First DriveThe new Fabia, tested in pre-production form, is markedly improved – but the three-cylinder engine mars its appeal somewhat
First DrivePractical and well-priced, but the 1.6 TDI is a similarly priced and more usable option
This is the eco-conscious version of the Fabia Estate TDI, complete with all the usual fuel-saving paraphernalia. That means lowered ride height, a raised and more aerodynamic front bumper, low-friction tyres and aerodynamic cladding on the underbody panels.
The changes add up to modest – but significant – savings over the standard Fabia TDI: the Greenline emits 11g/km less CO2 and its combined fuel economy figure of 68.9mpg is 7.5 mpg better than the standard car. The frugality hasn’t been at the expense of equipment though - standard kit includes aircon, a decent eight-speaker stereo, and, to monitor your greener progress, a trip computer.
What’s it like?
In some ways more appealing than the standard car. The 165/70 R14 tyres do little for steering feel and cornering accuracy, but their smaller contact patch and taller sidewall mean this Fabia rides better over pitted tarmac than the tyres’ recommended 39psi inflation pressure would suggest.
The incongruity of the 14” rims on a car clearly designed for larger wheels is the only exterior sign - aside from the badge - that signals the Greenline’s environmental intentions.
The characterful three-cylinder engine note is still present under acceleration but settles to an unobtrusive thrum at cruising speeds. At 2000rpm the engine will happily sustain 70mph in top – even on gradients - though it’s necessary to dip into fourth gear to deliver meaningful acceleration.
Gentle use sees the trip computer reporting around 65mpg – and even more enthusiastic progress is unlikely to knock economy below mid-50s mpg.
Should I buy one?
If you’re in the market for a small, ultra-frugal estate the Fabia Greenline is worthy of more consideration than its default-choice status suggests. The lack of sacrifices in pursuit of higher economy makes for a useful alternative to the regular extended TDI.