Fabia vRS 1.4 TSI DSG
are a fact of modern
motoring life: many of todays
even have a name;
just a number. The fun is guessing
what they secretly stand for.
No brain-stretcher with Skodas
very Rapid Skoda
IT MAY NOT BE the fastest hot-hatch in the pack but there's no denying its ability
to unfailingly plaster a smile across your face every time you nudge the selector
back into Sport mode and fire it down the road.
Not only does its smooth-shifting, seven-speed DSG 'box help towards its official
combined consumption figure of 45.6mpg, but it injects the fun factor. For the
record the DSG is standard-fit; there's no manual gearbox option but
if you're old school enough to believe that's a minus point in a performance
car, think on Formula One then point us in the direction of an F1 race car with
a manual gearbox...
the real-world's mean streets, the DSG paddle-shift, twin-clutch gearbox optimises
the vRS's ability to entertain, seamlessly zipping up and down the ratios and
always in the right gear whether you've got it in Auto or Sport mode. Helpfully,
the active gear is always shown in the driver's display screen.
The vRSs petrol-
drinking 1.4 powerplant
is twin-charged it
runs both a supercharger
and a turbocharger;
provides the low-rev
gusto up until
2,400rpm, when the turbo
takes over for the
to the red-line...
And the DSG's a well-chosen partner to the new petrol-drinking 1.4-litre powerplant
installed in the Fabia's engine bay. It's a 'twin-charged' unit it runs
both a supercharger and a turbocharger; the supercharger provides the low-rev
gusto up until 2,400rpm when the turbo takes over for the final spurt to the
This clean-revving 1,390cc engine punches out 177bhp supported by a flexible
184lb ft of torque that delivers a strong shove not just from pull-away but
in the mid-range too with enough left over not to run ragged at the top-end.
Most of the time it's a refined motor, but you'll hear it when its sprinting
to 62mph from standstill it takes 7.3 seconds. Keep your foot down and
it will run on all the way to a very German 139mph.
Looks-wise its slim, slightly 'upright' stance is not outrageously hot-hatch
actually quite a good thing as these days fast-and-flashy attracts too
much of the wrong kind of attention. Even so, the vRS does get some go-faster
body kit, along with vRS badging.
Our test car was finished in a bold shade of metallic green against which the
Sunset privacy glass from the B-pillars back, LED running lights, smoked headlight
covers, black mirrors and 17-inch 5 x double-spoke alloys were a smart foil.
Should you wish to, you can tick the option-boxes for a black or white roof
and white or black alloy wheels.
The vRS's cabin is well fitted out for sporty driving: neat, clear dials including
a not-that-optimistic 160mph speedo), a three-spoke multi-function sports wheel
with a very lovely perforated leather rim, smartly-upholstered, well-bolstered
vRS sports seats that hold you in place through twisty esses, and stainless
steel pedals. And it's very easy to get comfortable thanks to strong built-in
lumbar support and generous two-way adjustment for the steering wheel and height
adjustment for the seat base.
interior is smartly finished with good attention to detail (chrome filleting,
satin black shift paddles, etc), and the dash is refreshingly unfussed
focused; with nothing to distract you when you're covering ground quickly. Plus
all-round visibility is excellent, especially to the rearwards courtesy of the
near enough full-width rear screen. Handy, because you don't get any parking
sensors as standard (they're a £285 option). A better idea would be to put that
towards the excellent Amundsen SatNav with DAB radio that costs £625.
standard equipment includes manual AirCon with a pollen filter, a chilled glove
box, vRS sports seats, electric front windows (both one-shot auto up/down),
power operated heated door mirrors, eight-speaker radio/CD, Multi Device Interface
(for connecting to a variety of music players), driver's information display
(range, speed, oil temp, trip, average mpg, etc; conveniently operated by a
button on the right-hand stalk), tinted glass and privacy glass for the rear
cabin, plus sports suspension.
Those of you who like
real air while
travelling can lower the
windows and enjoy
natural cooling without
bluster or buffeting.
A nice change to hear
the birds singing as
This is a VW Group car so you'd expect a decent quota of safety items
and you get them: front, side and curtain airbags, Isofix, tyre pressure monitoring,
electronic stability control, XDS electronic differential system, hill hold
control, and height-adjustable front seatbelts.
The vRS sports a trump card over many of its rivals: a pair of extra side doors
making it an easily accessible four/five seater. Inside there's plenty of leg-
and head-room for four. In the front there's a fist of headroom, good shoulder
room and plenty of elbow space for some quick wheel work even with a front passenger
In the back there's ample space for near-six-footers sitting behind another.
Rear passengers also get plenty of room for their feet, and have the reassurance
of knowing their head is some way from the tailgate glass and the roof. We didn't
hear any complaints about the rear wind-up windows from back-seaters.
Those of you who like real air while travelling can lower the windows and enjoy
some traditional 'cooling' without bluster or buffeting; and a pleasant change
to hear the birds singing as you're tootling along! Should you prefer, the AirCon
does very cold, very well. Incidentally, two rear headrests are standard
if you need a third you'll have to pay another £70. But you do get three rear
referred to as a 'pint-sized' (in an affectionate kind of way) hot-hatch, the
vRS nevertheless has a lot of load space: behind the easy self-lifting tailgate
you'll find 300 litres (good for a small family car) waiting to be filled with
'stuff' anything from a buggy to a big supermarket shop.
Fold the 60:40 split rear seats and the deep, regular-shaped boot expands to
1,163 litres. The seatbacks fold flat enough although there's a shallow step
up from the boot floor not much, and not enough to stop you taking full
advantage of the load bay for cargo-carrying duties.
Naturally there are sturdy pop-out bag holders (and not just for takeaways).
Forgoing a spare wheel adds another 15 litres (25 in the estate). If you regularly
need more, you might want to check out the vRS estate (480/1,460 litres).
vRS also comes fitted with a clever electronic limited slip differential called
XDS. Effectively, this diff ensures you can put down maximum power when accelerating
out of bends by transferring torque to the outside wheel in low grip situations.
A neat little package that also saves weight over a mechanical diff.
(and a sports suspension) doesnt mean that
ride comfort takes
a back seat.
Yes, its on the firm-ish
side but is still
surprisingly good and
copes very satisfactorily
with our second-rate
The chassis itself provides plenty of grip which, combined with a good degree
of agility and boosted by the XDS, lets you power through bends staying faithful
to your chosen line even at high rates of knots.
Brakes front and back showing blood-red callipers through the spokes
of the alloys wearing 205/40 Dunlop SP Sport Maxx are reassuring and
progressive. And proved unruffled during an unplanned real-life emergency stop.
Likewise the steering is fine and in tune with the rest of the vRS's dynamics.
However, entertaining handling (and a sports suspension) doesn't mean that ride
comfort takes a back seat. Yes, it's on the firm-ish side but is still surprisingly
good and copes very satisfactorily with our second-rate tarmac. On motorways
it tracks straight and true not always the case with hard-charging small
When family responsibilities beckon, the Fabia vRS is also an easy to live with
and practical small family car. Performance-wise the vRS lives up to its rep:
it goes like a rocket but without the giveaway fizz-bangs! Satisfaction guaranteed
when you're in the mood to play.
Skoda Fabia vRS 1.4 TSI DSG
Top speed: 139mph | 0-62mph: 7.3 seconds | Average Test MPG: 36.8mpg
Power: 177bhp | Torque: 184lb ft | CO2 148g/km