Škoda Fabia

The Skoda Fabia I drove in Qatar
The Skoda Fabia I drove in Qatar

Another different review week this week – older cars that I drove many years ago. First in line, the 2014 Škoda Fabia.

When based in Qatar, one weekend I rented a car and was given a 2014 Fabia – the last year before a new version of the car was released in 2015. This Fabia I had was powered by a 1.6l engine making 103hp (77kW) and 113lb-ft (153 Nm) of torque. This was mated to a 6-speed automatic gearbox. The Fabia’s 0-60 time is around 11.1s and has a top speed of 115mph (185km/h).

Before I start in detail, a caveat. With these older reviews, I drove the car a long time ago (in this case, 3 years), often not for all that long, so there will be much less detail than my recent reviews.

So, the bad:

The car is underpowered. 105bhp is not very much, and it’s noticeably not very much. The car accelerates slowly (a 0-60 time of 11s is almost unheard of in 2017, and feels sluggish) but it does get there.

Fuel economy isn’t great – because of that 1.6l engine, fuel economy is not particularly good. By 2014, Škoda had actually addressed this and most Fabias came instead with a 1.2l turbocharged engine, making the same power but with better economy and much lower emissions. However, the car I had with the 1.6 didn’t experience these benefits.

Manual shifting was laggy – if the car was in manual, it was possible to shift gears yourself rather than let the car do it. However, the car I had used a 6-speed auto ‘box, not the 7-speed DSG that replaced it. This was laggy when manually shifting, so I just let it do its own thing.

The good:

The car was remarkably nice to drive. The 6-speed gearbox shifted nicely in D, and could be put in S to eke more out of the rev range. The car handled very well and was planted in corners – the fact it didn’t make much power meant the power it did make could be used to its full potential, which was a lot of fun.

Practicality was good – comfortable seats, a decent amount of space for the rear passengers and a good-sized boot.

Equipment was not bad for the age – the replacement model in 2015 had many more techy things included but the outgoing model wasn’t especially bad for its place in the market.

+ Driving more fun than expected

+ Practicality

+ Equipment level

– Underpowered

– Fuel economy

In summary – from what I recall of driving the Fabia, I remember enjoying it. It was a nice place to be, and it drove well. The swansong of the mk2, my particular car was equipped with the worst engine and gearbox and still was fun, so a 1.2l with either a manual or the DSG would improve my view considerably.

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