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Old 8th January 2015, 20:06   #1
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Default My Skoda Fabia 1.2 TDI: An Enthusiast's Hatch

Hello everyone,
This is my first post on Team BHP. Of course I am very much excited to be part of this forum. I own a Skoda Fabia which is close to 2 years now. I have described below my buying and ownership experience.

Initial dilemma and purchase experience:

My dad had promised to get me a car if I cleared my CA exams. For a middle class guy (coupled with vivid interest in automobiles) this was a good proposition! By God's grace I cleared the exams in mid-2012 and the process of shortlisting cars began in no time. My bro already had a Hyundai i20 which I had driven extensively over last 2 years. Somehow I did not like Maruti Suzuki cars (interiors did not suit my taste). Dad set a budget of 6 lacs so the contenders were Brio, Indigo, Figo. VW / Skoda cars were not even TD as I liked only the top end versions and they were not within the budget. Honda Brio was all but decided and booking was supposed to be done in 2 days. I liked the smooth engine of the Honda which was a pleasure to drive in the city. But the boot space of the car was ridiculous (less than 200 liters!). That’s when I met my college friend who owned a Fabia 1.6. I drove it for a couple days and I was completely sold for that car's build and ride quality. The handling was also exceptional. I then decided I am buying a VW / Skoda come what may! Everyone told me about high cost of service / spares etc., but then I got a pretty good job and I have a sedate driving style I also spend considerable time in taking good care of my vehicles whenever I find time. I thought to myself that this car will be used for 4-5 years (minimum) and is also mod friendly. I had always liked the simple yet classy styling of the Octavia and Laura from my college days. Fabia looks (front) is more or less similar to the Laura IMO. Fabia 1.2 HTP (Ambition variant) was actually fitting my budget. I did extensive reviews and also TD the car several times. I thought to myself again that diesel made more sense considering my daily commute of around 50 kms to office, weekend trips once in 2-3 months, fun of a turbo engine and last but not the least, the possibility of remaps / tuning boxes as I had the intention of keeping the car for 5 years. So, I came to a conclusion that I am going for a diesel.

Following cars although very good in the segment were not considered for the reasons detailed below:
1. Figo TDCI – Interiors looked cheap, build quality not on par with Skoda / VW
2. Hyundai i20 diesel – My bro already owned a i20 ( I just wanted a different car ); interiors were not upmarket, unresponsive steering, instability at high speeds, no fun in cornering, dull handling.
3. Renault Pulse – Weird dashboard setup, boot space of 250 litres vs. 315 of Fabia
4. VW Polo – Belonged to the same VW Group (VW, Skoda, Seat, Audi); only reason I did not pursue with this car – cramped rear bench and boot space of 255 litres vs. 315 of Fabia. Also, the beige interiors of Fabia looked much more upmarket and suited my taste rather than the black / grey combination of Polo.

I never liked Maruti cars from the beginning (personal reasons). Did not bother to TD them.

So, I finally decided on Fabia 1.2 TDI. It took me nearly 2 weeks to convince my dad on a Skoda car and also to stretch the budget by 2 lacs. The top end variant was almost 9.3 lacs so I had to settle for Ambition Plus which was 8.1 lacs OTR. I had saved 1 lacs somehow and that was to be completely spent on my Skoda mate!
Booking was done in Tafe access, St.Marks road and car delivered in 2 days. Tafe gave me a fair deal – I insisted that they give me free alloy wheels and free insurance instead of giving the SKODA audio system (which belonged to the stone-age with no modern features!). I had checked with Vinayak Skoda earlier but they did not agree to give alloy wheels free.
Delivery was taken on my birthday and like all auto freaks I couldn’t sleep for the 2 previous days. I experienced the infamous Skoda service on the day of delivery itself. While driving back home I realized the speedometer and odometer was not functioning! I was distraught and couldn’t go back to the showroom as it was already 9.30 pm. Headed back first thing next morning and blasted the showroom manager. He was extremely apologetic about it and mentioned that “the switch” was not fixed back once the car came back from RTO. Although I was not completely convinced I somehow did not want to make a big fuss out of it. I just headed back home once the issue was addressed. Fortunately one of the showroom managers resides very close to my home and he also met me couple of times and convinced me that there was nothing to worry about.

