1.0 TSO Colour Edition
Is the Skoda Fabia boringly good, or just good?
The Skoda Fabia is a good car, and this presents a Big Problem. Not because bad cars are easier to talk about (indeed, there are arguably few really, truly irredeemable cars even available these days), but more to the nature of its goodness. The Fabia is so straightforward, so sensible and simple to use, there’s nothing really to latch onto.
Take, for example, the drivetrain. Top Gear’s Skoda Fabia teams a 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol engine with a six-speed manual gearbox. Not wanting to get bogged down in the nuances of helmsmithery, but it’s a good, punchy little workhorse devoid of any noticeable character. Ours is the more powerful 108bhp version, and the only gripe is that the power band is so narrow it’s sometimes a little jerky to modulate around town. But not much.
It's very efficient, too. Skoda claims between 117 and 126g/km of CO2, and we’ve been recording 51+mpg easily, without any effort to hypermile or eke out range whatsoever. Allied to this noteworthy parsimony is its noteworthy lack of pace – 0-62mph takes a full ten seconds. Though, it’s also a little supermini so expectations have been what straightforward, sensible people like to call ‘managed’.
What about looks? Well there’s the familiar Skoda ‘family’ face, some pleasing creases about its flanks, and nicely proportioned overhangs (yes, we’re talking overhangs on a supermini). Our ‘Colour Edition’ car gets an optional ‘Velvet Red’ and black roof paintjob, and some very intriguing wheels that from a distance look like dirty steelies (yay!) but are actually 17in ‘Procyon’ metallic black alloys. The only gripe here is perhaps the rear treatment – and maybe the entire car itself – looks a little generic.
It’s bigger than previous Fabias of course, but it’s still fairly compact and offers very reasonable space for four adults, some of them of average size too. The interior layout is as per any modern VW Group car you’ve sat in of late, only here there are three real dials operating the temperature, the speed at which said temperature is directed onto thine body, and from whence that temperature emerges. Sometimes being straightforward is a good thing...
So it’s a refined, comfortable, economical and practical little thing – there’s an umbrella in the door, for example – and it rides and drives… well. Everything about it is simple and designed to simply melt into the background of your life; so much so, a well-trained Golden Retriever could probably operate it.
But is that all you want from a car like this, to be a white (ok, bright red) good? And will the Fabia’s simplicity be its undoing, or will the ‘Colour Edition’ actually provide some… colour? Life with one as a daily will bring the answers...