Skoda Fabia 1.6 16V 2008 Review

Skoda Fabia 1.6 16V 2008 Review

skoda-fabia-fq

For those of you not au fait with the greatest band in the world, AC/DC, here is a quick history lesson.

Two brothers, Angus and Malcolm Young, start a rock band in 1973, write some of the best songs ever and are immortalised on the bedroom walls of 13 year-old boys around the world.

Now here’s the thing. Both brothers play guitar, but in 35 years of the band performing and recording, Malcolm has never played a guitar solo. Not a single, solitary note.

Angus has always been the school uniform-clad demon, writhing around like a dying cockroach while ripping out face-melting solos on his Gibson SG guitar. Malcolm, on the other hand, has stood quietly in the background, holding the rhythm solid and going largely unnoticed for 35 years.

The Skoda Fabia is also the ignored sibling of a famous family, always a distant second in the Volkswagen Group to either the pert Polo or popular Golf.

Unlike Malcolm, it seems that Skoda has finally stepped out of the shadows with a new platform for the Fabia (shared with SEAT) and delivered a solo worth listening to.

The new Fabia platform is a little bigger than the previous model which puts it between the Polo and Golf size-wise

Price-wise it is a different story as the Fabia has a unique position as there is not an equivalent engined Polo model to match on price, and the Golf range is more expensive.

However the forthcoming Polo could well be based on the Fabia platform and share closer pricing.

At the moment though, the Fabia starts at $27,990 for the 1.4 diesel rising to $29,990 for the 1.6 auto version as tested.

There are quite a few things to like about the Skoda Fabia. The interior is probably one of the best in its class with a real air of quality about all controls and surfaces, something that is very hard to find in the sub-$30,000 bracket.

The seats are firm and give decent support, while in the back there is a good amount of leg room even for tall people. While a band’s roadies won’t like the diminutive size, the interior is quite spacious both for groupies and luggage.

The only real problem with the interior is the centre arm rest which while providing storage, obscures the hand-brake but it can be folded out of the way.

The quality feel inside also translates to ability on the road where the Fabia shows enough competence to make it an interesting proposition to drive. The ride is compliant and the car feels quite solid though a little high when pitched into corners. Work the suspension hard and it starts to feel a little rubbery and roll through corners is evident but it still gets along back roads quickly with a minimum of road noise and a good amount of feel through the steering wheel and seat.

The engine growls like a would-be rock singer when you give it an audition and produces a good amount of power to back up the noise. The best word to describe acceleration is ‘brisk’ but it does get the job done. The 6-speed auto is well-sorted and the manual shift option helps to make the performance sportier.

Economy is not bad either with a combined total of 8L/100km on my various trips, while a long suburban run at 60km/h saw a best of 6.8L/100km

Aesthetics aren’t really the Fabia’s strong suit — the back and side are very non-descript — but it’s redeemed slightly by a moderately handsome front end and the MINI-style white roof.

While the Skoda Fabia doesn’t have the cachet of its savvy, cafe latte, Volkswagen brethren it is just as solid inside and as likeable to drive.

It won’t set the world on fire with solos that will inspire every teen to take up the guitar but it will, like Malcolm Young, provide a quality rhythm without fuss.

Price: from $27,990. As tested $29,990

What we like

  • Raspy engine note
  • Interior quality
  • Auto transmission

What we don’t like

  • Armrest is too high and interferes with gear changes/handbrake operation
Performance
Acceleration (0-100km/h) 11.5 seconds
Performance
Engine Power – KW 78.3@5600
Engine Torque – NM 153@3800
Performance
Top Speed 185km/h
Tyres
Alloy Wheels Yes
Engine and Drive Train
Camshaft Double-Overhead (DOHC)
Catalytic Convertor Yes
CC (Cubic Capacity in cm3) 1598
Emissions
CO2 (g/km) 180
Engine and Drive Train
Compression Ratio 10.5:1
Engine Orientation IN-LINE
Cylinders 4
Cylinders – Bore (mm) 76.5
Cylinders – Stroke (mm) 86.9
Engine and Drive Train
Engine Orientation FRONT TRANSVERSE
Engine and Drive Train
Fuel Delivery MULTI POINT FUEL INJECTION
Weight and Capacities
Fuel Tank (Litres) 45
Engine and Drive Train
Number of Gears 6 SPEED
Weight and Capacities
Gross Weight (kg) 1630
Emissions
HC (Hydrocarbons) 0.062
HC+NOx N/a
Vehicle Dimensions
Height 1498
Height (mm, inc. roof rails) N/a
Vehicle Dimensions
Length (mm) 3992
Weight and Capacities
Luggage Space (Litres, Seats Down) 1163
Luggage Capacity (Seats Up) 300
Load Weight (kg) 515
Roof Load (kg) 75
Towing Weight, Braked (kg) 1000
Towing Weight, Unbraked (kg) 500
Min Kerb Weight (kg) 1115
Number of Seats 5
Emissions
Noise Level dB(A) 74
NOx (Nitrogen Oxides) 0.032
Engine and Drive Train
No. Valves 16
Tyres
Space Saver No
General
Special Edition No
Special Order No
Emissions
EU Emission Standards EURO 4
Engine and Drive Train
Transmission Type SEMI-AUTO
Weight and Capacities
Kerb-Kerb Turning Circle (metres) 10
Tyres
Front Tyre Size 205/45 R16
Rear Tyre Size 205/45 R16
Spare Tyre Size 205/45 R15
Spare Tyre Size 205/45 R16
Wheel Style ATRIA
Wheel Type 16″ ALLOY
Vehicle Dimensions
Wheelbase (mm) 2462
Width (mm) 1642
Width (mm, inc. mirrors) N/a

Words Ben Dillon, photos Darren Cottingham

skoda-fabia-fq

For those of you not au fait with the greatest band in the world, AC/DC, here is a quick history lesson.

