I SAY, I say, I say. How do you double the value of a Skoda? Fill the tank. Why do Skodas have heated rear screens? To warm your hands when you’re pushing it. Have you got a door mirror for a Skoda? Ok, seems like a fair swap. What do you call a Skoda driver who says he’s had a speeding ticket? A dreamer.
I say, I say, I say. How do you double the value of a Skoda? Fill the tank. Why do Skodas have heated rear screens? To warm your hands when you’re pushing it. Have you got a door mirror for a Skoda? Ok, seems like a fair swap. What do you call a Skoda driver who says he’s had a speeding ticket? A dreamer.
Yes, they may be slightly humorous, in the way that Tommy Cooper raised a smile, but like the man with the fez these one-liners are very much a thing of the past. And, ironically, being the butt of jokes has actually proved successful for Skoda.
In the same way that, in the world of publicity, there’s only one thing worse than being talked about and that’s not being talked about, Skoda have benefited from their increased profile, and rather than being put off, potential buyers have been swept up by the remarkable value of the models and, secondly, by recognition of the brand’s excellent reliability.
Just look around the city streets and check out the private hire cars. Skodas – mostly Octavias, but increasingly the appropriately-named Superbs – are the backbone of the taxi fleets. Apart from knowing the answer to all the world’s problems, cabbies can spot good value for money with the same eagle-eyed precision that enables them to single out a well-heeled passenger with an inclination towards healthy tips.
If you think there are a lot of Skodas on the roads just now, then stand clear. The number is about to double over the next two or three years to around 80,000 across their increasingly extensive range – from the Fabia to the mini-MPV Roomster and 4x4 Yeti, and the anticipated new Rapid next year.
Before then, Skoda expect to sell around 8,000 units annually of their new city car, the Citigo, which goes on sale in showrooms from today. It is the second of three new cars from the VW, Skoda and Seat parent group which are all based on the same running gear and structure. It’s what was done with the Toyota Aygo, Citroen C1 and Peugeot 107, which are all basically the same car apart from the badge and the image to go with it.
The VW up! has so far won hands-down in the name stakes, although the still-to-be-released Seat Mii comes a close second. The Citigo, by comparison, is exactly that – a small car designed for an urban environment, although it’s pretty good out on the open road in the country. It sells for about £500 less than the up! equivalent, with a starting price of only £7,630 – well below the competition from Fiat, Kia, Ford, Hyundai and Toyota.
The only noticeable difference from the up! is in the fine detail of the styling. The VW has a couple of extra touches, like a more smiley and friendlier front end, a glass tailgate and some smoother lines, but the only real difference is in the badge.
The Citigo is the first with the new-look Skoda logo in black and chrome, and the car is remarkably spacious inside for such a neat machine, helped by doors which open wider than usual, good headroom, and plenty of space to stretch the legs in the back.
The test car was in the flagship Elegance trim so came with loads of features including electric heated door mirrors, heated front seats, front fog lamps and the very clever Portable Infotainment Device, which is like a detachable satnav clipping into a dock on the top of the dashboard but incorporating the trip computer and media player.
It was a GreenTech version so also had stop/start, low-rolling resistance tyres and energy recovery from braking to reduce fuel consumption.
Apart from excellent economy from the one-litre, three-cylinder engine, just a sniff away from 70 mpg, the Citigo is expected to have a high residual value after three years of around 50 per cent and the lowest insurance rating.
The figures add up – the only decision now is which badge you want on the front. It’s funny really – but it’s certainly no joke.
CAR: Skoda Citigo 1.0 MPI GreenTech 75 PS manual Elegance
PRICE: £9,860 (£10,450 as tested)
PERFORMANCE: Max speed 107 mph; 0-62 mph 13.2 secs
MPG: 67.3 combined
CO2 EMISSIONS: 98g/km