Anyway, it makes you think: £995 for a giant killer, because that’s what the humble Fabia 1.9 TDI vRS of 2003-2007 was. It weighed just 1300kg, and although its high-pressure turbo diesel engine produced a modest 126bhp, it developed a much more impressive 229lb ft torque at only 1900rpm. The result was a car that from 50mph to 70mph could see off much more expensive and sportier fare.
Skoda Octavia vRS review
As standard, it came with sports seats, traction control, alloy wheels and air conditioning. The run-out Special Edition version of 2007 (1000 were sold) added leather seats with blue piping to match the exterior Race Blue metallic paint job, red brake calipers, cruise control and privacy glass.
As this was written, there were a couple of SEs for sale at £4300, each with mileages approaching the ton. Talk of future classic status surrounds the Fabia vRS and the SE in particular. Be careful: nothing wipes the smile off a speculator’s face more than high mileage, and lots of standard and SE vRS Fabias are well north of 100k. If a modest investment return is your goal, a low-mileage car with full service history and few former keepers is where you want to look, and amazingly there are still a few of these knocking around the classifieds.
Skoda to launch eRS electric performance SUV in 2022
One example is a 2004/04-reg standard vRS with 75k miles, full service history and one former keeper (a “lady doctor”, gushes the ad) for sale by a dealer for £3000. It had a new cambelt at 60,000 miles and is in bright Lemon Yellow with white cloth seats. Chip the seller £250 and you’ve got a rare weekend special that’s a hoot to drive for not a lot.
And did we mention fuel economy? Today’s diesels routinely get into the 60s but, even so, around 53mpg from the Fabia 1.9 TDI vRS isn’t bad. Is there no end to this giant killer’s talents?
How to get one in your garage:
An expert’s view, Richard Duncan, owner, RD Garage Services:
“I’ve got huge respect for the Fabia vRS diesel. Not only is it incredibly quick in the mid-range but, more than 10 years on, used ones are also proving to be incredibly reliable, even with 200k miles. The engine is bomb-proof. The same lump is in the Octavia and we regularly see those with over 400k miles. They’ll take engine chipping too – as high as 200bhp, although over that and you need to start strengthening the mechanicals. There’s no diesel particulate filter to worry about at MOT time but do give it a thrash before you take it to the test to clear out soot.”