Fabulous Fabia

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By Nick Jones

The last version of the Fabia vRS I drove was a diesel, its power coming from a 1.9-litre unit that not only saw the performance reach dizzy heights but was fuel efficient too.

It would be reasonable to expect this latest iteration to follow in the footsteps of its predecessor.

But it’s a very different animal.

Its power comes from a 1.4-litre petrol engine – but because it’s both supercharged and turbocharged it has epic performance.

Not only do you get the whine from the supercharger low down in the revs, you also get top-end boost, resulting in a very entertaining car indeed.

As the Fabia is a relatively small car, producing nearly 180bhp its akin to strapping an engine to your pushbike.

Modern-day turbos take a while to reach boost and get into their stride, so that’s why a supercharger has been added to give it low-down grunt and torque.

The car, as a result, has greater flexibility and is therefore a civilised car as power is delivered right across the rev range.

The figures speak for themselves, it can hit 140mph, with 60mph attained (thanks to the standard and brilliant DSG gearbox with paddle shift) in just 7.3 seconds.

Despite the performance, the economy is good and you can expect fuel returns above the 45mph mark. Emissions are 178g.km.

Harnessing all that power at the front end - and not forgetting the Fabia isn’t exactly heavy - is Skoda’s electronic differentia,l which uses the car’s stability control to mimic the need for a slip differential to achieve greater control under hard acceleration.

In the handling department, the chassis is supple enough for you to enjoy the journey, yet firm enough to let you,if you want, to open the taps and have a spirited run.

As I mentioned, the vRS has the masterful DSG twin-clutch automatic gearbox as standard, with paddles should you want to maximise the revs and the experience – but for me, simply shift it into drive and let it do the work for you; it’s as quick at changing gear as any automatic on the planet.

Visually, the Fabia vRS is available in myriad colours, some good, some bright – or a combination of both!

New bumpers extend downwards, allowing the Fabia to take a more sporty stance and I do like the standard 17in alloy wheels with nifty painted callipers.

At the back there is a spoiler across the rear screen, twin exhausts and an integrated diffuser in the rear assembly.

On the inside things have moved on too.

It has a sports feel to it, with a smart, chunky steering wheel and grippy seats, and is rather business-like with its modern use of dark materials and plastics to further tune the car into its purpose.

I do like the drilled pedals in the foot well and, once aboard and seated, I can see it will hold four adults quite comfortably, with bags of space in terms of head and leg room.

At first glimpse you may believe it’s a three-door but you’d be wrong – it’s a five door and is even available as an estate.

It costs £16,415 for the five-door version, with the estate adding a further £880 for a massive 1,500 litres of boot space.

All in all, a great car.