Skoda Fabia vRS Estate: first drive

  • Load-lugging practicality with hot hatch performance
  • Slick seven-speed DSG as standard with 180bhp
  • Prices start at £16,495 and available to buy now

Getting the right mix of performance and practicality at an affordable price is not always the easiest thing to find, but with the Skoda Fabia vRS Estate you get all of this.

It's powered by the same 1.4 TSI engine as the Hatchback version that comes with 180bhp. This means it will do the 0-62mph benchmark in 7.3 seconds - also the same as the Hatch - and go on to a top speed of 140mph.

The obvious big difference between the two is the added room you get with the estate. Boot capacity rises from 300 litres in the Hatch to 480 litres in the Estate. So while you lose nothing in the performance stakes you gain in extra shopping bag space.

Like the Hatchback it comes with a seven-speed DSG automatic gearbox as standard with no manual offered at all. This isn't a major problem because the auto 'box is slick and comes with paddle shifts behind the steering wheel for anyone who wants to take gear-changing into their own hands.

On the move the pace is excellent and acceleration surprising for a small estate, while the engine has a nice rasp. However, it is a little noisy with wind noise becoming quite intrusive at higher speeds, while road noise is noticeable at low or high speeds.

The steering feels vague and could do with more weight to really fill the driver with confidence in the tight bends, but is sufficient for that extra bit of pace when cornering. The ride can also feel unsettled when you hit poor road surfaces.

While these few things are disappointing, you can't argue with the £16,495 purchase price and for your money you get a car with decent performance as well as plenty of boot space. With a claimed 45mpg it's also a fairly frugal proposition.

 

 

  

Also consider

MINI Clubman Cooper S

More expensive, less power and less boot space than the Fabia, but you do get the kudos of the MINI image which is the only real plus point over the Skoda. Price £18,075

 

Volkswagen Polo GTI

It comes with the same engine and automatic gearbox as the Fabia plus the promise of Volkswagen refinement, although you do lose out on practicality. Price £17,500 (est)

 

SEAT Ibiza FR

Like the Polo you won't get the practicality the Fabia offers or the power but you won't be far off the pace. Plus it comes with a 2.0 diesel engine that offers impressive pulling power. Price £17,020