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Should you buy Skoda Fabia 1.6? Check out

Last updated on: October 26, 2010 08:59 IST

Should you buy Skoda Fabia 1.6? Check out

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Skoda had showcased its Fabia at the 2008 Auto Expo held in New Delhi and the Czech automaker went on to launch the hatchback in India later that year.

The Skoda Fabia, back then was the most expensive hatchback. Faced by stiff competition, Skoda had to drop the prices of the Fabia starting last year. Has Skoda succeeded in doing so in its new Fabia? Dig deeper to get your answers.

The new Skoda Fabia has undergone a few changes on the exterior front. The Skoda Fabia's front end gets the new age Skoda front grille and hood, as seen on all the new cars from the stable.

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The new fascia of the Fabia looks more grown-up and well-chiseled than the outgoing model.

The new head lamp design is sharper and blends with the new front grille. The old circular fog lamps have now been replaced by larger fogs a typical of new age Skoda design.

Apart from this, the Fabia hasn't undergone any changes on the outside. The new Fabia still retains the floating roof design and Skoda's characteristic C-shaped translucent tail lamp design.

From the rear, there is no visual differentiator between the old and the new Fabia.

Earlier, the Fabia was assembled in Skoda's Aurangabad plant along with its other Skoda siblings.

The assembly was shifted to Volkswagen's Chakan plant since August 2009. Here it gets assembled along with its distinct cousin and direct competition, the Volkswagen Polo.

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Image: The instrument cluster.

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The inside of the new Fabia is also similar to that of any new Skoda.

The new Fabia gets Skoda's new four-spoke steering wheel (we missed the chrome strip that comes on the steering wheel of other Skodas!) and the black and beige roomy interiors.

The Fabia gets in-dash 'Beat' mp3 system that plays music through two front speakers and tweeters, and even the Elegance trim doesn't get rear speakers.

Skoda cars have always been very spacious and practical and the Fabia is no different.

The seats of the Fabia are very comfy and there is enough space to seat five-large adults.

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Image: The interior view.

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The boot of the Fabia can swallow upto 315 litres of luggage without the seats flipped down and 1180 litres once the seats are flipped.

The parcel tray can be moved down, so the passengers have access to the boot without the trouble stepping out.

Skoda cars have always maintained the great German build quality - the doors do actually shut with a thunk and once you're inside you really are isolated from the rest of the world.

But this time with increase in the local content on the new Fabia, Skoda has to raise its game on some quality bits, specially the interiors.

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Image: The engine.

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To our dismay, a lot of features have gone missing on the new Fabia which include rear-glass wiper and defogger, electrically adjustable mirrors and instead of 60:40 rear seat split it's a complete flip down.

The old Fabia had three-point seatbelts for all the rear passengers and now the middle passenger gets a two-point lap seatbelt.

The Classic trim now doesn't get power windows, in-dash music system and gets only one airbag. The Ambiente variant now doesn't have alloy wheels, ABS, rear power windows and again no music system.

The new Skoda Fabia gets new engines from the Volkswagen stable - 1.2-litre and the 1.6-litre petrol and the 1.2-litre common rail diesel.

These same engines are being offered on the Volkswagen Polo as well.

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Image: The head lamp.

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Being a part of the same group and sharing the assembly line with the Polo, Skoda has plonked the Fabia with same engines to reduce the investment cost.

We have so far driven the 1.6-litre petrol and the review of the other two engines will follow soon.

With Indian automotive manufacturers, aiming to design engines with cubic capacity of less than 1200cc to get the duty cut, Skoda claims to have added the 1.6-litre is an option for the enthusiast crowd.

The Skoda Fabia gets a 1.6-litre, 16-valve DOHC four cylinder engine that develops 105bhp of power at 5250rpm and 153Nm of maximum torque at 3800rpm.

This is the same engine which does duty on the Volkswagen Vento and the Polo.

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Even though the punch comes in at a higher rpm, the engine has enough grunt to pull cleanly at lower revs.

In our acceleration run, the Fabia completed the 0-100kph run in 12.7 seconds and did a quarter mile in 18.6 seconds.

The five-speed manual gear box meshed to the 1.6-litre provides sufficient torque even when it is lugged in a higher cog.

In our in-gear test, the Fabia clocked the 30-50kph run in 5.0 seconds in the third gear and 8.3 seconds in the fourth; the Fabia took 12.1 seconds to clock the 50-70kph run in the fifth gear.

Most of the hot hatches have failed in India due to poor fuel efficiency.

This probably could have forced Volkswagen to tweak this 1.6-litre petrol engine for better fuel economy without affecting much of the performance.

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Image: The boot.

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The Fabia 1.6 returned us a fuel efficiency of 14.77kpl on a mix of city and highway driving, and a worst figure of 9.53kpl during our performance test, which is all pedal-to-metal driving.

We got the best figure of 19.32kpl which is good for a petrol engine of this size, giving us an overall figure of 13kpl.

We have always been fond of the ride and handling ability of all the Skoda cars, and the Fabia is no exception.

The new Fabia's under-pinnings remain unchanged and it still sports struts at its front and compound link crank axle at its rear.

The ride on the new Fabia is highly composed at almost all speeds and the hatch is quiet a handler.

To our dismay, the new Fabia gets electric steering system rather than the older electro-hydraulic power steering which inspired confidence.

Even though the electric steering makes the steering wheel lighter; it weighs up vaguely as the speed increases.

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Image: The tail lamp.

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Skoda is increasing the local content on the Fabia to bring down the cost of production, and so now the Fabias come shod with Apollo Acelere rather than the Matador Elite which came with the outgoing model.

The tyre size (185/60R14) remains the same and the Acelere grip fairly with moderate tread noise on concrete roads.

The brakes on the Fabia are sharp and the figures speak for themselves. In our brake test, the Fabia covered 28.9 metres before coming to a complete standstill from a speed of 80kph.

Skoda has been working on to bring down the cost of the Fabia and the new Fabia 1.6 Elegance (the top-level trim) costs Rs 610,000 (ex-showroom, Mumbai).

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Skoda has succeeded in reducing the prices of the Fabia, but the question remains will a person opting for a hatchback in this price range be happy to not have some basic features which go missing in the new Fabia?

As Skoda claims it's a car for the enthusiasts, Skoda could have made those features available atleast in the 1.6.

The space, comfort and handling on all the new Fabias remain just as good as the older model year cars.

If more power is what you want from your Fabia, the 1.6 should certainly be on your shopping list.

The question is, would you consider the Fabia 1.6 with these rather cut-price features as an enthusiast?

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