Skoda Fabia


Debut: 2014
Maker: Skoda
Predecessor: Fabia (2007)


 Published on 28 Oct 2014
All rights reserved. 


In the seas of B-segment superminis, Skoda Fabia earned a special reputation as a solidly built and affordable alternative to Volkswagen Polo. It might not be very interesting to drive or very desirable to own, but in terms of practicality and comfort it exceeded most people’s expectation. No wonder it was quite popular in Europe and China. On the 3rd generation, we find most of this character is carried over, but at the same time it gets closer to the territory of Polo.

Take the exterior design for example. It is boring, of course, but the design team guided by Jozef Kaban opted for a paper-folding school that is increasingly common across Volkswagen group brands. Basically, if you mask its waterfall grille and logo you can’t tell whether it is a Volkswagen, Seat or Skoda. If you have 3 mainstream brands selling similar cars, you certainly need styling to differentiate them. Group design boss Walter de Silva should take the blame. Paper-folding design is not necessarily bad, but when it is as frill-less as this one only one word could come into mind: cheap.


The new Fabia keeps the same length and wheelbase of the outgoing car, but it is lowered by 30 mm and widened by a massive 90 mm – admittedly, the old car was too narrow and tall. The new proportion is both easier to eyes and friendlier to handling. Underneath the all-steel sheet metal is an architecture made of both old and new parts. About 50 percent comes from the latest MQB platform, 41 percent from the PQ26 platform of the facelifted Polo and 9 percent parts are carried over from the old Fabia’s PQ25 platform. Thanks to the MQB stuffs, the car is an average 65 kg lighter than before. That said, from technology point of view there is not much to separate it from all mainstream superminis
– it rides on MacPherson-strut suspensions up front and a space-saving torsion-beam axle at the back; Steering is assisted by electric motor; All engines are Euro 6-compliant.

Benefited by extra width, the cabin is noticeably roomier. It offers just enough legroom for a 6-footer sitting behind another 6-footer. Headroom is still plenty. The 330-liter boot is very generous for the class. The interior design is conventional but it is more stylish than before. A large piece of gloss plastic panel (in customizable color) runs across the full width of the dashboard to brighten the otherwise dull environment. While it cannot afford soft-touch plastics like Polo, all plastics are consistently grained and are well screwed together, so it doesn’t feel cheap. Sat nav is not offered, but the small touchscreen can be linked to your smartphone apps to provide the same functions.


Expectedly, Volkswagen group offers a wide range of up-to-date engines to the Fabia. Entry-level engine is the 1.0-liter 3-cylinder VVT with either 60 hp or 75 hp output. It is smooth and eager but struggles a bit on the Fabia, which is 130 kg heavier than a Volkswagen Up. Next is a pair of 1.2 TSI four-cylinder direct-injection turbo, producing either 90 hp or 110 hp, both offer brisk performance in a quiet manner. They are the pick of the range. On the diesel side, the 1.4 TDI is a 3-cylinder turbo diesel rated at 90 hp or 105 hp. While it is not as smooth and hushed as the 1.2 TSI, its CO2 rating of 88 g/km and combined consumption of 83 mpg are unrivalled. Sadly, the Fabia no longer offers hot hatch version as the previous vRS never sold well.

On the road, the new Fabia’s driving dynamics is surprisingly matured for a small car. Its suspension is remarkably effective to deal with varying road surfaces, especially bad ones. Bumps and ridges are well smoothed out, while suspension, tire and wind noises are well contained. It feels unusually relaxing to drive. Meanwhile, the body control and steering are decent. You won’t call it sporty because it is biased towards safe understeer like all VW cars, but the light steering is accurate and consistently weighted. Volkswagen holds nothing in its development. It doesn’t feel any inferior to Polo, just biases more towards the comfort side.


Nevertheless, while it gets closer to the territory of Polo, its prices also get closer. Now it no longer enjoys any price advantage against the mainstream Ford Fiesta, Peugeot 208 or Renault Clio, which are better to drive and far more interesting to look. Without a more distinctive character, the Czech car can hardly be seen as a top-tier player.
Verdict:
Specifications





Year
Layout
Chassis
Body
Length / width / height
Wheelbase
Engine
Capacity
Valve gears
Induction
Other engine features
Max power
Max torque
Transmission
Suspension layout

Suspension features
Tires
Kerb weight
Top speed
0-60 mph (sec)
0-100 mph (sec)
Fabia 1.0 MPI
2014
Front-engined, FWD
Steel monocoque
Mainly steel
3992 / 1732 / 1467 mm
2470 mm
Inline-3
999 cc
DOHC 12 valves, VVT
-
-
75 hp
70 lbft
5-speed manual
F: strut
R: torsion-beam
-
175/70R14
980 kg
107 mph (c)
13.9 (est)
-
Fabia 1.2TSI
2014
Front-engined, FWD
Steel monocoque
Mainly steel
3992 / 1732 / 1467 mm
2470 mm
Inline-4
1197 cc
DOHC 16 valves
Turbo
DI
110 hp
129 lbft
6-speed manual
F: strut
R: torsion-beam
-
185/60R15
1054 kg
122 mph (c)
8.8 (c)
-
Fabia 1.4TDI
2014
Front-engined, FWD
Steel monocoque
Mainly steel
3992 / 1732 / 1467 mm
2470 mm
Inline-3 diesel
1422 cc
DOHC 12 valves
VTG turbo
CDI
105 hp
184 lbft
5-speed manual
F: strut
R: torsion-beam
-
185/60R15
1090 kg
120 mph (c)
9.5 (c)
-




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