Ownership experience:
Looks:
Cars looks are always subjective. This is SKODA and their cars always have a sober look. It looks European in every way. The car has decent looks but could do well with some improvements at the rear. The front is exactly similar to the Rapid and it has a very elegant and timeless look. This is not a car that will suit everyone’s taste. The car is a full 4 meters long and thus equal in size to modern entry level sedans (dzire, amaze etc.,).

Interior design, space and comfort, fit and finish:
Interior quality on the other hand is class leading. It is on par with most of the C segment cars. Plastic quality is top notch and if maintained well, will look new for years to come. Although it is a 3 cylinder diesel engine SKODA has done enough damping to ensure engine noise is cut down inside the cabin during movement. Comfort levels are very high and I dare say it is the best in the segment. The cabin feels big and one can get a feeling of being inside a proper sedan. The black and beige combination works very well. The plastic and fabric quality are top notch and similar to the ones in Laura. The beige fabric however can get dirty very quickly. (Regular interior cleaning is recommended). You can ride the car for hours together without feeling tired. Height adjustable driver seat has been a boon. The AC switches however look outdated. They could have made it look upmarket with chrome inserts. Effectiveness of the AC however is commendable. With just a setting of 1 or 2 the cabin gets chilled in absolutely no time. I felt the AC to be much better than many automatic AC in most of the modern cars. The car is however not better at seating five. Three full sized adults at the rear may not feel comfortable during long drives considering the high transmission tunnel.

Attention to detail and little conveniences are very good; there is damping on almost every little opening – Eg. velvet damping for the windows and cup holders. The power window switches operate for upto 30 secs after turning off ignition, so that passengers don’t have to ask the driver to switch ignition on if they are yet to roll up their windows.

Storage and boot space:
315 litres of boot space is the best in the segment. There are two ac vents underneath the front seats which actually help in cooling the rear bench pretty quickly (excellent feature generally found in sedans).

Engine Performance, Fuel Economy and Gearbox
3 cylinder; 75 bhp ; 1.2 litre turbo-diesel. Considering the robust chassis and build quality this car definitely needed some more power with additional displacement. However, this engine also does a good job in the city. Only gripe is in the pickup as one feels a little turbolag till 2k rpm. Post that it’s just excellent to ride. The clutch feels tight in the beginning and there is a slight jerk while shifting gears. One can feel this very evident if used to driving 4 cylinder petrol cars. It takes some time getting used to this. Once adjusted it feel much better and driving even in stop-go traffic is very easy. Initial pickup is not great and one feels a need for more power in 1st and 2nd gears. This car is thus not meant for tight overtaking maneuvers. Power delivery from 2k rpm upwards becomes much linear. It’s a hoot to drive from 3rd gear upwards. Highway ride feel on the other hand is very assuring. The car feel firmly planted to the tarmac and the ride quality is top class and I dare say best in the segment. One can reach a top speed of 155-160 on the highways. I am not sure if it could cross 160 kmph but haven’t tried redlining. Gearbox is just amazing. Gear shifts are slick and there is absolutely no clutter from 1st to 5th. It just gets smoother post first service. The unique shift for reverse gear is also very assuring.

Fuel efficiency
The car has returned about 14-16 kmpl in city conditions with my conservative driving style.
Highway is a decent 19-21 kmpl even after consistently driving in triple digits in my 3 long trips so far.


Ride, Build Quality & Handling
The shortcomings in engine are put to rest in the ride / handling department. This is one department where Fabia / Polo always emerge winners in any competition. Both Fabia and Polo share similar driving characteristics, courtesy almost similar chassis. But I somehow felt Fabia to be better after driving Polo. This car is very good in handling and ride quality. The steering has been a pleasant surprise for me having driven my brother’s i20 for 2 years. It does feel very much connected during cornering. One feels very safe and assured even when the car is doing > 100 kmph. The car has this unique ability to mask speed. ‘Solid’ is the only way to describe the build quality of the vehicle. The doors shut with a superb thud comparable to the Laura. One can even assess the build quality by holding the bonnet cover which feels much heavier than most of the other hatchbacks in the market. NVH levels are brought down to a considerable extent and with all windows closed one doesn’t getting a feeling of diesel car.

