Skoda Fabia GreenLine review
Not quite as green or as economical as other VW Group eco-models.
From behind the wheel, the GreenLine is as good as any other Fabia, with a grown-up feel in and out of town. The ride is comfortable and the supple suspension irons out rough surfaces with ease. The pay-off is excessive body roll through corners, while the steering is lifeless, but overall the Skoda is safe and composed. The chassis also isn’t that affected by running on narrow eco-tyres, which can lead to a shortage of grip. The buzzy three-cylinder engine is mated to a long-ratio five-speed gearbox. Around town, it’s hard to detect much difference, but the longer fourth and fifth ratios are noticeable when accelerating. This can be frustrating on A and B-roads, as you find yourself holding onto lower gears for longer.
From the outside, there are few hints about the Skoda’s eco credentials. It is the most fuel efficient car the firm has ever made, yet aside from a badge on the tailgate, there are no visual identifiers. Look more closely though, and you’ll spot Skoda had fitted special panels underneath to reduce drag, while the front bumper is raised by 35mm. The 80bhp 1.4-litre TDI comes with a single trim line, and is offered in both five-door hatchback and estate guise. The car has two sister models, SEAT’s Ibiza Ecomotive and the Volkswagen Polo Bluemotion, both of which produce just 99g/km of CO2.
It’s a surprise to see Skoda has missed the magic sub-100g/km CO2 emissions target that would see it qualify for free road tax: instead, it produces 109g/km, and averages 68.9mpg. It does have a good driving environment though, proving bigger than its Volkswagen Group siblings, and boasting an upmarket, clear dashboard with well laid out controls. We did find the light grey trim a bit ugly, though. Air con is standard and there is ample passenger and luggage space, while testing saw us return a creditable 49.5mpg – though this is some way off both the official average, and the 54.6mpg figure we got from the Polo Bluemotion that also uses this engine. Wile clearly strong on refinement and comfort, the penalty is fuel consumption that, while very good, isn’t quite up with the very best.