Skoda Fabia vRS Estate review
The Skoda Fabia vRS Estate offers a great mix of space and pace
With a 140mph top speed and a 505-litre boot, the Skoda Fabia vRS Estate is an unusual small car that offers a unique mix of attributes. The 1.4-litre TSI petrol engine has a super and turbo charger and pumps out 178bhp and 250Nm of torque, while the vRS also comes exclusively with a twin clutch DSG gearbox. But it’s the large boot, estate tailgate and stretched body that separates it from less practical hot hatch rivals.
Our choice: vRS 1.4 TSI 180PS DSG
With its narrow body and upright stance the Fabia isn’t naturally sporty but the ‘floating’ roof and rounded A-Pillars are nice touches. The vRS’ lowered ride height, sporty exterior trim and big wheels help give it extra attitude, while roof rails and a body that’s been stretched by 247mm separates the Estate from the hatch. Inside, you get a leather wheel, sports seats and stainless steel pedals, while vRS badges feature inside and out.
Fast and sure-footed, the Fabia vRS has a lot of the traits that make larger performance estates so popular. The 178bhp 1.4-litre twin charged engine has a wide torque band that makes the vRS feel responsive but frustratingly the transmission often kicks down ratios when you accelerate. The chassis delivers reassuring grip but there’s plenty of body movement and slightly numb reactions mean the vRS lacks driver engagement. The ride is firm but the suspension set-up is no stiffer than you’d expect for a hot hatch. And crucially the Estate handles and performs just as well as the vRS hatch.
Skoda owners tell us that the Fabia is a reliable car and the company dominates our Driver Power satisfaction survey. Safety is decent; too, the vRS gets front, side and curtain airbags, plus ISOFIX. While stability control, LED running lights and tyre pressure monitoring is standard. It’s worth noting you have to pay extra for a third rear headrest.
Sporty estate cars are a popular choice if you want a practical performance machine. But in the supermini class they are rare, which gives the Skoda Fabia vRS a unique selling point. With a 505-litre boot and a seats folded capacity of 1,485 litres, the little Skoda is capable of swallowing plenty of luggage. An air-conditioned glove box is standard and cabin stowage is decent. A retractable parcel shelf is standard, while a variable boot floor and boot mounted cycle holder are optional.
Helped by its DSG gearbox and small engine the Fabia vRS is fairly efficient for a small performance car. The official combined consumption and emissions of 45.6mpg and 148g/km are identical to the vRS hatch and lower than bigger capacity rivals with similar power outputs. Skoda dealers have a strong reputation for great customer care, although servicing costs are a little expensive. Insurance costs will be an issue for younger drivers.