Brakes and Suspension
My car is without ABS; even then the brakes are very assuring in both city and highways. They offer good feel and control and are adequate for the power on tap. The suspension however feels a little stiffer when going over broken roads at slow speeds. But as the speed picks up everything is soaked up nicely.

Ground clearance
Although the clearance is 158 mm it is pretty adequate in handling speed breakers courtesy lower wheelbase and stiffer suspension. My brother’s i20 squats pretty low when fully loaded and scrapes most of the big speed breakers. However, till date I have not scraped the underbody of my Fabia even when fully loaded with passengers.

Dislikes
1. The biggest letdown is on the features. I spent 8 lacs and the car did not come with factory fitted stereo, no rear defogger, no steering mounted controls, no ABS and airbags. No extended warranties were given at the time of purchase.
2. No Multi-Function DisplayMFD on my variant (Ambition Plus).

Audio system & sound quality
The stock car did not come with an audio system. God knows what Skoda was thinking! New heights in cost cutting.

Wheel and Tyres
As I mentioned before Tafe agreed to change the stock 175/60/R14 steel wheels to 185/60/R15 alloys. The design of the alloys (Model: Line ; 7 spoke) was similar to the once available with Polo and Vento. It is elegant to say the least. Tyres provided were Apollo Accelere which get a bit noisy in highway rides.

Service experience
After having heard all the horror stories about Skoda ASS I was very much skeptical as the date for the first checkup came close. However, no major issues were faced either in first checkup (which is after 6 months / 7,500 kms) or in first service (1 year / 15,000 kms). Both my service visits have been to TAFE access. I have personally been there both the times. The service advisors are hopelessly scattered everywhere and most of the time don’t have any clue as to what state the car is in its service. Barring the delays, I have not faced any major issues in service centers.
I hit a massive pothole while returning home from office one day (there was a heavy downpour apparently and the entire Bangalore had come to a grinding halt). From next day I could make out a screeching noise whenever I applied brakes. So took the car to TAFE after a week. Post checkup they mentioned that the strut bearing required replacement and it was done free of cost as the car was in warranty.

Final words
The car has now completed 20,000 kms and is close to 2 years. This car doesn’t have outright power but it is revv-happy. It does lack the refinement of a 4 cylinder engine. But the car is a gem to drive in the highways because of the robust chassis and good handling characteristics. I have got used to the turbo lag in 1st and 2nd gears and city driving also is very good (if you have a sedate driving style). It is not a feature loaded car nor the best car to take to the race track. I still felt fuel efficiency could have been much better. But hey it’s a hell of a good car to satisfy the enthusiast in you.

Over the 2 years I have done extensive research online and have been able to do these bountiful of modifications to my beloved!

3M sunfilm
3M car wrap front and rear bumpers – These are very useful when you are in city like Bangalore with dense traffic.
3M nomadic floor mats including boot – currently removed

In-car entertainment
JVC AV60BT Head Unit – currently removed
Blaupunkt Philadelphia 835 Head Unit – this was the most difficult product to find. Blaupunkt had actually stopped distributing it through outside dealer. Only available through VW dealership. Hot Tracks in Bangalore fortunately had a last piece which I had to get at a premium!
JBL GTO component rear speakers
Infinity Kappa component front speakers
Infinity Kappa 6*9 rear parcel tray speaker
Acustika underseat sub-woofer
AMERICAN damping on all doors
Cerwin Vega - amplifier for audio system
Rear view camera
The ICE setup was completely done at EVO (Satya), Bangalore. I am very much impressed by the quality of workmanship and I will recommend it for any audiophile.

