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Skoda Fabia wagon and RS 2012 review

The next pieces of Skoda’s longterm plan for Australia have just been put into place with the introduction of a couple of low cost variants as will as a hot little RS number.

VALUE

A new station wagon body has been introduced. Costing just $2000 more than the five-door hatch it is 250 millimetres longer to provide up to 1460 litres of luggage space with the seats folded down, and a just as impressive 480 litres with all five seats in use.

Incidentally, the Monte Carlo also gets the DSG option. Priced at $24,290 this special Fabia will please the commuter who wants to make a styling statement will stationary in traffic.

With a price tag starting at just $27,990 for the RS132 manual hatch it’s certainly worth consideration from those looking for fun in an affordable machine.

TECHNOLOGY

The range has been expanded to include a 1.4-litre four-cylinder turbo-petrol engine producing 77 kilowatts of power, and 175 Newton metres of torque all the way from 1500 to 4100 revs.

Our initial test drive of this little beauty in the Gold Coast area showed it to be willing to rev and happy to slug along in just about any gear – modern turbo engines with the latest in electronic control are brilliant in this manner. Volkswagen’s are right up there with the best of them.

The four-cylinder engine can either be mounted beside a five-speed manual gearbox or a seven-speed double-clutch DSG. We sampled both and though the auto is the more sensible bet we liked the feel of the manual and the added control it gives the keen driver.

The smallest Skoda is the Fabia, using similar underpinnings to the Volkswagen Polo and even the Audi A1 to give it an extremely strong platform on which to build. So late in 2009 we saw the initial imports of the stylish Monte Carlo versions of the Fabia as well as an affordable hatch in the 77TSI, both were five-door hatches powered by a 1.2-litre turbocharged four-cylinder VW engine.

The range topping Skoda Fabia RS132 with, you guessed it, 132 kW, has excellent acceleration complemented by a good exhaust note that will please those who think driving is about a lot more than simply going from A to B.

The 132 kW is achieved by tuning the same 1.4 engine as in the 77 kW models. The 132 demands to be fed 98 octane petrol and has a torque good torque spread, with its maximum of 250 Nm being available all the way from 2000 rpm to 4500.

DESIGN

As in other Skoda models the new Fabia wagon has the superb Varioflex seating system that lets each of the three rear seats be removed individually. The seats unclip in seconds and weigh only 11 kilograms so it doesn’t need a hulking make to convert this small wagon into what’s almost a little van.

The cleverest of all the Varioflex features is the ability to remove the centre-rear seat and then slide the two outer seats closer together, or further apart, to accommodate the wishes of the occupants. Cosy and close, or separated and sedate, the choice is yours.

DRIVING

We loved the feel of the RS132 that’s been created by lowering the body by 10 mm and increasing the stiffness of the shocks, springs and bushes. We weren’t so impressed by the noise created on rough road surfaces by the tyres and the way this harshness finds its way into the cabin.

VERDICT

It has taken some time for Australian buyers to take Skoda seriously, but these new models give you a solid, sensible car with a good degree of style and we can see them taking off in the sales race any time now.

Pricing guides

$10,990
Based on 27 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$5,500
Highest Price
$14,990

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
77 TSI 1.2L, ULP, 5 SP MAN $3,900 – 6,270 2012 Skoda Fabia 2012 77 TSI Pricing and Specs
77 TSI Monte Carlo 1.2L, ULP, 5 SP MAN $5,100 – 7,920 2012 Skoda Fabia 2012 77 TSI Monte Carlo Pricing and Specs
RS 132 TSI 1.4L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $6,000 – 9,240 2012 Skoda Fabia 2012 RS 132 TSI Pricing and Specs
77 TSI 1.2L, PULP, 5 SP MAN $4,700 – 7,590 2012 Skoda Fabia 2012 77 TSI Pricing and Specs
Pricing Guide

$5,500

Lowest price, based on 23 car listings in the last 6 months

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Disclaimer: The pricing information shown in the editorial content (Review Prices) is to be used as a guide only and is based on information provided to Carsguide Autotrader Media Solutions Pty Ltd (Carsguide) both by third party sources and the car manufacturer at the time of publication. The Review Prices were correct at the time of publication.  Carsguide does not warrant or represent that the information is accurate, reliable, complete, current or suitable for any particular purpose. You should not use or rely upon this information without conducting an independent assessment and valuation of the vehicle.