Skoda Fabia 1.0 TSI S 5dr
- Price£ 14,025
The Fabia is a relentlessly sensible drive – if it was a person it would be the designated driver at a party. It’s stable and sensible on the motorway, brisk over a flowing country road but sure not to enjoy itself too much.
The controls are all firmly and evenly weighted – even if the mechanical link between your foot and the oily bits of a car gets further away with every generation of car, the Skoda at least does a good job of pretending. There’s a satisfying weight to the pedals and the steering is consistent all the way through a turn.
There are five engine configurations available in the UK at launch, a 1.0-litre 3cyl unit in four states of tune and a 1.5-litre 4cyl range-topper. The smaller engine offers naturally aspirated 62bhp and 79bhp versions, as well as turbocharged 94bhp and 109bhp flavours, while the 1.5 offers 148bhp with a more powerful version of that engine coming in the Monte Carlo-spec car in 2022.
The three least powerful engines come with a five-speed manual gearbox as standard, while the most powerful 1.0 3cyl can be had with either a six-speed manual or a seven-speed DSG. The latter comes as standard on the 1.5 engine. Phew.
If you don’t mind being late for everything, the two weediest engines get the Fabia to 62mph from rest in 15.9secs and 15.5secs respectively. The 94bhp unit drops that to 10.6secs, and the current most powerful option gets the job done in 8.0secs. Plenty of room still for the slightly spicier Monte option, but don’t keep your fingers crossed for a proper hot hatch. Because it’s not happening.
The first three engines are officially rated at 56.5mpg, while fitting a six-speed manual to the 109bhp 1.0-litre unit increases that to 57.6mpg. The 1.5-litre engine is a touch thirstier at 50.4mpg.
We’ve only driven the more powerful 1.0-litre options so far, but the 94bhp and 109bhp are both solid all-rounders. We found that the DSG made for an oddly remote driving experience, the manual gearboxes playing on the thrummy character of the 3cyl engine. The six-speed gearbox offers eco flexibility on the motorway, but you wouldn’t feel like you were missing out with just the five gears.
Oddly the start-stop system was very rumbly on the DSG, registering maybe a four or five on the Richter Scale, and it was occasionally sluggish to pick up the power, even in Sport mode. We’d definitely opt for a manual gearbox in the Fabia.
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