The Auto Trader expert verdict:
The Skoda Fabia vRS Estate is a deeply practical yet astonishingly quick supermini. Those subdued looks also make it the perfect city stealth weapon.
Reasons to buy:
- Massive boot
- Strong performance
- Reasonable running costs
How good does it look?
The Skoda Fabia vRS Estate is a niche within a niche, but it looks surprisingly well resolved. Its big alloy wheels, twin exhausts and tinted windows set it apart from the standard model, but this is still a very subtle car. In fact, it’s one of the most surprising fast cars we can think of, making it the polar opposite of a boy-racer special edition. We just wish it wasn’t quite so tall, as it can make the Fabia look awkward from some angles. LED daytime-running lights in place of conventional fog lights set the vRS apart from other models in the range.
What's the interior like?
As the Skoda Fabia is several thousand pounds cheaper than the equivalent Volkswagen Polo, you expect the cost cutting to be evident somewhere, and the cabin is a little basic. But, that’s not to say it isn’t well built. There’s honesty to its simple dashboard and controls and everything feels solid and well placed, if unexciting. You can also specify the touchscreen multimedia interface that is seen on other Volkswagen products.
How practical is it?
The Skoda Fabia vRS Estate is fundamentally a small car, but you wouldn’t think it from its boot space. With 480 to 1,460 litres available, it carries as much as its (slower) rivals the Renault Clio Sport Tourer and SEAT Ibiza ST. There’s a handy area to store a few shopping bags and stop them sliding about too. It’s easy to find a good driving position and there’s just enough rear legroom for adults to sit in tandem.
What's it like to drive?
Tuned suspension, bigger wheels and wider tyres give the Skoda Fabia vRS Estate firmer handling, allowing it to stay flat and secure in bends. Sadly the trade off is increased road noise and thumps from the suspension, which are particularly bad over poor road surfaces. We were hoping the vRS Estate would be a good cruiser, but it felt unrefined on the motorway. It’s more at home around town and on tight and twisty roads, where it feels nimble. A system called XDS helps by braking the inside front wheel when accelerating through corners, transferring power to the wheel with more grip.
How powerful is it?
While the original Skoda Fabia vRS had a diesel engine with lots of pulling power, the latest model gets a 1.4-litre petrol engine with a supercharger and turbocharger. It’s a lively 180bhp motor with plenty of punch as soon as you press the throttle, accelerating from 0-62mph in 7.3 seconds and giving a 141mph top speed. There’s no manual gearbox, so it’s good the seven-speed twin-clutch (DSG) gearbox is snappy and responsive. It can be left to its own devices or there are paddles behind the steering wheel for manual gear changes.
How much will it cost me?
While not as thrifty as the previous generation diesel Fabia vRS Hatch, the new vRS Estate can average a respectable 44.1mpg. We found this is possible on longer motorway runs, but hard to achieve on shorter runs. Emissions of 149g/km of CO2 are low for such a quick car, making it affordable to tax.
How reliable is it?
Skoda is regularly the top European manufacturer in customer satisfaction surveys, and is an impressive fifth overall according to Warranty Direct’s Reliability Index.
How safe is it?
The Skoda Fabia Estate hasn’t been crash tested by Euro NCAP, however the Hatch it’s based on scored four stars. It’s fitted with electronic stability programme, anti-lock brakes, traction control and front and side airbags.
How much equipment do I get?
Standard equipment includes an eight speaker stereo with steering wheel mounted controls, 17-inch alloy wheels, alarm, electric front windows, heated door mirrors, manual air-con, trip computer, remote central locking and tinted rear windows.
The Fabia vRS estate is a very individual car, which offers more performance and space than most would ever expect.