Fabia SE L 1.2 TSI 110PS DSG
chiselled looks define
as it steps into the supermini
arena to face-off against some
very driveable rivals from the
likes of Peugeot and Ford...
A VERTICALLY SLATTED front grille flanked by clean-cut headlights with integrated
daytime running lights and distinctive body lines define the sharply-suited,
sportily lower and wider new Fabia all ready to light up
a dull day, both visually and dynamically.
Skoda reserve the biggest thrills for their vRS-badged models, although to date
a 'go-faster' version of the new Fabia hasn't reached the price lists. Not a
problem because the 1.2 TSI model we've been driving this past week is powered
by a tractable 108bhp petrol engine that's made even more lively courtesy of
an eager-beaver seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox.
Backed-up by 129lb ft of torque between 1,400 and 4,000rpm, this four-cylinder
powerplant proved to be quite a party animal; a happy revver, it delivers some
surprisingly entertaining punch across a large chunk of its rev range.
the DSG's character in everyday Drive-mode tends to favour economy (our week's
pretty hard-driven average came in at a commendable 49.1mpg), happy hour is
never more just a few millimetres to the left away; flick the selector lever
leftwards into Sport and the four-pot is more than keen to show you what it's
got. And it's got quite a lot…
For some real Bourne
Identity drivenastics you
can change gear yourself
by nudging the DSG
fore/aft to slice
sequentially up or down
the seven ratios...
in Drive, the 'box naturally follows a quick, smooth and seamless fuel-saving
hike upwards through the seven gears. On motorways this gives it an easy mile-eating
gait that makes it a relaxing place to be even on higher-rated motorways across
the Channel where eighty-five isn't enough to get your knuckles rapped.
In Sport it's a much livelier ballgame, with maximum power extracted before
it self-selects the next higher gear driven like this it feels
appreciably quicker to the benchmark 62mph than its on-paper 9.4 seconds figure
suggests. Keep the loud pedal planted and it will top out at 122mph.
However, for some real Bourne Identity drivenastics you can change gear
yourself by nudging the 'stick' fore/aft to slice sequentially up or down the
Drive down that route and the Fabia shows itself to be a faithful companion:
not only is it shorter, wider (both body-wise and with significantly wider tracks
front and rear) and lower than its predecessor but it's also lighter by 65kg
plus and it's underpinned by the advanced MQB platform that the
VW Group is rolling out across its multi-brand range.
Handling is reassuringly predictable yet eager (our test car was fitted with
the optional sports suspension) with well-tamed body control and plenty of grip
from the 215/45 Dunlop SP Sport Maxx rubber; it turns-in deftly and can be accelerated
through and out of corners and sharp bends with confidence. In short, it's fun
The brake pedal is progressive enough for very smooth traffic-light or stop-start
stops with no jerks, and with discs at each corner (ventilated at the front)
there's plenty of power for serious deceleration when called for.
it can definitely entertain the keen driver, its real forte leans more towards
family in spite of the 'sports' tag it rides nicely and the suspension
dies a decent job of insulating those inside from the bumps outside.
Eager handling (our test
car was fitted with
the optional sports
body control and
plenty of grip means the
Fabia can be accelerated
through and out of
corners and sharp bends
five doors (counting the rear hatch) and seating for five along with a surprisingly
accommodating and class-leading 330-litre boot that's quite a
bit more than you get in VW's five-door Polo the new Fabia is
designed to be both practical and versatile in town and out.
open either front door and prepare to be impressed. This is no ordinary cabin
grabbing your attention are the Sports seats with 'quilted' centre
panels that look better than inviting (a £175 option that's definitely 'to tick
Settle into the bucket-style seat and you'll find it to be both comfortable
and supportive; the side bolsters are nicely firm and along with the sporty
seat architecture hold you firmly when making full use of the Fabia's handling
dynamics. A handy feature, incidentally, is the small net pocket on each front
seat's inner seatback rather like a pocket on your sleeve; and
Both front seats adjust for height and have large knurled adjusters for hassle-free
backrest adjustment. Plus there's a fist of headroom if you need to raise the
The Fabia is a doddle to place accurately on the road thanks to a driving position
that's spot-on as well as first-rate visibility = including rearwards, courtesy
of the full-width rear screen and non-intrusive rear three-quarter pillars.
The brushed metallic dash is upmarket smart and the ergonomics first-rate
dials are trad analogue paired with unbeatable crisp white-on-black graphics
(small gauges for engine coolant and fuel are inset into the two main dials
for, respectively, speed and revs); the driver's on-board computer display shows
all core trip info as well as a offering a large digital speed readout (also
all in crystal-clear white on black) and scrolling though the various modes
is easy using the foolproof controls on the tactile steering wheel's high-gloss
black right-hand spoke.
