The days of Skoda being an unknown car manufacturer in India, are long gone and presently the brand of Skoda has not only become popular in India but also across the world. Skoda gained its popularity and notoriety in the Indian car industry with two of its flagship vehicles in their respective classes the Skoda Laura and Skoda Octavia. Both cars were the benchmark when it came to safety and quality in their segments. Even today both models are considered to be some of the best cars to handle the Indian roads along with their reputations of being built like tanks.
The Skoda Fabia was launched in 2008 along with another new offering from Skoda the Superb. The Superb has also become a best seller in its segment since then and Skoda has conquered the Indian market in leaps and bounds. As opposed to the other cars introduced by Skoda into the Indian market the Skoda Fabia was not an instant success in its small car segment and this was due to the fact that the segment is probably the most competitive in the country. Being Skoda’s first try at a hatchback, the Fabia did not get the desired sales and was considered the most expensive hatch at the time.
With the introduction of a number of competitive cars in the same small car segment like the Hyundai i20, VW Polo, Fiat Punto, Tata Indica, the Skoda Fabia appeared to be a rather expensive car for Indian buyers. Skoda took notice of this and decided to increase the localization level to 40 percent to bring down cost price as well as after sales service price and duration. With the introduction of the production plant at Chakan, which is used to manufacture the VW Vento, Polo and the Fabia, Skoda has taken advantage of the common platforms used by the Polo and the Fabia. The new Skoda Fabia now has the heart of the Polo and comes in 1.2 Petrol, 1.2 Diesel and 1.6 Petrol versions and is a much improved version of the one that was first introduced in 2008. Skoda Fabia test drive will be done on the 1.2 diesel as this is most likely to be the best selling model of the Fabia in the Indian market.
Engine & Performance
The New Skoda Fabia is a true all-rounder and by this I mean it ticks all the right boxes that Indian buyers are looking out for. It has very good pull from low, mid and even higher engine speeds. The Skoda Fabia comes in three engine trims the 1.2 Petrol Double overhead Camshaft which produces 75 horsepower and 110 Nm of torque, 1.2 TDi Diesel engine that produces 75 horsepower but a much better 180 Nm of torque and a 1.6 liter, 4 cylinder petrol version that generates 105 horsepower and 153 Nm of torque.
Skoda is a fully owned subsidiary of VW group and for this reason the engines employed in the Skoda are the same ones used in the Volkswagen Polo and Vento. This is also due to the fact that all three cars are manufactured at the same plant in Chakan. The performance of the 1.2 Diesel, which is our test car, is very commendable and the turbo charger is the piece de resistance in the vehicle.
Start the car and the sweet purr of the engine and smooth idling will soon make you forget that it is a 3 cylinder diesel engine under the hood. Revving the throttle allows the driver to feel the power beneath him without the unnecessary sound permeating the cabin. Shifting in to first gear is smooth and ensures the car moves forward easily with minimum of fuss neither surprising nor disappointing the driver. But hold it in gear for a couple more seconds allowing the turbo charger to kick in and feel the difference. The turbo kicks in at 1800 rpm and once the power has been delivered the Skoda Fabia does not feel like a 3 cylinder car anymore.
The TDI engine is a registered trademark of Volkswagen Group and is the engine used on all passenger cars in the Volkswagen range as well as its subsidiaries like Skoda. The TDI engine allows better engine efficiency and greater power output as it has a more complete combustion process. The engine also gives a better fuel economy, lesser emissions and provides more torque that the petrol version.
Coming back to the Fabia, the torque is delivered quickly in both second and third gears and driving in these is loads of fun, albeit keeping the turbo in the power band to gain maximum torque. Keeping the car in the optimum turbo band makes the Fabia feel like a quick, zippy racer. The gear ratios are also well balanced and very precise giving you the feel of driving a much bigger car.
Interiors & Exteriors
The new Skoda Fabia does not have major changes in the styling and design over the old model but those subtle changes that have been made give the car a better more desirable character. The front fascia gets the most improvements and now features a grille that is common on both the Superb and Laura and the hood gets some sleek lines and crisp creases to better define it. The Skoda badge embedded in the grille further accentuates the Fabia as a mini Laura / Superb adding to its mature looks. The front also incorporates a new headlight design that curves around the sides of the bonnet and slopes slightly upwards.
The front fender is larger as well and also houses the newly quad shaped fog lamps which again remind of the Superb. Thankfully the small round fog lamps from the old Fabia have been binned and the larger, chunkier, clearer headlights and fog lights also give the Fabia a more mature impression. Looking at the Fabia from the side profile one would be forgiven for not noticing the new model as there are no changes to the roofline or C-pillar and even the exterior door trim remains the same. The rear of the Fabia follows the same styling as the older model with no major changes except for the slightly broader taillights.
New Skoda Fabia in India got appreciated in India for its interior space and looks and the new Fabia again exceeds expectations. Once inside you are greeted with the familiar two-tone look which provides a good contrast and this is made up of a soft rubber material on the top of the dashboard and a harder more durable plastic at the bottom. The Steering wheel is a large 4 spoke and fits in with the Skoda family feel and has a rake and reach adjustment feature. The instrumentation cluster is exactly like the VW Polo’s save for the color of the backlight.
Front cabin space is best in its class and the seats provide ample cushioning and support for both occupants. The front also has dual airbags that provide all the safety for the front occupants along with ergonomically placed knobs and dials. The dashboard at the passengers’ side is divided into two with a one glove box in the upper part of the dash and one glove box in the lower part. The twin glove box is very handy and allows for storage of larger stuff like the car manuals as well as smaller stuff like mobile phone, sunglasses, etc. There is also storage space in the door handles as well as in the centre console between the seats for soda cans, etc.
The rear cabin of the Skoda Fabia is also a best in its class and offers ample legroom as well as headroom. The rear seats also offer sufficient support and are well contoured to restrict movement while driving. The boot of the Skoda Fabia is also large and provides 315 liters of space with more generated by folding down the rear seats. The boot lid has a specially designed handle that is inconspicuously placed behind the logo and offers a good position even for those not gifted with lots of height.
The all New Skoda Fabia does well to compete in the ultra competitive small call segment in India. Skoda has taken into account the requirements of buyers as well as the fact that other competitors are better priced offering more amenities and has done something about it. This shows that Skoda considers the Indian market to be very important and it shows with consumers giving the Skoda brand the recognition it deserves.
The Skoda Fabia 1.2 Diesel is a powerful, safe and reliable vehicle with good design and styling. The TDI engine is very efficient being sourced from Volkswagen’s stable and offers maximum performance combined with great fuel efficiency. The interiors are very spacious and are well designed keeping in mind driver and passenger requirements and the Skoda Fabia now has the best head and leg room in its class. The best feature of the Fabia is now its Price and it is available from a starting price of around 6 lakhs and should be very enticing at that price. Giving a fuel economy of 15 kmpl in the city and 18.5 kmpl on the highway Skoda seems to have got things right this time with its hatch offering.
Skoda Fabia 1.2 Diesel Specifications
Vehicle Category: Small car
Engines (diesel): 1.2 L, 3-cyl, TDI, 75 HP, 185 Nm torque
Drive train: Front engine, 5 passenger, 4-door hatch, FWD
Transmissions (standard): 5-speed manual
0-100 kph: 11.9 sec (est.)
Mileage city/hwy (diesel): 15 / 18.5 kmpl
New Skoda Fabia Price: Rs.5.5 – 6.5 lakhs (est.)