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A Fab-Tastic Bargain From Skoda ; This is Bigger, Better and Cheaper Than 9 Years Ago

Apr 26, 2007


IF EVER a car can lay claim to being bargain of the year it has to be Skoda's new Fabia.

Not only is it bigger and better in every way than the original, it's also cheaper.

When it goes on sale on May 17 the new Fabia will be available from pounds 7,990, pounds 9 less than the first Fabia in 2000.

Couple that to group-one car insurance and low exhaust emissions, and the entry-level Fabia 1.2 is set to become the cost-conscious driver's dream.

It's going to compete against the Peugeot 207, Toyota Yaris, Fiat Punto and Ford Fiesta.

The Skoda is pounds 400 more expensive that the Punto, but has more room and a larger boot.

When it comes to all-round comfort the Fabia excels.

A fully adjustable steering wheel and driver's seat, electric front windows, central locking and four airbags are standard across the range.

The three-cylinder 1.2-litre petrol engine is not going to set the world alight in straight-line performance but when it comes to suspension and steering this car feels great.

There are going to be three trim levels - Fabia 1,2 and 3 - and while air conditioning is standard on the Fabia 2, that's priced from pounds 9,720.

Fabia 3 comes with cruise and climate control, parking sensors and some styling enhancements among its standard fit. It costs from pounds 11,455 with the range topping 1.9-litre diesel priced from pounds 13,015.

In all there are seven engine choices, four petrol and three diesel, with a variety of capacities.

The basic petrol model uses a 1.2-litre 60bhp petrol engine, then there's a 70bhp version, followed by a 1.4-litre 85bhp unit and a 105bhp 1.6-litre. Diesels are 70 and 80bhp 1.4-litre and the 1.9 which develops 105bhp.

The cleanest is the 1.4 80bhp diesel - priced from pounds 10,175 - which can average more than 60mpg and has 120g/km CO2 emissions.

It's the only version of the new Fabia which qualifies for pounds 35 a year car tax but has an insurance rating of group three and sounds very much like a diesel of old.

There is a lot of noise in this car at cruising speed and the extra weight of the engine tells on the handling.

The quickest are the 1.6-litre petrol versions and the bigger diesel with claimed top speeds of 118mph and 0 to 60 acceleration of 10.1 and 10.8 seconds respectively.

Those are priced from pounds 10,795 and pounds 11,855 in Fabia 2 trim - but it is the base model which really punches above its weight.

With the higher powered 70bhp 1.2-litre engine the Fabia is top value for money. On paper the 0-60 time of 14.9 seconds appears laboured, but wind it up and it can hold its own even at motorway speeds while still averaging a claimed 47.9mpg.

Better still, it handles amazingly well and is a car any driver will enjoy. This version is from pounds 8,720, has group two insurance and CO2 emissions ofl40g/km.

Seven years ago the original Fabia put Skoda back on the map. The latest version is styled to impress, is airy and roomy and while being nothing flash is - pound for pound - the best not-so-little small car you can get.

(c) 2007 Liverpool Echo. Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning. All rights Reserved.

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