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The Top Gear car review: Skoda Fabia
For:Good value, lots of clever touches, smooth & refined 1.0-litre TSI engines.
Against:Feels a bit behind the times in some areas. And WHERE’S THE FAST ONE?
What is it?
Well what it’s not is an entirely new car. In the last couple of years its stablemates – first the Seat Ibiza, then the Volkswagen Polo and just recently the Audi A1 – have been given all-new platforms (the same one, obviously, called MQB A0) and complete re-designs. But not the Skoda Fabia. This is just a facelift, which means it still rides on an older, less sophisticated VW Group platform, and is therefore effectively a generation behind when it comes to engines, technology and so-on.
Doesn’t really feel it, though. We’re fans of the Fabia. Or ‘Far-bia’, as Skoda insists you pronounce it. Mainly because like all Skodas, it’s entirely fit for purpose and not the least bit pretentious. And it’s comfortably the cheapest of the four VW Group cars, with prices for the entry-level model starting at just under £13,000. In its cheapest form the Seat Ibiza is more than £15,000, and our current favourite supermini, the TG-award-winning Ford Fiesta, costs from just under £14,000. Other ones to watch in this class include the Citroen C3, Nissan Micra and Hyundai i20.
Launched in 2014, Skoda’s shifted almost 700,000 third-generation Fabias so far. In Europe the UK is its fourth-biggest market, behind Germany, the Czech Republic and Poland. Changes for 2018 are limited to new front- and rear-fascias (both optionally featuring LED lighting for the first time), better standard equipment across all grades, additional active safety technology and an engine line-up that does entirely without diesels. Mainly because nobody buys them – just five per cent of pre-facelift Fabias sold in Britain were ordered with a diesel. We will not mourn its death.
What it also does without (and a death we are very much still mourning) is a hot vRS performance variant, which died with the second-generation car. Fast Skoda enthusiasts will need to keep making do with the Octavia. Indeed, vRS models account for a fifth of all Octavias sold in the UK.