In all of the Volkswagen Group’s stable of mix-and-match engine and platform-sharing big-volume brands, it’s perhaps Skoda that has managed to retain the most individuality. Think Superb, Yeti and of course, Fabia.
In non-vRS form Skoda’s boxy-looking supermini carries with it an air of quirky nonchalance and no-nonsense durability. The vRS has this too, in abundance, but added to it is a 178bhp turbo and supercharged TSI engine, a seven-speed DSG gearbox, sports seats, bigger wheels and a stiffer suspension set-up. And that lot makes for one of 2010’s most entertaining and, at just £15,700, affordable new arrivals.
The vRS won’t break any speed records but for the money it’s more than quick enough and handles a treat, too. And yet it’s robust enough for everyday use, it rides remarkably well on its firm suspension and tasty-looking alloys, and if you can resist the temptation to make full use of the 1.4-litre TSI motor’s performance, it will even reward you with half-decent economy figures. In all, it’s a fantastically well-mixed balance of fun and practicality.
Some vRS aficionados bemoan the passing of the previous generation vRS and its punchy 1.9-litre diesel engine; more still don’t like the idea of the new car’s less involving and unnecessarily complicated DSG ’box. But suspend your prejudices and put your disbelief to one side because the latest Fabia vRS really is an outstanding little car that deserves to be driven, and to sell by the bucketload.