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Added 18th January, 2013
, updated 15th February, 2019
Some citycars sell on cute and cuddly virtues. This isn't one of them. Here instead, the urban runabout has grown up, become mature, got itself properly sorted. If that puts off the twentysomethings who'd prefer something more fashionable, then so be it. There are plenty of others in search of an urban runabout with big car virtues and small car pricing, spacious, efficient and beautifully built.
This, according to ŠKODA, is 'engineering excellence with a human touch' - a design someone's clearly thought very carefully about. True, there are feistier citycars you could consider: maybe more charismatic ones too. But none that better deliver on the promise of two words that sum this Citigo up. Simply clever.
All the things that made the old Yeti so appealing remain with this Karoq model. It's spacious, safe, drives well, has a cool but understated image and is affordable to run. In short, what we have here is a class act in a market full of try-hard rivals and a car that strikes an appealing chord between practicality, quality and fashion.
True, some of the rivals it has to face are larger, more hi-tech or more efficient. Most of them are pricier too though and it's that very affordability that'll keep this ŠKODA in the frame for customers who want a more interesting and flexible alternative to yet another Qashqai clone in this class. It's a car that transcends lifestyle snobbery. A family car that doesn't shout 'family'. And a Crossover you could be genuinely pleased to own.
A ŠKODA Octavia was once the least sophisticated of all the Volkswagen Group's family hatchback products. Not any more. Almost nothing has been held back for this third generation version, which now features a hi-tech 1.0-litre TSI entry-level petrol engine, the option of adaptive damping further up the range and more sophisticated optional smartphone connectivity.
The two bodystyles - hatch and estate - both feature smarter styling and are mated with TSI petrol or TDI diesel power. Petrol-wise, the range now starts with a clever 115PS three cylinder unit in the case of the entry-level version. Above that sits a 150PS 1.5 TSI derivative or a 2.0 TSI vRS variant offering 245PS. Diesel drivers choose between 1.6 or 2.0-litre TDI units and there's the choice of eight main trim levels - S, SE, SE Drive, SE L, Sportline, Laurin & Klement, Scout and vRS. 4WD is an option with the 2.0 TDI engine.
ŠKODA has upped the ante with this improved version of its third-generation Fabia, introducing sharper, more assertive styling and clever tech that has been bringing down the average age of its customers. With plenty of space inside and improved levels of safety and media connectivity, the Fabia seems to be getting the basics spot on these days and further benefits from the introduction of an impressive 1.0-litre TSI entry-level powerplant.
In design terms, this Fabia's changed - but certainly not beyond recognition. Front and rear design updates deliver a smarter appearance and there are more stylish wheel designs of up to 18-inches in size. Shaplier headlights and front fog lights with sleeker outlines and state-of-the-art lighting technology also freshen up the look, LED headlights and LED rear lights being offered for the first time. Inside, there's a redesigned instrument cluster, smarter trim strips for the dashboard and two-tone finishes for the seats to update the interior.
As before, there's a five-door Hatch bodystyle, or an Estate with a class-leading 530-litre boot capacity.
ŠKODA's first stab at citycar motoring has proved to be an impressive one, this Citigo borrowing Volkswagen technology and blending it with the value we expect from this growing Czech brand. This improved version has smartened up its act and those in search of a beautifully conceived, affordable and impressively space and fuel-efficient urban runabout will need to consider it.
So what's different with this revised model? Well, the front section has been subtly revised, so there's a new bonnet, a redesigned radiator grille, modified bumpers and updated fog lights, all aiming to create a fresher, younger look. The interior has also been upgraded with a smarter instrument cluster and redesigned seats. Under the bonnet, things are much as before, so there are 60 and 75PS versions of the same 1.0-litre three cylinder engine, with the option of ASG auto transmission if you want it.
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