Fleet News

Skoda Fabia vRS



An astonishing about-turn has taken place among my 19-year-old son and his pals since the days they told me a classmate was being bullied because his dad drove a Skoda.

They weren’t particularly sympathetic at the time, as they seemed to think anyone with such a parent was destined to a life of woe anyway.

So it was an apprehensive moment as I picked them up in the Fabia after a night out. Would they laugh out loud or even refuse to get in?

Not a bit of it – they knew all about the sporty hot-hatch and its credentials and proclaimed themselves ‘well impressed’ by its looks and performance.

The Skoda spin doctors must really have worked their magic well. As a confirmed despiser of ‘label junkies’ who feel the need to flash their wealth or coolness for all to see – and one who takes a perverse pleasure at cocking a snook at any neighbourhood snobs – I was always going to delight in having a Skoda on the driveway.

But for the alpha-males in the family to declare themselves unconcerned at what in the not- too-dim-and-distant past would have been construed as a major motoring faux pas, something radical must have occurred in the public psyche.

The advantage of having to get up early to take the afore-mentioned student son to his agricultural holiday job on my way to work is that the varied commute gives the Skoda a daily workout covering everything from rough farmtrack to fast and busy motorway.

Of course, it takes that lot in its stride – the only problem being to keep an eye on the speedometer, which has a nasty habit of running away with itself.

Remember the old tiger-in-your-tank Esso ad? I’m sure that tiger is hiding in the tank of this little hatch. Such is the power and acceleration of its 1.9-litre engine, which produces 130bhp and 229lb-ft of torque, that it’s just too easy to exceed the speed limit.

That may also have something to do with my poor-ish fuel economy, though I think heavy use of the air-conditioning in the current hot weather is a factor too. Previous tester Adele Burton was concerned that she was achieving only 44mpg, which she said gave a range of 450 miles on a tank of diesel.

Well, I’m only managing 41mpg and getting well under 400 miles to a tankful, which I can’t understand as I certainly don’t have a heavy right foot.

Price: £12,375 (£14,250 as tested)
Mileage: 3,927
CO2 emissions (g/km): 146
Company car tax bill (2006): 22% tax-payer: £43 per month
Insurance group: 9
Combined mpg: 52.4
Test mpg: 40.8
CAP Monitor RV: £4,775/39%
Contract hire rate: £262
Figures based on three years/60,000 miles

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.

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