Skoda Fabia

Mut­ton. Lamb Skoda Fabia SE 1.0 TSI 95PS £14,845 WE SAY: OLD UN­DER­NEATH BUT DRESSED IN LOVELY NEW CLOTHES

Top Gear (UK) - - CONTENTS - TOM HAR­RI­SON

Doesn’t look new

That’s be­cause it isn’t. In the last cou­ple of years, its three sib­lings – 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 re­designs. But not the Skoda Fabia. This is just a facelift, which means the Czech su­per­mini rides on an older, less-so­phis­ti­cated ted VW Group plat­form, and is there­fore ef­fec­tively vely a gen­er­a­tion back when it comes to en­gines, es, tech­nol­ogy and so on.

So what is dif­fer­ent?

New front and rear fas­cias (both fea­tur­ing LED light­ing for the first time), bet­ter stan­dard rd equip­ment across all grades, ad­di­tional ac­tive ctive safety tech­nol­ogy and an en­gine line-up that hat does en­tirely with­out diesels.

No diesels? Bold

Not re­ally. No­body wants a su­per­mini with a diesel en­gine. The old TDI only ac­counted for five per cent of Fabia sales, so Skoda’s killed ed it dead. We will not mourn its pass­ing. In­stead d you can have any one of four 1.0-litre, three-cylin­der jobs. Two with tur­bos, and two with­out. All are slow and fru­gal, but the turbo cars are faster, more eco­nom­i­cal and only marginally more ex­pen­sive. So get one of those.

What’s it like?

We’re driv­ing the lesser of the two turbo en­gines, Bri­tain’s big­gest seller, which has 94bhp and hits 62mph in a shade un­der 11 sec­onds. This is at least as smooth and re­fined an en­gine as Ford and PSA’s triples, but it’s not as in­volv­ing as ei­ther. Same goes for the chas­sis. Fine, but you won’t have as much fun driv­ing a Fabia as you might a Fi­esta.

Un­sur­pris­ing

Fair. Where the Fabia ex­cels is in the de­tails. The in­te­rior might look a bit dated, but it’s full of those clever lit­tle fea­tures Skoda does so well. Like the um­brella un­der the pas­sen­ger seat, the ice scraper and tread-depth gauge in the fuel-filler cap, waste bin in the pas­sen­ger’s pas­sen­ger s door pocket and nets on the sides of the front seats. Few man­u­fac­tur­ers live up to their taglines. Skoda does – ‘Sim­ply Clever’, in­nit.

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