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
If you were to sum up the Skoda Fabia in one word, it would probably be ‘sensible’. The Fabia offers a combination of decent build quality, practicality and reasonable prices.
But now there’s the Fabia Sport which, with a standard 75bhp/93lb ft 1.4-litre petrol engine, no chassis tweaks and trim modifications as difficult to spot as a stealth bomber on a radar screen, is less sensible and more senseless.
It’s no fireball: rev the engine to the raucous 5000rpm power peak and you can get from 0-62mph in a yawning 13.2sec. At least the five-speed gearbox is pleasantly snappy and the steering accurate, and grip from the 195/50 Bridgestone Turanza tyres is better than the sloppy body control might have you believe. Still, it’s about as sporting as watching darts.
Outside the Sport is near indistinguishable from a standard Fabia: you get a spoiler, a chrome exhaust and a Sport badge on the boot, five-spoke 15in alloys and front fog lights. Inside are sports seats and a steering wheel, gearlever and handbrake wrapped in leather. Curiously there’s no central locking and no electric windows, but you do get air-conditioning and not only a CD tuner, but also a six-CD changer (without rear speakers).
With group four insurance, 43.5mpg, a list price of £9760 and more kit than the £9930 Classic model, at least the Sport makes sense financially. In calling it the Sport, however, Skoda has created expectations the car can’t meet. Still, it sounds more tempting than a Fabia Sensible.