Skoda Fabia Elegance 1.6 MPI - Performance Review
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Performance Review of Skoda Fabia Elegance 1.6 MPI
Last Updated at 03:56 pm, May 20, 2013Rating :
The new Skoda Fabia gets a new selection of engines
This isn’t just a cosmetic exercise and the Fabia gets a new diesel engine as well. The 1.4 litre diesel engine from the Polo makes an appearance under the Fabia’s hood. This three-cylinder engine produces 70PS of power at 4000rpm while peak torque of 155Nm is available between 1600 and 2800rpm. Like most three cylinder engines, this engine also feels a little gruff at idling revs. There a lot of diesel clatter too but it smoothens out miraculously as the revs rise. There is turbo lag and the wait for the engine to come in its powerband is painstaking. It also has tall gearing and doesn’t require too much of gear shifting in traffic but being in the right gear to keep the engine in its sweet spot rewards you with greater pull.
The taller gearing aids fuel efficiency but you will need to downshift for overtaking maneuvers. It doesn’t feel sprightly picking up from low revs and this makes you wish for better low end power. The quality of shifts is decent, although throws are a bit long. It also gets engine braking control while ABS is standard on the Ambiente.
Sharing its engines with the VW Polo means the Fabia also gets the 1.6-litre, inline four, and this is exactly what you should be looking at if performance is the foremost thing on your mind. Although we’d love to see the smaller, lighter turbocharged 1.2-litre engine (TSI) that makes 105PS of power, economies of scale have led the 1.6-litre from the VW Vento find its way inside the Polo and Fabia’s hood.
Nevertheless, it still packs 105 horses, coming in at 5,250rpm while maximum torque is 153Nm, peaking at 3,850rpm. To me, it sounds like my prayers for a hot hatch have finally been answered. Right from the time you crank the engine, this Fabia feels different. Firstly, there isn’t the gruffness of the 1.2 petrol (the three cylinder trait) or the clatter of the diesel. What you hear is the pleasing purr of an inline four- smooth, refined and delightfully conventional. Give it some gas and the purr turns angry, not roaring still, but enough to warn you of the serious bite. This is even evident in the eagerness with which the tacho needle responds to the throttle inputs.
Slot in to first, let go the clutch and floor the throttle and there is a loads of wheel-spin from the front and a barrage of stone chips hitting the underbody as the front wheels hunt for traction on tarmac. The Fabia shoots ahead in a frenzy and is indeed is a quick hatch. Speed builds up rapidly and you hit the ton mark on the speedo sooner than you expect. But it doesn’t stop here. Keep the foot work and gearshifts going on and the Fabia will take you straight to its 170kmph top speed, something a lot of midsized sedans struggle to achieve. Tipping the scales at 1100kg, the Fabia 1.6 isn’t particularly a light car but it still manages an impressive power to weight ratio of 95.4PS/ton.
The engine feels very refined and revs nicely all the way up to 6500rpm. I expected the car to be a little low on bottom end power but the Fabia 1.6 actually feels good pottering round town. The engine hits its sweet spot at about 2500rpm beyond which there is a lot of juice to give you hot hatch thrills. It feels far from a small car when it comes to cruising on the highway at three digit speeds, feeling absolutely unstressed.
The Fabia’s strengths are its build quality, ride, handling and contemporary styling. The diesel engine isn’t the smoothest one around but feels adequate for city as well as highway sprints. At Rs 5.73 lakh, ex-showroom Mumbai, the Fabia Ambiente diesel is competitively priced too, especially when compared to the Polo diesel Highline. the biggest surprise is the 1.6 elegance priced at Rs 5.81 lakh against the VW Polo 1.6 at 6.32 lakh. If you’re looking for a spacious but small diesel or an affordable hot performance hatch, robust build and are inclined towards a premium brand image, the Fabia is just where your search ends.
First Published on 04:08 pm, March 05, 2011