The Skoda CITIGOe iV is more fun to drive than you might imagine and it’s an ideal city car; it’s also one of the more affordable EVs to buy and to run.
The CITIGOe iV is Skoda’s first all-electric production vehicle in its 125 year history. However it’s not really a Skoda, because it’s a rebadged Volkswagen e-up! (as is the SEAT Mii Electric). This of course reflects the platform sharing ethos of the Volkswagen Group in the interest of cost efficiencies.
We’ve already established that the Skoda CITIGOe iV is based on the Volkswagen e-up!, and this includes the basic exterior and interior design, and the powertrain. There’s a 36.8kWh 60Ah lithium-ion battery and an electric motor with a power output of 61kW (83PS), with front-wheel drive.
The CITIGOe iV is a small city car but there’s a decent amount of space inside. It’s only a 4-seater, but because it has four doors, it’s practical. There’s also more space in the boot than you might imagine.
Bear with us on this. We don’t want to give away the conclusion first, but we probably should say at this point that the Skoda CITIGOe iV is a great little car overall. We need to say that now, because if you start with things in a logical sequence, it doesn’t start off well. Here’s why.
You get in the Skoda CITIGOe iV and you adjust the driving position. Except you can’t. Because there’s no reach adjustment on the steering wheel. This is one of the various cost-saving measures involved in trying to make a city car to a budget.
To get anything near an acceptable driving position with the seat low, you’ll need to pull the steering wheel down. This results in the steering wheel rim covering at least the top half of the (very large) speedometer. We’re not sure why the speedometer has to be so big – it simply doesn’t fit in the gap in the steering wheel.
You’ll then need to start the car. It’s electric, so there’s bound to be a starter button. Err, no – there’s a very old-fashioned key that you put in the ignition and turn. This sounds like another cost-saving initiative.
The next thing you’re likely to need to do is see the range of the battery. So you look in the instrument display, but there’s no driving range read-out. After much bemused button pressing, you’ll discover that by pressing the trip switch on the right hand stalk you can scroll though a few items of information, one of which is the driving range. The trouble is, you have to do this every time you start the car. All electric cars should have driving range displayed at all times.
Next, you might want to enter a destination in the satnav. But hang on, there’s no infomedia touchscreen to display navigation – just a very basic screen with radio station details, and another smaller screen below that with cabin climate information. However there is a holder on top of the dash in which you can place your smart phone (with a USB port behind), and you can use this for satnav (you can also download an app to display driving range).
And then there’s the lack of air vents on the dashboard – there’s just one at the left, and one at the right, and no vents in the middle – although there is a vent on the top of the dash, which mainly sends air upwards rather than outwards, so it’s a struggle to get sufficient ventilation on very hot days.
Okay, so you’ve got over the issues relating to driving position, starting the car, range display, lack of an infomedia screen and lack of sufficient air vents. So what’s next? You need to drive the car, because when you do that, you’ll have so much fun that you’ll forget the Skoda’s shortcomings.
The CITIGOe iV is a small car, and for an EV, it’s light, with a kerb weight of just 1235-1265 kg. Due to the electric powertrain, there’s instant acceleration, with no messing around with a clutch, no changing of gears, and no nonsense of revs rising and falling. And the performance is all in near-silence. Because the battery is in the floor of the car, the centre of gravity is low, which means the handling is good, and the primary ride is also comfortable.
The result of all this is that the CITIGOe iV is huge fun to drive – much more so than you would imagine by looking at the car. Being small and agile, it’s absolutely ideal for city driving,
There are three different driving modes: Normal, Eco and Eco+. You can also choose to have more brake regeneration by selecting B rather than D using the gear selector.
So the driving experience is generally good, but when driving the CITIGOe iV on dual carriageways and motorways another issue arises: the lane departure warning system is very intrusive, to the extent that if you pull over into the left lane without indicating – as you’re told to do in the Police driver’s handbook, Roadcraft – then the steering pulls you violently to the right, often towards the path of cars that are overtaking you. This seems to be a dangerous idea, but thankfully there’s a button to the right of the heating controls to switch this system off.
Finally, there’s more good news to report: Isofix child seats fit into the rear seats very easily.
The official electric driving range (WLTP) of the Skoda CITIGOe iV is 140-170 miles. In real-world driving we experienced 143-158 miles, perfectly fitting within the official range estimates.
You can charge the CITIGOe iV in three ways. Most people primarily charge EVs at home using a wallbox. With a 7.2kW AC domestic or public wall box, the battery can be charged to 80 per cent in 4 hours 15 minutes. To do this, unless there’s a cable on the charge point, you’ll need a mode 3 charging cable – it should be noted that such a cable is provided with the SE L model, but is only optional on the SE model.
You can also charge at home using a 2.3 kW domestic AC three-pin connection and a mode 2 charging cable – although a home wall box is advisable. Charging via a cable with a three-pin plug will take 12 hours 43 minutes to get to 80% battery capacity.
If you’re out and about you can use a public rapid charger with the car’s CCS (Combined Charging System) connection. This connector is standard on SE L models but only optional on SE models. Charging at 40kW allows for a charge from 0-80% in an hour.
The Skoda CITIGOe iV SE L costs £19,815 after the £3,000 UK government plug-in car grant. There are two trim levels: SE and SE L. Apart from the SE L model having 16-inch wheels compared to the SE model’s 14-inch wheels, a key benefit of the SE L model is the ability to rapid charge (up to 40kW).
EVs have zero benefit in kind company car tax in 2020/21, and zero VED, and electricity should be around just one-fifth of the cost of petrol, so the CITIGOe iV should be cheap to run.
The Skoda CITIGOe iV is fun to drive. It’s also one of the more affordable EVs, and will have very low running costs. We’d recommend opting for the SE L model due to having fewer charging limitations. However there are a few flaws, most of which are due to the CITIGOe iV being based so closely on a petrol-powered city car that was engineered to a budget. However overall the Skoda CITIGOe iV is a highly likeable car and it gains a Green Car Guide rating of 7 out of 10.