Skoda 2016 Fabia TSI wagon review

March 10th, 2016 by Darren Cottingham

Some car companies are doing everything they can to tempt people away from buying compact SUVs and crossovers.

Skoda’s new Fabia wagon is a front runner in the offerings that are both value-priced and well-featured, mainly because it’s got a tremendous amount of cargo space and it handles better than any compact SUV this side of sixty grand. Continue reading “Skoda 2016 Fabia TSI wagon review” »

Skoda: 2015 Fabia Dynamic Sport review

July 3rd, 2015 by Darren Cottingham

I just bought some bi-fold cupboard doors: $1200 for four pieces of melamine and some hinges. Granted, they are 2.3m tall and 1.8m wide, but I could have had 5 nights in Bali (including the flight) for the same amount. Continue reading “Skoda: 2015 Fabia Dynamic Sport review” »

Skoda Fabia vRS 2011 Review

March 25th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

Why is Skoda’s Fabia vRS hot hatch so angry? Is it because the ‘v’ in its name is lower case, or perhaps because it’s overheard too many Skoda jokes. Who really knows, but one thing’s for sure – it’s a little car with a big temper. At least that’s what Skoda’s ‘Made of meaner stuff’ ad campaign would have us believe. Advertising aside, the vRS has the honour of being the fastest Fabia built so far and it certainly meets expectations. The vRS thrives off a clever twin-charged drivetrain that when combined with the Fabia’s relatively low weight (1313 kg) delivers a seductively cheap thrill. Car and SUV spent a week strapped into a rally green, black roofed vRS to bring you the results.

Exterior Design

The Fabia body shape doesn’t allow itself to be turned into a hot hatch easily; it’s tall and quite narrow. That said, the vRS bas been dropped 15mm and Skoda has worked the front styling nicely with a bespoke front bumper with recessed fog lamps and a large low air dam that creates a gaping mouth. 17-inch black alloys look purposeful and fill up the guards with red painted brake callipers chomping away underneath. With the A-pillars also in black the vRS has a sporty floating roofline that is lengthened at the rear by a high mounted hatch spoiler. Down below, twin exhaust tips poke out from under a tough plastic rear diffuser.

There are also plenty of options to personalise your vRS, the roof and side mirrors can be painted in silver, black or white with the alloy wheels colour matched. Optional equipment includes LED driving lights, electric sunroof and tinted glass to keep low-key.

Overall, the design is very distinctive, very European and while it’s not overdone the vRS will still stand out on NZ roads. Skoda has done well to pick exactly the right areas on the Fabia body to show that the vRS is more than just a small hatch runabout. Continue reading “Skoda Fabia vRS 2011 Review” »

Skoda Fabia 1.2 TSI 2011 Review

January 28th, 2011 by Darren Cottingham

There are a few different ways you could describe the Skoda Fabia. Being the lowest price car in the VW Group range here in NZ you could call it ‘cheap’. But with upgraded styling inside and out you’d have to say ‘cheap but not boring’. With a new advanced powertrain there’s been an increase in performance so you might say the Fabia is ‘cheap but not boring and quite peppy’. But that is still too generalised and it’s generalisations that Skoda has worked so hard to fight against while shaking-off its now dated reputation for poor quality. So Car and SUV put all generalisations and pretensions aside to find out the finer details on Skoda’s updated city car.

What’s new for the Fabia is a whole swag of visual and mechanical updates that give the hatch a fresh injection of attitude. The changes also better target the Fabia at stealing budget-conscious buyers away from character competitors like the Mini Cooper and Fiat 500.

The styling, while you wouldn’t call it daring, it’s fresh and is more distinctively ‘Skoda and proud’ than previous models.  Updates include the new corporate grille, a more angular bonnet and reshaped headlights. The changes don’t just align the Fabia with the rest of the Skoda range but also give it a wider and lower look generating a sportier stance. The blacked out A and B pillars creates a ‘floating roof’ that can be customised in a contrasting colour. Our test specimen was finished nicely in Pacific Blue with a white roof. At the rear, there’s a high-mounted hatch spoiler, jeweled taillights and a chunky bumper. It’s elegantly colour-coded with some fine detailing like the roof colour matching the side mirror caps. Standard wheels are 15-inch steel rims with silver covers and 195/55 tyres but our test vehicle looked sharp with the optional ‘Elba’ 16-inch alloys and wider 205/45 rubber. Overall the Fabia design is better than ever before, it remains more conservative than some competitors in the segment, but it has a genuine European appeal and is handsomely finished. Continue reading “Skoda Fabia 1.2 TSI 2011 Review” »

Skoda presents Fabia vRS at Geneva

March 2nd, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Skoda is presenting its new Fabia vRS at the Geneva Motor Show this week.

It’s the second sports-tuned car after the Octavia vRS and will be powered by a double-supercharged four-cylinder petrol engine providing 132 kW of power, despite a capacity of just 1.4 litres.

A new compressor-and-turbo combination increases the engine power, making a maximum top speed of 224 km/h possible and acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h in just 7.3 seconds. With fuel consumption of 6.4 l/100 km, the Fabia vRS offers very good fuel efficiency, as well as some environmental credentials.

The Fabia vRS boasts an aggressively designed front bumper and integrated fog lamps that can optionally be fitted with daytime running LED lamps. The vehicle’s unique position in the Fabia portfolio is underlined by 17″ lightweight alloy Gigaro wheels developed specially for the vRS, red-painted brake callipers, tinted windows, a new rear bumper with a diffuser and a double exhaust tip. Depending on the colour of the body, the roof, the rear spoiler and wheels for the Fabia vRS will be available in three different shades: black, white and silver.

The vehicle’s sports-tuned chassis with ESP, ABS and ASR is designed for a mix of power and safe driving performance. A tyre pressure monitoring system and an uphill start assistant are also part of the standard equipment.

The Fabia vRS is expected in New Zealand later in 2010 at which point pricing and specification will be announced.

Skoda Fabia commercial

December 19th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

Skoda Fabia: simply clever

Skoda Fabia ads – Full of lovely stuff

December 19th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

The new Skoda Fabia advertisement where they bake the car!

Skoda Fabia 1.6 16V 2008 Review

August 19th, 2008 by Darren Cottingham


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
Acceleration (0-100km/h) 11.5 seconds
Engine Power – KW 78.3@5600
Engine Torque – NM 153@3800
Top Speed 185km/h
Alloy Wheels Yes
Engine and Drive Train
Camshaft Double-Overhead (DOHC)
Catalytic Convertor Yes
CC (Cubic Capacity in cm3) 1598
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
Weight and Capacities
Fuel Tank (Litres) 45
Engine and Drive Train
Number of Gears 6 SPEED
Weight and Capacities
Gross Weight (kg) 1630
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
Noise Level dB(A) 74
NOx (Nitrogen Oxides) 0.032
Engine and Drive Train
No. Valves 16
Space Saver No
Special Edition No
Special Order No
EU Emission Standards EURO 4
Engine and Drive Train
Transmission Type SEMI-AUTO
Weight and Capacities
Kerb-Kerb Turning Circle (metres) 10
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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