, many of the Monte Carlo’s upgrades are merely cosmetic, but they combine to give it genuine standout qualities over the standard car.

The 15-inch black alloy wheels, black front and rear spoilers, chequered flag side decals, black grille and Monte Carlo badges complete the exterior. While inside, the red stitching, leather steering wheel, red and black upholstery and red centre console complete the effect.

Skoda Citigo Monte Carlo: should I buy one?

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At £10,670 for the three-door and £11,020 for the five-door, the Citigo Monte Carlo isn’t the cheapest city car you can buy. Nor is it the most well-equipped (you’ll need the Elegance for all the trimmings). But thanks to some well chosen exterior and interior enhancements, on top of what is already a cracking city car, the Monte Carlo becomes something greater than the sum of its parts.

It’s a car we’re all too happy to award the maximum five stars. The fact that, on two occasions, we got out of bed at silly o’clock, simply to go for a drive, gives a clue as to this car’s junior hot hatch credentials. We’re struggling to avoid requesting a finance package calculation…

Skoda Citigo Monte Carlo: pub fact

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The Monte Carlo trim level first appeared on the Skoda Fabia and was rolled out to celebrate 100 years of the famous rally, along with 110 years of Skoda motorsport. It was designed to offer the styling of the Fabia vRS, without the performance and associated running costs.

Has an unhealthy obsession with cars of the 80s and 90s. Doesn’t really do supercars. Not a huge fan of sports cars. But loves the undervalued and the underwhelming.

Is probably a bit strange.

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  • Simon Kiero

    I couldn’t agree more with this review, I bought a Citigo Monte Carlo for my daughter to learn to drive in. Once I got it home I couldn’t believe how much fun it was. I have owned Golf GTI, Seat Leon Cupra, as well as various kit cars, the lack of grunt only encourages you to behave badly in an effort to extract the maximum performance out of the car. The engine noise when pressed hard has a 1980’s porsche-esque sound (albeit without the exhaust volume).
    The interior is such high quality that you forget it’s a Skoda. IMO the interior is better than the equivalent VW UP (which would be £1000 more expensive).
    The other big selling point is that it’s available with 0% finance – the VW finance is at 4.9%. Bluetooth connectivity works exceptionally for calls and streaming music, although I have all my music inserted into the PID on a micro SD card
    ….. and yes you will want to go out at odd times just to chuck it down country lanes – it really is that much fun.
    For the money there is nothing that gets close to the Monte Carlo – FYI looks best in red

  • Pleased to hear you’re so impressed, Simon! Great fun and the fact it’s on 0% finance is icing on the cake…

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