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After driving the brand new Fabia in sunny Portugal, I made a decision to check out Skoda’s newest supermini to search out out what’s good and what’s not…

Skoda - 10 Things I Love And Hate About The 2014 Skoda Fabia - Blog

A brand new Skoda Fabia is right here, and it’s had way more than only a thorough exterior makeover. It’s now lighter, has an extended wheelbase and is wider, whereas the underpinnings are a mixture of a heavily-revised model of the previous automotive’s platform whereas incorporating bits of VW Group’s intelligent new MQB structure. However does all this add as much as a good automotive? Time to search out out…

1. It’s higher to drive than you may count on

Skoda - 10 Things I Love And Hate About The 2014 Skoda Fabia - Blog

When hurling the little Fabia down a critically twisty stretch of Portuguese highway on the automotive’s launch in Lisbon – stuffed with difficult bends and camber adjustments – the 74bhp, 1.0-litre three-pot model of the automotive was critically entertaining. Positive, low-powered, small hatchbacks are sometimes enjoyable to thrash the dwelling daylights out of, nevertheless it’s not a given; simply have a look at automobiles just like the wallowy Toyota Yaris. The steering doesn’t provide you with a lot of an concept as to what the entrance tyres are doing, nevertheless it’s fast sufficient and has a pleasant quantity of weight to it, whereas the chassis affords respectable grip and tidy physique management.

2. There’ll be no sizzling vRS model

What a Fabia vRS might have looked like

What a Fabia vRS may need appeared like

The truth that the brand new Fabia has commendable dealing with charactaristics is – in a means – a little bit of a disgrace, as there’ll be no sizzling vRS model this time to profit from the chassis. Boo. Based on Skoda, the upper operating prices meant the previous vRS simply didn’t promote effectively sufficient to justify a brand new one, however we reckon giving the brand new VW Polo GTI a bit respiratory room additionally has one thing to do with this choice.

3. It seems good-looking

Skoda - 10 Things I Love And Hate About The 2014 Skoda Fabia - Blog

The Fabia’s design is perhaps a bit too conservative, nevertheless it’s effectively proportioned with plenty of properly sharp strains. Spec the appropriate color – Race Blue seems quite dapper, as an illustration – and also you’ll have a horny automotive that’s an enormous step up from the weirdly tall, barely goofy-looking outgoing mannequin. You’ll be able to see the household resemblence to the larger Octavia, and that’s no dangerous factor.

4. The tiny entrance armrest is completely pointless

Skoda - 10 Things I Love And Hate About The 2014 Skoda Fabia - Blog

In a automotive as small because the Fabia, why is there an armrest between the entrance two seats? It’s so tiny that it’s just about ineffective; the very first thing I did when getting within the automotive was to fold it up and out of the way in which.

5. It’s brilliantly comfy

Skoda - 10 Things I Love And Hate About The 2014 Skoda Fabia - Blog

Like Britain, Portugal doesn’t precisely have the smoothest roads, so it’s a very good place to search out out whether or not a automotive’s suspension will sooth your senses or shatter your backbone. Within the Fabia, it’s the previous. It rides extremely easily and competently for a small automotive, the seats are exceptionally comfy and supportive of 1’s derrière, and there’s a loads of room inside.

6. The engine begin button must be repositioned

Skoda - 10 Things I Love And Hate About The 2014 Skoda Fabia - Blog

In the event you purchase a Fabia with keyless begin, the ignition button isn’t on the sprint the place you’d count on. As a substitute, it’s been stuffed the place the ignition key would usually go, on the steering column. It seems bizarre, and in the event you’ve splashed out on a fancy starter button, certainly you need your passengers to see it, proper…?

7. The engines are spectacular

Skoda - 10 Things I Love And Hate About The 2014 Skoda Fabia - Blog

We tried two engines on the Fabia’s launch, a 1.0-litre, naturally-aspirated three-pot with 74bhp, and an 89bhp turbocharged 1.2-litre TSI four-pot. The 1.0-litre is greater than as much as the duty of pootling round city, however begs to be ragged. It makes a pleasantly fizzy sound, too. On the motorway and something remotely resembling a hill although it begins to wrestle, so that you’re finest off avoiding the third, cheaper 59bhp engine.

We didn’t get an opportunity to attempt the 108bhp model of the 1.2-litre TSI, however the 89bhp lump offers sufficient poke for many conditions, doesn’t should be labored too arduous, and is pleasantly easy. It’ll do 0-62mph in 10.9 seconds, and has a mixed financial system determine of 60.1mpg, with emissions of 107g/km. There’s a extra frugal 1.4-litre TDI oil-burner in two totally different ranges of tune, nevertheless it ain’t low-cost – probably the most inexpensive is £14,090 within the base ‘S’ trim.

8. A number of the inside plastics are horrible

Skoda - 10 Things I Love And Hate About The 2014 Skoda Fabia - Blog

Oh pricey. Skoda has designed a effectively laid-out, uncluttered sprint, and garnished it with a load of horrid plastics. The higher and decrease elements are comprised of this nasty stuff which has an awfully scratchy really feel. It’s all effectively screwed-together, at the very least.

9. The gas filler flap has an ice scraper on it

Skoda - 10 Things I Love And Hate About The 2014 Skoda Fabia - Blog

A jolly helpful concept, don’t you suppose? It’s certainly one of Skoda’s ‘Merely Intelligent’ additions, and whereas most of them aren’t so fascinating, this – together with the little storage nets on the within edges of the entrance seats (excellent for telephones) and the boot tidy ring that stops gadgets being lobbed round while you’re driving like a hooligan – are helpful little options.

10. The cell phone connectivity is fiddly and temperamental

Skoda - 10 Things I Love And Hate About The 2014 Skoda Fabia - Blog

Only one per cent of consumers optioned a correct navigation system within the earlier era Fabia, so this time round you may’t have one in any respect. As a substitute you should use a system referred to as MirrorLink – a cellphone/automotive integration system developed by a cluster of tech firms and automotive makers – to show your good cellphone’s navigation system and different apps on the Fabia’s display. Sadly, an app must be licensed earlier than it might probably work, which meant we had been pressured to make use of a quite garbage licensed nav app referred to as ‘Sygic,’ which appears to provide directions on the final second (normally when it’s too late). And it makes use of an infuriatingly chirpy American voice which calls roundabouts ‘visitors circles.’ Sure, actually.

The entire MirrorLink system is especially fiddly, and several other instances the app show disappeared from the infotainment display and appeared again on the cellphone display. It’s a bit unfair to harshly decide it simply but – Skoda did admit there are bugs to be ironed out – nonetheless, it’s worrying that not all telephones will work with it. Solely Symbian and Android telephones are suitable, and whereas MirrorLink representatives we spoke to appeared assured that it’ll be iOS suitable finally, nothing’s particular.

So, what’s my conclusion?

Skoda - 10 Things I Love And Hate About The 2014 Skoda Fabia - Blog

As you’ve most likely gathered, I’m actually having to nitpick in terms of discovering issues to dislike in regards to the Fabia, MirrorLink worries apart. It’s a really well-sorted package deal that’ll tick most individuals’s packing containers, and as a bonus, it’s extra enjoyable to drive than you may count on. Skoda is extra up-market lately so it’s not massively low-cost: our mannequin of alternative – the 89bhp 1.2 TSI SE – will set you again £13,390. A Ford Fiesta can be cheaper and sharper to drive, and the shock contender that’s the new Vauxhall Corsa is a tempting various.

However, if you would like practicality and luxury in a effectively thought-out, good-looking package deal, you may’t go flawed with the brand new Fabia.

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