Inautonews.com has recently gone for a spin in a very special version of the Skoda Fabia RS updated in collaboration with SKODA Romania Motorsport.
Engine and Transmission
The outgoing version of the Skoda Fabia RS is coming with a 1.4-liter TSI four-cylinder turbocharged engine which is producing a total output of 170 horsepower and, in combination with the seven-speed DSG transmission, provided by Volkswagen, is capable of offering taking you from A to B in a daily commute without asking too many questions. In order to get the most out of the output you will need a straight road and maybe a dose of the “brave pill”, switch into the Sport mode and keep in it in high revs and the scenery will pass be very quickly.
A front-wheel drive B-segment hot hatch may seem like a good idea but the under steer will slap you and to explain how badly the Fabia RS refuses to go around corners at high speeds we can compare it to having a friend who is a serial killer. Most of the times it’s fun, you go out with him to get a beer, his stories fascinate and also scare you but when you leave your guard down he will kill you without any remorse.
Luckily for me I escaped from a close encounter after trying to see how the Fabia RS performs on corners and at 90 km/h with the steering wheel turned left the car developed a mind of its own and took me forward, even if the road was going to end. The upgraded brakes helped and the four braking discs and safety systems did their job perfectly and I managed to stop it. Things are very different on straight roads and this car is able to provide you with your daily dose of adrenalin.
The DSG transmission is simply perfect and even the steering wheel paddle shifters work just like they are supposed to even if there is a small delay between shifting into second gear from fifth and pushing the gas pedal all the way. But we are talking about a B-segment hot hatch and not a supercar and that’s fine with me.
The Skoda Fabia RS hasn’t been designed to run on baby Panda tears and if you’re looking for a car with low fuel consumption you’d better choose the regular version. In a crowded city, the trip computer was indicating an average of 14.2L/100km but this can quickly be turned into 18.0L/100km using the Sport mode. The fuel consumption can drop to around 11L/100km in the city but you will feel slightly older once you will reach your destination. The AC doesn’t play a main role in fuel efficiency and the amount of gasoline you will save with it turned off will be enough for a quick acceleration. Don’t even dare to look at the instant fuel consumption in sport mode which can show you 49.9L/100km (I couldn’t go beyond this).
The upgraded suspension in the Skoda Fabia RS isn’t ideal for the urban environment but it isn’t annoying either. It’s simply there and you know it and once you will want to take your daily dose of adrenalin accelerating in a straight line this suspension setting suddenly makes sense and if you know what you’re doing it will help you arrive at your destination quicker.
For a B segment hot hatch the Skoda Fabia RS is spacious and the rear-seat passengers will travel quite comfortably even with the front seats pulled all the way back. The boot has enough space for medium size luggage and the visibility is good. The Fabia RS hasn’t been designed for everyday use and the stiff suspension and 17-inch alloy wheels wrapped in low profile tires may give you a headache most of the time. The steering is precise up to a point where under steer will kick in heavily so choose your cornering speed carefully and you should be OK with this.
The interior design of the Skoda Fabia RS has “Volkswagen” written all over it and this is a good thing because the plastics used inside are medium-quality, all the buttons are where they are supposed to be, the sporty seats are comfortable and there is enough space for five people and their luggage. The climate control works perfectly, the audio system with Radio/CD/MP3/Aux is good, storage spaces are generously offered throughout the cabin and the overall design says “test me, see what I can do!”
The Fabia RS we tested came with climate control, multi-function steering wheel with audio controls and paddle shifters, trip computer, Radio/CD/MP3/Aux, ESP, cooled glove box, four electric windows with comfort mode, electric heated mirrors, electrically adjustable headlights, central locking, front armrest, rain sensing wipers, fog lights, leather wrapped gear shift and handbrake lever and more.
Likes / Dislikes
Just live every other model out there, the Skoda Fabia RS has its ups and downs but in this case the balance is indicating more ups than downs. For instance, the 1.4-liter TSI turbocharged engine is brilliant, the DSG transmission with steering wheel paddle shifters is perfect, the seats are comfortable and the overall design will make people in more expensive cars suddenly interested in your ride. The AC works well, the sound system is enough, the engine, turbo and exhaust are offering “music” of their own, there are plenty of storage spaces and the boot is large enough to carry your luggage on holiday.
We didn’t like the fact that the Skoda Fabia RS isn’t coming with USB, navigation system, Xenon headlights and an all-wheel drive system, which should take care of the under steer, but considering the fact that this model is around 20,000 euros (25,000 EUR for the version we tested), the equipment level and the thrill offered by the engine is enough.
As a conclusion, the Skoda Fabia RS is the perfect car for a young dad on a budget with hidden “passions”, who is in charge of taking his kids to school and do the grocery list. The model will gladly take care of these “problems” and it will still offer him the thrill of a hot hatch in a car that isn’t saying “my life is over, I’m married with children”. The Fabia RS may not have the widened body of the Renaultsport Clio and it may not even get that sleek look of the Corsa OPC, but considering the fact that it can be bought from approximately 20,000 euros and, in the end, it’s a vehicle developed by Volkswagen, you won’t regret paying the money.