Does more power make the Fabia even more appealing?
The Skoda Fabia has long been a favourite small car, but a long time means lots of changes. Now the most recent arrivals, like the latest Ford Fiesta and Seat Ibiza, are finally moving the Fabia gently down the pecking order. Skoda has responded with this more personalized, more powerful version, the 1.0 TSI 110 with Redline trim. Can this move it back up closer to the newest arrivals?
The 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine now produces 108bhp in this version, up from the usual 94bhp. There’s also a six-speed manual gearbox to better spread that power than the previous five gears. The effect may not be massive but it is noticeable. The car pulls well from low revs and is equally happy revving up the range.
Skoda Fabia 1.0 TSI 110
Engine: 1.0-litre, three-cylinder, turbo, petrol
Torque: 148lb ft
Gearbox: Six-speed manual
Top speed: 122mph
CO2, tax band: 103g/km, 19%
The spread of gears allows you to either keep it boiling or simply let it haul in a higher gear. The main limiter isn’t the engine but the chassis, which is set up with fairly soft and comfy suspension. It will lean about in the corners and generally be compliant but the surprise is the choppy ride, when you’d have expected a much gentler affair with those soft springs. We would prefer the 15-inch rims rather than the 16s you get with the Redline model.
From the outside the car looks distinctly sportier in this trim, and that continues into the cabin. You get a leather wrap to the steering wheel and the sports seats in the front get a quilted effect which is quite smart. Ahead of the driver is a 6.5-inch touchscreen although you have to pay extra for sat nav. Given that smartphone mirroring is standard for both Apple and Android we might not bother.
Generally the Fabia surprises with the amount of space available for both people and their luggage. Maybe the new Ibiza has slightly more boot space but really there’s nothing to complain about here at all, this is a roomy vehicle for its exterior dimensions, with a good and solid collection of materials and fitment.
Apart from the mainly visual changes, what this boils down to is another 14bhp. And you find yourself wondering how much that costs. The answer is £650 which seems pretty reasonable indeed given that it adds height and width to the powerplant’s delivery. Emissions and fuel figures remain virtually identical, so there are no hidden extra costs here.
That would make good value if you often take three passengers, or do long journeys. If not then we might stick with the lower-powered model, maybe only in SE trim, since that gives you most of what you need and saves a decent amount of wedge into the bargain.