What is it?
The new and improved Skoda Fabia Greenline, which gets the 74bhp 1.2-litre, three cylinder turbodiesel motor and five-speed ‘box that is also fitted to the VW Polo Bluemotion but putting out marginally better figures than the VW at 89g/km and 83.1mpg combined.
As with all the other new generation Skoda Greenline models, the Fabia gets stop-start as standard, plus aerodynamic tweaks and an energy-saving alternator to reduce load on the engine when possible.
What’s it like?
It’s certainly not the no-compromise motoring that some may hope for. The 1.2-litre three pot needs working hard if you’re to keep up with normal fast moving traffic, and so if you actually want to get anywhere near the claimed figures you must accept that you cannot drive in a normal fashion. Refinement is also quite poor, with a lot of engine noise intruding into the cabin even under light load, and though stop-start is a worthwhile addition there’s noticeable vibration under the gruff re-start.
Despite all this the Fabia Greenline is not without merit. It’s spacious and it will be economical when driven in a realistic fashion. But to buy a car with a claimed combined economy of more than 80mpg and then achieve a real-world figure in the 50s is disappointing and for many you could actually achieve very similar results in a more powerful diesel car that wouldn’t need to be worked so hard and which doesn’t suffer the same compromises in comfort and usability.
Should I buy one?
If you live in London and are looking for a car to get you out of paying the congestion charge then this is a reasonable choice. It’s one of the cheaper options available beneath the 100g/km barrier and it’s usefully compact and easy to drive. But it is only really the central London excuse that justifies the Fabia Greenline, and even then there are others that qualify for free entry and offer better refinement.
The Fabia itself is still a practical and well-priced hatch, but if you want that teamed with the best possible economy the 104bhp 1.6 TDI is almost identically priced and would likely result in similar real-world economy (claimed figures of 109g/km and 67.3mpg) in a more flexible and usable car.