Review: Skoda Citigo e-iV
Update 2nd September 2020
A note from Skoda UK: Unfortunately, the Skoda Citigo e-iV is currently not available to order as our full 2020 allocation of the car from Skoda EU is already sold out. Orders are expected to re-open soon for the 2021 allocation, as soon as a firm number is known. To register your interest, please let us know by calling us on 03330 037 504. Thank you.
- Tested: KV69 VSE is a Skoda Citigo e-iV in ‘SE L’ specification, presented in ‘Crystal Blue’.
- RRP £19,815 as driven. Model starts from £17,455 for SE specification.
- Prices include deduction of £3,000 Government Plug-in Car Grant.
The Skoda Citigo is one of the more popular city cars of the past few years. It’s not remotely flash or overly exciting, but it offers honest, small car value, decent space, a mature drive and attractive running costs.
For its 2019 model year, the little Skoda has undergone a big update. Not in the way it looks, but in the way it’s powered. Instead of fettling with the Citigo’s petrol engines and other mechanicals, Skoda decided to do away with the engine and gearbox altogether and replace it with an 82bhp electric motor powered by a 36.8kWh battery pack. The resulting all-electric e-iV as tested here is now the only Citigo available. (The ‘iV’ denotes it being a part- or fully-electrified model in Skoda’s range.)
Of course, there are a couple of rivals that look much like the Citigo e-iV – the SEAT Mii Electric (£19,800) and Volkswagen e-up! (from £20,555). If you think they all look a little similar, that’s because they’re all virtually the same car, just badged differently.
By developing all three fully-electric cars together, Volkswagen Group was able to save huge sums of money to help make them cheaper to buy and more profitable. Not that this should be a surprise; the Group did exactly the same when they launched the original petrol versions of the up!, Mii and Citigo way back in 2012.
I recently shared a pleasant week exploring the Hampshire coastline with KV69 VSE, an ‘SE L’ specification Citigo e-iV, presented in ‘Crystal Blue’…
Compared with its non-VW Group rivals, the inside of the Citigo e iV looks and feels a bit dated – little surprise to be fair, considering the original car is now eight years old. While there is no doubting the solidity of its interior, the deployed materials simply fail to impress.
There are swathes of hard, scratchy plastic but the designers did see fit to add a bright, interestingly-styled plastic panel above the cubbyhole to infuse a bit of estilo.
Practicality and space
In keeping it simple and like the regular Citigo, Skoda’s managed to make an electric car that doesn’t feel too futuristic or intimidating to operate. There are no erroneous bings, bongs, bells or whistles, no confusing multiple digital displays or weird stumpy gear selectors.
What you get are normal, rather large analogue dials, the usual trip computer screen and a simple dash layout, and you select the gear via a conventional automatic shifter.
However, those looking to buy into the future of motoring by getting an electric car may see all of this as a bit of a let-down – it’s no different from an older petrol model from several years ago.
The best news is that it’s retained the spacious interior. The battery pack is located beneath the rear seats, so you get the same 250-/930-litre boot making it one of the more practical city cars out there. Plus, it’s only available in a five-door body style affording good access to the roomy rear seats.
Okay, so the Citigo e-iV doesn’t have the wow factor of the Renault ZOE with its large portrait touchscreen and fancy materials, but to be fair, you can’t really argue with what the electric Citigo offers when it’s available from just £17,455, which is very good for an all-electric vehicle (the ZOE starts from around £9,000 more).
Trim grades and equipment
There are just the two trim grades offered for the Citigo e-iV: SE and SE-L. The attractive low price of the range-entry SE means it doesn’t get much in the way of kit, but the essentials are covered. It makes do with 14-inch plastic wheel covers and black door mirror caps and handles, but it does feature climate control, remote central locking and DAB radio.
The SE L adds extras such as heated front seats, ambient lighting and 16-inch alloy wheels. It also receives rear parking sensors, but cruise control remains an option which is a tad stingy as it’s standard on the SEAT Mii Electric.
In June, 2020, Skoda added remote voice control functionality to the Citigo e-iV that can be operated by the Amazon Alexa personal assistant. Once the car is parked and plugged into a charging point, owners can check on the current charge status and start or stop battery charging simply by asking their Alexa device. It’s all impressive stuff, considering it is available on the Superb iV plug-in hybrid and the forthcoming PHEV versions of the new Octavia.
