Car tested: 2011 Skoda Fabia 1.2 TDi
Price OTR Mumbai: 7,62,296/-
Skoda Auto landed on Indian soil in late 2001 and the first car to come out of their stable was the Octavia which was an instant hit. At that time, a rock solid premium car was the need of the society wherein few diesel cars patrolled the roads. That was 10 years ago and some things which haven’t changed are Skoda’s “Obsession with quality”. With time Skoda increased their portfolio and the Fabia emerged as a premium hatchback from the company. Hatchbacks sell more than any other cars in India and this is a well known fact. The so called premium hatchback segment has seen a steady increase in the number of competitors and though the Skoda Fabia has been around for a while, Skoda decided to sent it for a makeover, only to make it a better bet as far as the competition is concerned. We drive the new Skoda Fabia 1.2 TDi and judge for ourselves.
Exteriors – The new front grille stands out at the major change as far as the exteriors are concerned. This new signature grille is also seen on the new Laura and Superb. The bonnet gets sharp crisp lines which give the Skoda Fabia a more muscular look. Headlights get a redesigned shape and large fog lamps look good and are also effective at night.
From the side profile, the basic shape remains the same. 5 spoke alloy wheels are standard on the top Elegance variant.
The rear may look elongated but this contributes to a decently large boot. The Tdi badge is seen on the right hand side. Rear spoiler is integrated but rear wiper and defogger is badly missed. Skoda has re priced the Fabia, but that has come at the cost of omission of some gadgetry.
Interiors – Skoda has changed the interior scheme to a 2 tone beige and black combination. The beige is too light in shade and tends to get dirty easily. The changes seen from the outgoing model are subtle and one may not notice them too much. The seats are comfortable and the Skoda Fabia offers good seating comfort to both front and rear passengers. Interior space is abundant and even tall people will find is comfortable. Though interior quality is good, the interiors look too basic for a car of this price.
Ample storage with a double glovebox, of which the lower one is lighted.
Audio system supports Aux connectivity. No USB support. Sound quality is average.
Simple AC controls seen on the dash. The Skoda Fabia cools on no time and thanks to rear vents (under the front passenger seats) even the rear passengers don’t feel the heat.
Gear lever feels good to hold. Just in front are the cup holders and immediately behind them is the door lock/unlock switch. A rather unusual place to have it, not easily reachable.
External rear view mirrors need to be manually adjusted. Electrical adjustment not provided.
Key required to open the fuel lid, last time we did that was in our grandfathers Ambassador.
Boot space at 315 ltrs is larger than many other cars in the segment.
Build Quality – Skoda’s tagline suggests that the quality, by any standards, is not going to be a let down. The Octavia was known as a Tank in its time and the Skoda Fabia is no different. Fit and finish is good and even the plastic and seat fabric quality feels upmarket. The Fabia almost sails over potholes without transferring the jerks inside and there is no rattling whatsover.
Ride, Handling and Braking – The Fabia comes across as a heavy car to drive, which makes a great highway cruiser. Ride is comfortable and the Fabia handles well for its weight. Sharp changes in direction can sometimes get the car to oversteer but its fun to drive all the same.
The 185/60 R14 tyres grip decently and the even under heavy braking ABS and EBD keeps braking distances in check.
Performance – Skoda is a subsidiary of the VW group and as a result of this, they share few common platforms, the TDI engine being one of them. Start the Fabia and the TDI engine comes to life with a typical clatter. The 1199cc, 3 cylinder TDI engine punches out 75 BHP @ 4200 rpm and 180 NN of torque @ 2000 rpm. Turbo lag is a big put off till about 2000 rpm and then the TDI engine gets into full form. The car accelerates effortlessly but engine sound is clearly audible at higher revs. The Fabia hits 100 kmph in less than 15 seconds and easily hits a top speed of 160 but engine whine becomes more and more evident as one goes past 140. Engine refinement is good but its only the sound which can get irriatting but if you are an enthusiast then its pure music to the ear.
The instrument cluster is exactly the same as the one on the VW Polo, the only difference being the green backlight. Gearshift is slick but not as great as that of its sibling. The Fabia feels heavy to drive and as speed catches up, steering feedback reduces proportionately. The TDI engine is renowned for a performance and mileage combination and the Fabia delivered a mileage of 13 – 14 kmpl under rev limiter driving, expect about 15 – 16 kmpl (mix of both city and highway driving).
Conclusion – The Fabia oodles of quality and interior space is generous too, however the new Fabia has been down scaled to fit into a price sensitive market and ommision of essentials such as rear wiper and defogger are not pardonable but if you are looking for a spacious & quality hatch, the Fabia has to be on your list. The TDI engine is peppy and responsive and with good mileage figures, there is more than one reason to consider it.
* Ride Quality
* Peppy Engine
* Interior Space
* Built Quality
Whats Not So Cool
* Basic Interiors
* No rear wiper and defogger
* Door lock/unlock button awkwardly placed
Skoda Fabia Specifications : –
* Engine: 1199cc, 3-Cylinder TDI
* Power: 75 BHP @ 4200rpm
* Torque: 180 NM @ 2000rpm
* Transmission: 5 speed manual
* Top Speed: 164kmph
* 0-100kmph: 14.40 seconds
* Fuel Consumption: 14-15 kmpl (City), 18-19 kmpl (Highway)
* Fuel Type: Diesel
* Suspension: McPherson Suspension with lower triangular links and torsion stabiliser (Front), Compound link crank-axle (Rear)
* Tires: 185/60/14 Tubeless Radials
* Brakes: Ventilated Disc (Front), Drums ( Rear), ABS, EBD
* Safety: ABS, EBD, Dual SRS Front Airbags
Skoda Fabia Dimensions : –
* Overall length x width x height: 4000mm X 1522mm X 1642mm
* Wheelbase: 2,465mm
* Front/Rear Track: 1433/1426 mm
* Ground clearance: 158 mm
* Turning Radius – 9.8 m
* Boot Volume: 315 liters
* Fuel Tank Capacity: 45 litres
* Kerb Weight: 1152kgs