What is it?
It’s the estate version of Skoda’s engaging, entertaining and great value vRS hatchback. This is the first time Skoda has put the vRS badge on its compact estate; it shares nearly everything with the hatchback, most notably the 1.4-litre 178bhp turbo and supercharged TS engine and seven-speed DSG gearbox with wheel-mounted paddle shifters. As with the hatchback there’s no manual gearbox option.
What’s it like?
Like the vRS hatchback, it’s great fun. The 178bhp TSI engine is powerful, flexible and rewarding to use. Drive the estate back-to-back with the hatch and you’d be hard pushed to tell the difference between the two.
Like the hatch, the estate is fast, nimble and rides exceptionally well despite its sport-oriented suspension. It also benefits from an impressive load bay, with a 480-litre boot expanding to 1460 litres with the rear seats folded flat. That’s more space than in a 3-series Touring.
Surprisingly, practicalities of its load-carrying abilities aside, the estate scores over the hatch in pure performance terms, too. Improved aerodynamics thanks to a longer roofline mean it’s faster, with a 140mph top speed to the hatch’s pedestrian 139mph.
More confusingly the estate is also 5kg lighter. Skoda says the hatch has 25kg of ballast around its rear axle to optimise weight distribution; the estate, which carries more weight higher up at the rear, doesn’t need the added mass.
Should I buy one?
The Fabia vRS estate is a niche within a niche, and even Skoda UK isn’t expecting to sell many in the UK. But if you had your eye on the vRS hatch but wanted something with a useful amount of extra load capacity, then the £800 premium could be money well spent.
As entertaining to drive as it is, however, we’re not sure who else might be in the market for a boxy, quirky-looking, 178bhp, 140mph wagon. That said, if you want something practical that’s also fun, fast and above all different, then this vRS estate scores highly on all counts.