Two brothers, Angus and Malcolm Young, start a rock band in 1973, write some of the best songs ever and are immortalised on the bedroom walls of 13 year-old boys around the world.

Now here’s the thing. Both brothers play guitar, but in 35 years of the band performing and recording, Malcolm has never played a guitar solo. Not a single, solitary note.

Angus has always been the school uniform-clad demon, writhing around like a dying cockroach while ripping out face-melting solos on his Gibson SG guitar. Malcolm, on the other hand, has stood quietly in the background, holding the rhythm solid and going largely unnoticed for 35 years.

The Skoda Fabia is also the ignored sibling of a famous family, always a distant second in the Volkswagen Group to either the pert Polo or popular Golf.

Unlike Malcolm, it seems that Skoda has finally stepped out of the shadows with a new platform for the Fabia (shared with SEAT) and delivered a solo worth listening to.

The new Fabia platform is a little bigger than the previous model which puts it between the Polo and Golf size-wise

Price-wise it is a different story as the Fabia has a unique position as there is not an equivalent engined Polo model to match on price, and the Golf range is more expensive.

However the forthcoming Polo could well be based on the Fabia platform and share closer pricing.

At the moment though, the Fabia starts at $27,990 for the 1.4 diesel rising to $29,990 for the 1.6 auto version as tested.

There are quite a few things to like about the Skoda Fabia. The interior is probably one of the best in its class with a real air of quality about all controls and surfaces, something that is very hard to find in the sub-$30,000 bracket.

The seats are firm and give decent support, while in the back there is a good amount of leg room even for tall people. While a band’s roadies won’t like the diminutive size, the interior is quite spacious both for groupies and luggage.

The only real problem with the interior is the centre arm rest which while providing storage, obscures the hand-brake but it can be folded out of the way.

The quality feel inside also translates to ability on the road where the Fabia shows enough competence to make it an interesting proposition to drive. The ride is compliant and the car feels quite solid though a little high when pitched into corners. Work the suspension hard and it starts to feel a little rubbery and roll through corners is evident but it still gets along back roads quickly with a minimum of road noise and a good amount of feel through the steering wheel and seat.

The engine growls like a would-be rock singer when you give it an audition and produces a good amount of power to back up the noise. The best word to describe acceleration is ‘brisk’ but it does get the job done. The 6-speed auto is well-sorted and the manual shift option helps to make the performance sportier.

Economy is not bad either with a combined total of 8L/100km on my various trips, while a long suburban run at 60km/h saw a best of 6.8L/100km

Aesthetics aren’t really the Fabia’s strong suit — the back and side are very non-descript — but it’s redeemed slightly by a moderately handsome front end and the MINI-style white roof.

While the Skoda Fabia doesn’t have the cachet of its savvy, cafe latte, Volkswagen brethren it is just as solid inside and as likeable to drive.

It won’t set the world on fire with solos that will inspire every teen to take up the guitar but it will, like Malcolm Young, provide a quality rhythm without fuss.

Price: from $27,990. As tested $29,990

What we like

  • Raspy engine note
  • Interior quality
  • Auto transmission

What we don’t like

  • Armrest is too high and interferes with gear changes/handbrake operation
Performance
Acceleration (0-100km/h) 11.5 seconds
Performance
Engine Power – KW 78.3@5600
Engine Torque – NM 153@3800
Performance
Top Speed 185km/h
Tyres
Alloy Wheels Yes
Engine and Drive Train
Camshaft Double-Overhead (DOHC)
Catalytic Convertor Yes
CC (Cubic Capacity in cm3) 1598
Emissions
CO2 (g/km) 180
Engine and Drive Train
Compression Ratio 10.5:1
Engine Orientation IN-LINE
Cylinders 4
Cylinders – Bore (mm) 76.5
Cylinders – Stroke (mm) 86.9
Engine and Drive Train
Engine Orientation FRONT TRANSVERSE
Engine and Drive Train
Fuel Delivery MULTI POINT FUEL INJECTION
Weight and Capacities
Fuel Tank (Litres) 45
Engine and Drive Train
Number of Gears 6 SPEED
Weight and Capacities
Gross Weight (kg) 1630
Emissions
HC (Hydrocarbons) 0.062
HC+NOx N/a
Vehicle Dimensions
Height 1498
Height (mm, inc. roof rails) N/a
Vehicle Dimensions
Length (mm) 3992
Weight and Capacities
Luggage Space (Litres, Seats Down) 1163
Luggage Capacity (Seats Up) 300
Load Weight (kg) 515
Roof Load (kg) 75
Towing Weight, Braked (kg) 1000
Towing Weight, Unbraked (kg) 500
Min Kerb Weight (kg) 1115
Number of Seats 5
Emissions
Noise Level dB(A) 74
NOx (Nitrogen Oxides) 0.032
Engine and Drive Train
No. Valves 16
Tyres
Space Saver No
General
Special Edition No
Special Order No
Emissions
EU Emission Standards EURO 4
Engine and Drive Train
Transmission Type SEMI-AUTO
Weight and Capacities
Kerb-Kerb Turning Circle (metres) 10
Tyres
Front Tyre Size 205/45 R16
Rear Tyre Size 205/45 R16
Spare Tyre Size 205/45 R15
Spare Tyre Size 205/45 R16
Wheel Style ATRIA
Wheel Type 16″ ALLOY
Vehicle Dimensions
Wheelbase (mm) 2462
Width (mm) 1642
Width (mm, inc. mirrors) N/a

Words Ben Dillon, photos Darren Cottingham

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