The Skoda Fabia was the car that initiated the premium hatchback category in the Indian market. When launched at the 2008 Auto Expo, it received a lot of criticism for its high sticker price.However, the upgraded version came as the 2nd innings that saw reduction of sticker price to the tune of Rs 67,000 and Rs 1.1 lakh for the petrol and diesel variants respectively - additional discounts continue from the dealer side, making the Fabia a very good value buy.
Skoda has made full use of the small car norms laid out by the government wherein if a car is equal to or less than 4 metres in lenght, then it qualifies for tax liberties. The Fabia is exactly 4000mm long and with a width of 1642mm, it does look big by hatchback standards. The upgrade that the car got has made it look even better from the outside. Ofcourse the Fabia continues to carry a very European look and the recent changes, though minor, have only helped it improve on the aesthetic front. The design theme on this mini has been always been about robust and dynamic looks and now, the well defined creases along the bumper with wide air-dam and bigger fog lamps add to the sporty touch. The Fabia Scout is a more rugged looking Fabia!
Most of the owners of either of these cars will be spending a lot of time on the inside and this is where the Fabia has a clear edge over most of the other offerings at this price point. The first impression you get when you get into the car is that of space, space and more space! The fascia follows a two-tone color treatment that is pleasing to the eyes. The quality of plastics and other materials used in the car is good and ergonimics spot on. The four spoke steering looks nice and so does the speedometer console which also has the driver information display.
The Fabis still has a manually controlled air-con system unlike some of the other hatchbacks though the audio system has good sound quality.
The Fabia now comes powered by the same engines seen on the Polo – two petrols and one diesel. The 1.2-litre diesel, to start with, surprisingly feels better than what it did in the Polo. The gear ratios are similar to the Polo’s and the turbo lag is present but the car feels a tad better to respond in city traffic. Skoda has worked hard on improving the NVH levels and it shows. Diesel clatter is well controlled and vibrations don’t creep into the cabin easily. The engine is quite frugal and don’t be surprised to see the car go over 16km to a litre in city traffic easily. The 1.2-litre petrol is a decent performer. For the enthusiast, the 105Bhp 1.6-litre engine seems to be the best choice. It is remarkably responsive without burning a hole in the pocket.
The Fabia turns out be very good as far as suspension goes. It can be driven over all kind of undulations at various speeds without throwing the passengers around. Ride with one person on board over sharp bumps is slightly bad but drive the Fabia with 2 or more people at good speeds and it behaves like a big family sedan! The kind of stability that the Fabia provides due to its long wheelbase is remarkable as well. Further, the steering is super ligh for city driving and a boon for crawling traffic.
The Skoda Fabia range now starts at Rs 4.43 lakh to 8.10 lakh for the top diesel and dealers do offer discounts and schemes on all trim levels, making the Fabia a hell of a buy in this segment. Both the 1.2 petrol and 1.2 diesel engines are available in three trim levels while the 1.6 is sold only in the top end version. The Fabia, as discussed offers a lot to a prospective owner in this segment - it looks great, has spacious and comfortable interiors while the engines perform well too. Most importantly, the Fabia gives you a big car feel and a sense of security which has always been the case with Skoda cars.