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Skoda Fabia vRS review

We try Skodas new Fabia vRS hot hatch, with a turbo- and supercharged engine and DSG gearbox

Evo rating
Price
from £15,500
  • Clever, well priced and well made
  • Steering and styling both a bit dull

What is it?The replacement for the original diesel-engined Fabia vRS, although this one is no oil-burner. Instead it’s fitted with a 1.4-litre turbo-charged and supercharged petrol unit, which delivers 178bhp and makes it the most powerful and fastest Fabia ever.

Technical highlightsThe TSI engine has been around for a while now powering a variety of VWs and SEATs, but it’s a clever piece of kit. The supercharger gets you up and running giving the small engine plenty of low-down punch. At 2400rpm the turbo comes on-line and overlaps on the workload until 3500rpm, where it takes over entirely. It’s all very clever and it still achieves a combined fuel figure 45.6mpg. The vRS is also fitted with a seven-speed DSG gearbox as standard.

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What’s it like to drive?The engine is remarkably smooth, right across the range and it’s virtually impossible to tell when the charger swap-over takes place - the DSG ‘box keeps everything nicely on the boil too. It rides well, despite a firm set up and it has plenty of grip, however it lacks the chuckability of the very best in its class and the steering doesn’t offer quite the level of detailed interaction that you hope for. That said, it does cover the ground very quickly and if you’re the type of person who drives at eight-tenths rather than flat out, then there’s lots to like. How does it compare?If you are coming from a Renaultsport background you will probably be a little disappointed, but if your starting point was a Citroen DS3 then you’d be quite pleased by the dynamics as the vRS falls neatly between the French pair. You won’t have quite the styling range of the DS3 to play with, but you can have a contrasting roof and the LED lights and 17in ‘Gigaro’ alloys are standard.

Anything else I need to know?In the typical Skoda mode it’s good value for money, prices start at £15,500 and if you need more space and have another 800 quid burning a hole in your pocket then you can have an estate version. This is actually lighter, more aerodynamic and 1mph faster than the hatch…

Specifications

EngineIn-line 4-cyl, 1390cc, supercharged and turbocharged
Max power178bhp @ 6200rpm
Max torque184lb ft @ 2000-4500rpm
0-607.3sec
Top speed139mph
On saleNow, £15,500
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