The range-topping SE L version comes with a generous helping of kit that includes
a surround sound package (plus the ability to read, write and send texts via
your Bluetooth-connected phone using the Skoda's range-topping infotainment
system with its large 6.5-inch swipeable colour LCD touchscreen), three-spoke
multifunction leather-wrapped wheel, rear parking sensors, auto-dimming rearview
mirror, auto lights and wipes, climate control AirCon, cruise control, DAB digital
radio, USB and SD card, power front windows, electrically-adjustable and heated
door mirrors, keyless engine start and stop, driver's computer, speed limiter,
a tyre pressure monitoring system and rear wash/wipe.
five-door bodyshell naturally includes two rear doors and the Fabia's good-sized
door openings provide easy entry and exit from the rear cabin. Once seated in
the back there's a good view out through the longish side windows that help
keep the cabin airy. For near six-footers there's unexpectedly
and impressively a fist of headroom, along with masses of space
for even the largest feet.
A five-door bodyshell naturally includes two
rear doors; the good-sized door openings provide easy entry and exit
from the rear cabin. Near six-footers enjoy a fist of headroom, and
masses of space for even the largest feet...
can relax in the outer seats that are upholstered in the same quilted-effect
material as the fronts and, importantly, keep you enjoyably located. Three belts
but only two headrests doesn't mean that a third in the middle can't be accommodated
although to do so means planting a foot either side of the central floor tunnel.
For kids it's fine; for adults it's still do-able.
South of the rear seats is a real-world boot; fold the 60:40-split seatbacks
and it expands to create a cargo bay with 1,150 litres (in case you're wondering,
the Fabia Estate offers 530 and 1,395 litres).
Skoda prides itself on providing 'really useful' stuff and they
do. Take the two position rear parcel shelf-cum-rigid luggage cover, for example:
it can be set at a halfway point where it provides a usefully deeper shelf in
the boot down behind the rear seatbacks and, at the same time, creates a separate
closed-off lower storage area taking in half the boot area segregating
your boot in this way usefully boosts practicality.
In its standard configuration there's a drop down to the boot floor over the
mid-thigh level loading sill. On the boot floor itself there's a repositionable
semicircular 'corral' that fits either side of the boot and which can be used
to ring-fence fragile objects or bottles. However, if it's just a single bottle
of Glenfiddich you've bought then there's a stand-alone bottle holder ready
and waiting on one side of the boot; on the opposite side is an open bin.
Naturally there are folding bag hooks, and stretchy nets of varying sizes to
ensure everything stays precisely where you place it. Elsewhere nice touches
abound, from the holder for your smart phone that fits into the dual cupholder
on the centre console, 1.5-litre bottle-holding front door bins, the ice-scraper
handily stored on the inside of the fuel filler flap, loads of cabin storage
including pull-out drawers built into both front seat bases, and the parking
ticket holder on the screen.
Fabia hatch prices start at just £10,600; for not much money at all you can
make it even better both from an eye-candy perspective as well as comfort and
handling. Our test car's eye-catching paintwork scheme of bright yellow topped
with a metallic black roof and door mirror 'skins' adds £785; the superb front
sports seats are a must-have and at £175 you'd be crazy not to have 'em); sports
suspension costs just £120; while the 'BEAM' black alloy wheels, so much cooler
than the standard alloys, are just £150 more.
Oh, and did we mention
the optional Driver
It warns the driver when
to take a break but
have to buy your
with the Fabia day-to-day is easy-peasy the air conditioning is
efficient; the driving position spot-on; you start and stop the engine simply
by pressing the button on the steering column where once you inserted the ignition
key; rear parking sensors are supplemented by parking graphics on the touchscreen
to make reversing easier; and if you prefer to do it the old fashioned way
looking over your shoulder well, that's also a piece of cake thanks
to the excellent all-round visibility.
Driver assistance features include a Speed Limiter, Electronic Stability Control
that uses an electronically-controlled differential (improves handling and steering
particularly when rounding corners), Front Assistant (audio/visual warning of
an impending collision that, should the driver fail to respond, initiates braking
to minimise any possible impact. Fabia's safety credentials are underscored
by its five-star Euro NCAP crash test rating. Oh, and did we mention the optional
Driver Fatigue feature? It warns the driver when to take a break
but you'll have to buy your own KitKat!
All in all this extrovert new Fabia is very easy to like: it's comfortable,
practical, easy to live with, fun to drive and pokey when asked but when it
comes to visiting fossil fuel forecourts it's also commendably conservative.
Skoda Fabia SE L 1.2 TSI 110PS DSG
Maximum speed: 122mph | 0-62mph: 9.4 seconds | Test Average: 49.1mpg
Power: 108bhp | Torque: 129lb ft | CO2 109g/km