Review: Skoda Fabia vRS Estate Is A Surprising Package

Now here is a surprise package. The Fabia vRS looks like a modest estate but goes like a hot hatch! We used to call them ‘Q cars’.

At the heart of its appeal lies a ‘twin-charged’ 1.4-litre petrol engine producing no less that 180bhp. That puts it up there with the best of the hotties. Using both a supercharger and a turbocharger this little engine performs out of its skin.

The supercharger gives the initial surge and switches seamlessly to the turbo at higher revs. The effect is smooth and almost effortless as the beef is spread out across the range. We are talking about 0-62mph in 7.3 seconds and a 139mph top speed – amazing for such a small engine.

Enthusiasts will gripe at the lack of a manual gearbox but the standard seven-speed DSG system moves up to the mark. It comes with steering wheel paddles to let the driver control the ratios. Or it does a brilliant job just left to its own devices.

This is another auto box that is winning me over from manual. The gear changes are swift and smooth. They say this box can do it quicker than a human and I would not dispute it.

You never seem short of power. The car really shoots off on the supercharger if you are heavy footed (Watch it!). You can rev to the limit in each gear or let the techno take over to exploit the buckets of torque.

This is an efficient combination to boot with 45mpg on the Combined Cycle and 148g/km emissions so it should not break the bank on running costs.

The figures alone do not do justice to the swiftness and serenity of the driving process. The Fabia is very tight on the corners and seems to have bags of grip before the traction control light glows. Big wheels and low tyres help with the handling though they transmit a bit too much road noise on bad surfaces.

So it is not perfect but what performance car is. The other side of the coin is that you have the space and versatility of a small hatch as well as the dynamic performance.

Okay, the interior finish is a bit low rent compared with some posher badges but there is a lot of kit there for the money. And I suppose that is the bottom line.

A Fabia vRS will cost you £15,700 in hatchback and £16,495 in estate form which is pretty good value for the performance and engineering…


ENGINE – 1.4-litre twin-charged petrol unit turning out 180bhp
PERFORMANCE – 0-62 mph in 7.3 seconds. 139mph top speed
ECONOMY – 45.6mph on Combined Cycle
EMISSIONS – 148g/km
TAX – £125
PRICE – £16,495


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  • Nice review.

    I wondered how the new vRS would go down, but it seems the twin-charged petrol engine is gaining praise everywhere

    The Mk1 oil-burning vRS had a cult following among those that saw past the badge. Remapping and changing the induction setup could see 200bhp.

    I can’t help feeling that the Fabia should sit lower, it looks too tall even in vRS form.

    I really wanted to like the Fabia when we looked at it last year. The dash is just soooooo dull and uninspiring. I know Skoda are meant to be the value VAG brand, but that doesn’t mean it has to look or feel like it inside. Take a look at the Fiesta etc for a half decent interior. Gone are the days that the supermini could get away with an economy interior. People expect them to be mini replicas of models higher up the range.