There’s just one electric motor and battery available in the Skoda Citigo e-iV. With 82bhp on tap and 0-62mph taking 12.3 seconds, the Citigo is far from fast on paper but the instant torque from the electric motor makes it seem quicker than it actually is.
It’s faster than both the 59bhp and 74bhp petrol models and its electric powertrain means it’s quiet - although there’s a bit of wind and road noise at speed – which you previously might not heard of as much thanks to the engine.
There’s only one gearbox offered in the Citigo, an automatic, and it’s very easy to use.
The official WLTP electric driving range of the Skoda Citigo e-iV is 140-170 miles, depending on conditions and time of year. In real-world driving, I experienced 149 miles per full charge, which fits within the official range estimate.
You can charge the Citigo e-iV in three ways. Most people charge their EVs and PHEVs at home using a wallbox. With a 7.2kW domestic or public wall box, the battery can be charged to 80 per cent in 4 hours 15 minutes – or comfortably overnight or at the office during the day.
To do this, unless there’s a cable on the charge point, you’ll need a Mode 3 charging cable, which is provided with the SE-L model, but is oddly optional on the SE model (Skoda?).
You can also charge at home using a 2.3kW domestic three-pin connection and a Mode 2 charging cable – although a home wall box is advisable. Charging via a domestic three-pin plug will take nearly 13 hours to attain 80 per cent battery capacity.
If you’re out and about you can use a public rapid charger with the car’s CCS (Combined Charging System) connection. Again, this connector is standard on SE-L models but only optional on SE models. Charging at 40kW allows for an 80 per cent charge within an hour.
On the road
The Skoda Citigo e iV hatchback feels grown-up for such a little car and is great around town, where it is likely to spend the majority of its time as a perfect companion for the urban environment. Parking is simple, all round visibility is excellent and the car easily negotiates tight city streets that would greatly challenge larger models.
It’s a shame to keep it cooped up in the city, though, because it’s actually well capable of putting a smile on your face, if you show it a challenging road. The batteries carry extra weight compared to the previously available petrol models, so there’s a bit of body lean in corners, but the car never feels unstable. There’s plenty of grip and the steering feels precise, without being too heavy.
Another surprise is how quiet the Citigo e-iV is inside, especially with an almost-silent electric motor providing the power. If you’re coming from a petrol version, you might notice a little extra road and wind noise, while shallow potholes and bumpy roads are usually no problem. It’s among the most comfortable city cars in which to tackle a motorway and is good enough to throw shade on a few larger superminis.
The regular Citigo previously scored well for safety: the car was initially awarded five stars when it was crash-tested by Euro NCAP in 2011. However, in 2019 this was reduced to three stars because the option of autonomous emergency braking was removed. The three stars also covers the Volkswagen e-up! and SEAT Mii Electric, too.
Being an inexpensive car for urban dwellers, the Citigo e-iV offers the minimum of safety systems and a touch of the modern age with the deployment of a limited number of assistance systems.
As standard, the car comes equipped with airbags only for the front seats, including head and thorax, and the lane assist technology meant to keep the car on track.
The Skoda Citigo e-iV can be fun to drive and priced from just £17,455 (for the SE), is one of the more affordable EVs. Opt for the SE-L model as tested to get greater charging options and as bit more kit for your money. It’s still comparatively good value at £19,815.
However there are a few flaws, most of which are due to the Citigo e-iV being based so closely on a petrol-powered city car that was engineered to a tight budget nearly a decade ago. Overall, the Skoda Citigo e-iV is a highly likeable car offering very low running costs and well worth a punt for those considering the EV lifestyle.
Skoda Citigo e iV timeline:
- 2019: May Model announced.
- 2019: November UK model line-up and prices announced, order books open.
- 2020: January First deliveries to retail network.
Key Facts (KV69 VSE):
- Powertrain: Front-mounted electric motor driving the front axle.
- Power output: 82bhp / 212Nm, provided by a 36.8kWh battery pack.
- Transmission: Single speed.
- Acceleration: 0-62mph: 12.3 seconds.
- Top speed: 81 mph.
- Range: 140-170 miles (WLTP).
- Emissions/EURO Class: Zero CO₂/km.
- First year VED: £0, thereafter £0.
- BiK 0% (2020/21).
- Kerb weight: 1,240kg.
- Luggage capacity: 250/930 litres.
- Towing weight (braked): Not recommended.
- Roof luggage weight: Not recommended.
- Warranty: 3 years/60,000 miles.
- Battery pack: Eight years / 100,000 miles.
- Insurance group: 11E.
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