For all the fanfare and hullabaloo surrounding the recent spate of hot hatch launches, one car has been overlooked. The Skoda Fabia vRS. OK, so it's an update of the old Fabia and about to be replaced when the new Fabia gets the vRS treatment at the end of this year, but it's worthy because of one fact; it's still got more torque than a Porsche Boxster.
One bonus of it being old is that Skoda has done a run-out special that brings the vRS more up to date. There was never much wrong with the engine or chassis on this car - it's the interior that was a bit disappointing. You now get the Race Blue metallic paint that appears on other vRS models, black leather seats with blue stitching and red brake calipers (rather than green).
The most important of these changes are the seats. They make a world of difference and give the cabin a more modern feel. The old black and white cloth affairs were a pretty nasty Eighties flashback and a nightmare to keep clean.
The irony is that this new trim has shifted your attention to the engine. The vRS is still an incredibly punchy bit of kit, with an average mpg of over 50, but the 1.9 TDI could do with being more refined. Which is what Skoda will have to see to for the new car, if it wants to get noticed this time around.