Business Today


Apologies for murdering the language, but we liked the Skoda Fabia.

Kushan Mitra | Print Edition: February 10, 2008

The new Fabia from Skoda has a pointlessly silly ad featuring way too much colour and too many pretty girls. It is as if someone went mad at the modelling agency.

That’s a pity, since the Skoda Fabia is a really good car. Starting with the experience when you get into the car (we had the top-of-the-line “Elegance” trim with an electric sunroof, ABS, dual front airbags, reversing sensor and other toys), this car is solid and extremely well-appointed.

Skoda describes the Fabia as a premium hatchback, but no other hatchback has similar interior appointments. In fact, some far bigger and more expensive cars are not half as good.

Skoda Fabia

Click here for the photo gallery on Skoda Fabia

Price (as tested) : Rs 8.49 lakh (on-road Delhi)

Engine: 1422cc 3-cylinder Diesel, 69 horsepower

Top speed: 170 kmph 0-100KMPH : Under 15 secs

More importantly, like its bigger brothers, even the Fabia felt extremely well-built—everything from the solidness of the sheet metal to the satisfying noise you get from tapping the plastic trim. No other hatchback in India has such pleasant seats.

You might think we have lost the plot, praising the seats to high heaven, but on a long drive, good seats can make a world of difference, and with good side support seats like on the Fabia, you can drive quite a distance.

The only downside: the seat recline adjuster is a rotary one and is not really easy to reach.

But let’s get back to the point. We were driving the Fabia with the 1422cc diesel engine under the hood, which produces 69 horsepower.

The engine is not as refined and quiet as the diesel on the Suzuki Swift, and does not have the impressive power of the diesel on the Hyundai Getz. This engine gets the job done and it is a comfortable cruiser.

This is something that is helped by the superb ride quality of the car. If you get to a winding stretch of tarmac, the car behaves dutifully. And even though this “Elegance” version costs Rs 8.49 lakh, more than the base Honda City and Maruti SX4, somehow it makes far more sense to buy this one.

The car is also available in the base ‘Active’ trim (sans fancy gadgetry) for Rs 6.65 lakh and in two trim levels— Classic and Ambiente. A 1.2 litre petrol engine is expected soon, which will kick off at Rs 5.56 lakh for the base “Active” trim.

It’s really well built and more importantly, a small car. With a million Tata Nanos going to be on the roads by 2010, you don’t want a big car you cannot park anywhere, do you?

For: Young families and “second car in the family” buyers.

Not for: Boy racers and those who want a boot for prestige value.

Note: All prices on-road Delhi

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