One of my most memorable test drives I’ve had was in a Skoda Fabia RS. It had a 1.4 TSi petrol engine mated to a DSG automatic gearbox. I volunteered to do all the shopping including drop offs and collections of the kids willingly.
I revelled in driving it on any type of road but particularly one with twists and bends. It was glorious and I still tell people how good it is/was as well as its VW cousin the Polo GT. If you get a chance to drive, or own, either of these they are well worth checking out.
Fast forward to today and there is a new Fabia. You must keep up to date nowadays when explaining “new” because whilst the car is new it is showcased using a familiar platform, in this case the VW MQB-A0 no less. It’s the motoring equivalent of playing top trumps when you can rattle off what platform a car is built on.
Other cars using this platform are the Scala and Kamiq from Skoda, the Polo and T-Cross from VW with the Ibiza and Arona from Seat not to be left out. For you, the buyer, it might be of interest as is the fact that the engines used are also common across the VW range.
In this case it’s a 3-cylinder petrol engine producing 95bhp with performance of 0-100km/h in 10.6 seconds. It’s a real gutsy and willing engine and you’ll be tempted to use its full power which may result in you not getting the 5.0 to 5.6 litres per 100km Skoda claim and match my 6.6 litres per 100kms which was, considering my driving style, very impressive.
Here’s an unconventional boast. The car can only claim longer and wider but not taller as it is 8mm lower than the older model going against the tide when everyone wants to be higher up in a taller car. As you know I’m not a fully paid-up member of that club and the handling of the Fabia is the better for it. This car is a delight to drive and responds excellently to the best and worse your arms can throw at the steering wheel.
It has great feel and in and around town it is as nimble as it gets. On our delightful R roads it has considerable stickiness and grips and grips in corners. It reminded me of why I loved the RS version so much.
The external design carries over a lot of the current Skoda design themes with signature grille and rear light clusters and consequently is one of Skoda’s smartest looking cars.
The longer and wider dimensions have allowed the boot to gain and extra 50 litres at 380 litres and the reality of using the boot is that if feels even bigger.
To set the latest Fabia in your mind’s eye just think that it is wider and taller than the original Ford Focus and just 168mm shorter. We think of the Fabia as a Fiesta alternative, but this is a timely reminder of just how big cars are these days.
Sure you can even see this whenever you visit a car park and just how tight the spaces are. Under the floor is, wait for it, a full spare tire. Is that simply clever or simply the right thing to do? The former, always. There is a nice touch with an umbrella in the driver’s door that we have seen before, Fabia branding on the driver’s binnacle and canvas fabric wrapped dashboard that looks nice but not passenger use friendly if you had a careless passenger as I suspect it is easily stained that’ll be hard to remove.
Another nifty idea is mobile phone pockets on the back of the front seats. And for safety reassurance it scored 5 stars at NCAP.
Apple/Android mirroring is standard on three trim levels Ambition, Style and Monte Carlo with the entry level Active requiring you to select it as an extra. But it is wireless so it’s the fancy version. There’s no reversing camera which seems at odds with most manufacturers these days who only offer it instead of sensors. It is a €329 extra that I reckon is well worth ordering. There are 7 packs you can add as well depending on your needs.
The Travel Assist pack that requires you to buy the 1.0 TSi engine and at Style or Monte Carlo trim level gives you adaptive cruise control, adaptive lane assist and a virtual cockpit and again worth adding albeit for €883. There are quite a few extras you can offer and Skoda, alas, are going further down this route adding increased delivery time and more money to your new car. I prefer three or four trim levels with few if any other extras you can choose.
The cabin has a very airy feel to it and with the dimensions that’s not surprising. The materials/plastics can be classed as better than average and feel long lasting. Remember when you chose an alloy wheel to look better than plastic hubcaps? Well now you can get an alloy wheel, 16" ‘Proxima’ alloy wheels in this case on the Style model that have, wait for it, Black Aero plastic inserts.
They do look very nice but not if you lose the insert. I don’t think this fulfils the Skoda “Simple Clever” mantra.
Overall this is an excellent “small” car. There are scores of existing owners whose beliefs about this car will be cemented and it is eye-catching enough to attract new buyers. Top three small car position for sure and a sure-fire winner for Skoda.
Subscribe or register today to discover more from DonegalLive.ie
Buy the e-paper of the Donegal Democrat, Donegal People's Press, Donegal Post and Inish Times here for instant access to Donegal's premier news titles.
Keep up with the latest news from Donegal with our daily newsletter featuring the most important stories of the day delivered to your inbox every evening at 5pm.