Skoda: Waiting for the city slicker

By Alastair Sloane

The Citigo might be available here in 2013. Photo / Supplied
The Citigo might be available here in 2013. Photo / Supplied

The Citigo might be available here in 2013, but the production version of the MissionL concept is a sure thing.

New Zealanders wanting to get behind the wheel of Skoda's new city-slicker, the Citigo, will have to wait until at least 2013 when the five-door version hits the road.

Skoda NZ manager Sean Tupp doesn't believe there is a place in this country for the three-door version.

"The five-door is a possibility," he said. "I have spoken to our dealers about Citigo and a few of them have expressed interest in the five-door. We will certainly have a look at it."

Skoda's next entry into New Zealand will be the production version of the MissionL concept, unveiled in Frankfurt.

"It will be here in early 2013," said Tupp. "I haven't heard what it will be called yet. There have been some names floating around the internet but nothing official from the factory."

The compact MissionL show car was said to be close to production-ready. It will be released in India in December and Europe, Russia and China next year.

The Citigo will go on sale in the Czech Republic in December and in other European countries next July. The three-door version will be released first, with the five-door variant expected toward the end of next year.

The car - Skoda's version of the Volkswagen Up - is the brand's first entry in the mini-car segment and will play a key role in its growth plans. Skoda is aiming for annual sales of 1.5 million units by 2018, up from 762,600 last year.

Like the Up, the four-seater will offer an active braking system called City Safe Drive that applies the brakes at speeds below 30km/h if a laser sensor identifies a danger of collision. It also gets the same front-wheel-drive platform, which offers lots of space for four occupants and a choice of two three-cylinder, 1-litre petrol engines with CO2 emissions as low as 97g per kilometre and fuel economy of 4.2 litres/100km for the Green Tech version.

Citigo takes a clean, stylish look of the Up and adds Skoda's family face to the front. In comes the latest interpretation of the familiar grille, flanked by large headlights, and with simpler bumpers.

At the rear, Citigo swaps the Up's all-glass tailgate for a half-metal affair, and replaces its tail-lights with less flamboyant clusters that ape the look of the Octavia. But while it's not as dramatic, the bigger rear windows make it a more family-friendly proposition, and it's still a handsome and very well proportioned small car.

At 3.5m long, 1.6m wide and 1.5m tall, the Citigo is similar in size to the Fiat 500. But thanks to a clever platform - which moves the engine as far forward as possible - the wheelbase is 2.4m long, meaning it rivals the VW Polo for interior space.

Flexibility in the four-seater is boosted by fold-flat rear seats, extending boot space from 251 litres to 951 litres. In comparison, the 500 offers 185 and 550 litres.

Inside, the front seats feature integrated headrests, while there are novel touches such as a photo holder mounted on the centre console, and a convenient bag hook on the outside of the glovebox. Safety kit includes side airbags and City Safety Drive. A portable iPad-style device, which incorporates sat-nav and phone functions, plus Bluetooth music streaming, is also available.

Carmakers making timepieces

Infiniti

The luxury car arm of Nissan has unveiled the limited edition BR02-8 Infiniti Carbon Case Purple 8 Pro Dial watch. There will be only 200 built, each carrying a price tag of about $6000. The watch features a matte black dial with a photo-luminescent finish in Infiniti's distinctive purple colour.

Porsche

Porsche Design is updating its classic P6620 Dashboard watch. The case and bracelet are made of titanium and features a 44mm case, an anti-glare, scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, and an ETA Valjoux 7753 chronograph function with power reserve. You'll be paying nearly $7000, though.

Ferrari

The new Scuderia Ferrari Carbon Chrono is priced at $800. The watch is made in stainless steel satin 316 with PVD Gun treatment and the dial is made in carbon fibre and waterproof to 5 ATM.

Carol Shelby

Not content with just making cool cars, they have now made a limited edition watch named after their famed Shelby EXP 500 Green Hornet Mustang. Only 200 will be made, each featuring a wood dial face that replicates the original dash of the muscle car. No price yet, but it won't be cheap.

Bentley

In celebration of the Supersports Ice Speed Record Convertible two watches, the GT Ice and GT Racing Ice come with an Ice White dial. Both feature an all-polished finish. Limited numbers are being made and will cost around $10,000.

- NZ Herald

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