What is it?
An all-new diesel version of Skoda’s cheap and cheerful Fabia supermini.
The Czech car-maker has at last got around to dumping the VW Group’s noisy old two-valve pumpe duse diesels from the Fabia’s engine range. As of now, all Fabia diesels will be powered by the same 1.6-litre commonrail TDi engine, complete with direct injection and four valves per cylinder.
We’re testing a mid-spec Fabia SE with a range-topping 105bhp diesel engine. Cheaper 75bhp and 90bhp tunes are available, but all of them emit the same 109g/km of CO2 and according to Skoda, all are capable of the same 67.3mpg fuel economy return.
If you’ve spotted Skoda’s 2010 cosmetic revisions to the Fabia, congratulations. There’s a wider radiator grille and redesigned headlights up front, intended to inject some badly needed attitude and presence into the car’s visual character.
What’s it like?
Comfy, sensible, spacious and well turned out; everything we’ve come to expect from a Fabia, really.
Although it’s only four metres long, it’s remarkable how roomy this car feels, and how comfortable it makes you once you’re settled in. Generous leg-, shoulder- and headroom give you the impression that you’re driving a larger car, as does the prodigiously adjustable driving position.
On the move, the Fabia retains a certain consistency, solidity and precision in its primary controls that owners of both the current Fabia and the new VW Polo will recognise. Although not exactly an engaging or entertaining drive, it steers with reassuring predictability, handles with unerring stability and rides with quiet compliance: all are dynamic virtues rarely offered by a budget brand, but rarely missed by Skoda.
One thing the Czech brand hasn’t quite got to grips with yet is mechanical refinement. Given its lesser swept volume, more modern injection system and significantly lower compression ratio than the Fabia’s outgoing 1.9-litre diesel, we expected a quieter and slightly smoother performance from the Fabia’s new 1.6-litre TDi.