Body kits and accessories
Monte Carlo OEM fog lights (Source: Superskoda.com)
Skoda OEM sunglasses box (Source: Superskoda.com)
vRS badge – front and rear (Source: Superskoda.com)
Skoda OEM mudflaps (Source: Superskoda.com)
Octavia horn (Source: Superskoda.com)
Rear bumper DTM spoiler (Source: TAFE access)
Exhaust pipe end piece (Source: TAFE access)
Front bumper spoiler - Monte Carlo (Source: TAFE access)
Leather cover for handbrake - OEM Skoda (Source: TAFE access)
Leather 3 spoke steering wheel, similar to the one in Laura (Source: TAFE access)
Netting system - vertical boot (Source: TAFE access)
Bi-Xenon projectors (Angel eyes) and smoked headlight housing (Source: Vinayak Skoda)
Stanley leather seating (Source: Stanley lifestyle, Bangalore)
3D Kagu floor mats (Source: Hot tracks)

Wheels:
Last but not the least and my favourite!
OZ Ultraleggera 16” – Sourced through Hot Tracks.
I did not want a black finish considering my car color is beige so stuck with the Crytal Titanium shade.
Attached Thumbnails
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Last edited by GTO : 10th January 2015 at 09:57. Reason: Taking live
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Old 8th January 2015, 21:59   #2
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Default re: My Skoda Fabia 1.2 TDI: An Enthusiast's Hatch

Quote:
Originally Posted by anuragbagur View Post
Hello everyone,
This is my first post on Team BHP. Of course I am very much excited to be part of this forum. I own a Skoda Fabia which is close to 2 years now. I have described below my buying and ownership experience.
8.1 lacs OTR. I had saved 1 lacs somehow and that was to be completely spent on my Skoda mate!
Booking was done in Tafe access, St.Marks road and car delivered in 2 days. I experienced the infamous Skoda service on the day of delivery itself. While driving back home I realized the speedometer and odometer was not functioning! I was distraught and couldn’t go back to the showroom as it was already 9.30 pm. Headed back first thing next morning and blasted the showroom manager. He was extremely apologetic about it and mentioned that “the switch” was not fixed back once the car came back from RTO. Although I was not completely convinced I somehow did not want to make a big fuss out of it. Just headed back home once the issue was addressed. Fortunately one of the showroom managers resides very close to my home and he also met me couple of times and convinced me that there was nothing to worry about.

Final words
The car has now completed 20,000 kms and is close to 2 years. I must say the service experience till date with SKODA has been pretty decent (touchwood). The car is a gem to drive in the highways because of the robust chassis and good handling characteristics. I have got used to the turbo lag in 1st and 2nd gears and city driving also is very good (if you have a sedate driving style).
Hi Anurag

Congrats on your first post on TBhp and good to see one more Fabia fan on the forum (we are an absolute minority I guess). So we have two things in common - the love for Fabia is obvious, the other common point being that I too am a Chartered Accountant. My baby is a 1.4TDI which has now run close to 100,000 kilometers . I plan to post my long term review experience soon. Wishing you a happy new year and safe driving - Rajeev
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Old 10th January 2015, 09:59   #3
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Default Re: My Skoda Fabia 1.2 TDI: An Enthusiast's Hatch

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Long-term Ownership Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 10th January 2015, 21:14   #4
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Default Re: My Skoda Fabia 1.2 TDI: An Enthusiast's Hatch

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Originally Posted by anuragbagur View Post
Hello everyone,
This is my first post on Team BHP. Of course I am very much excited to be part of this forum. I own a Skoda Fabia which is close to 2 years now. I have described below my buying and ownership experience.
Hello Anuragbagur, Skoda fabia is a very good car. Its the car which has all the build quality of a European car, but at the same time doesn't compromise rear seat space and comfort. I am comparing it with its obvious German counterpart- VW Polo. I had the opportunity to drive a Fabia from Goa to Bangalore and not even once I felt the lack of power.

I loved all your car's accessories as well. The neat looking front and rear spoilers, the projector head lamp set up and the 16" alloy wheels.
Would it be possible for you to mention the cost of each of the accessory that you have added to your car? Do you know if they are still available with the dealers since they have stopped selling Fabia.
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Old 10th January 2015, 23:39   #5
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Default Re: My Skoda Fabia 1.2 TDI: An Enthusiast's Hatch

Congratulations on your Fabia. The Fabia is an awesome car; especially the diesel. It has a beautiful steering and is torquey as hell. One of my colleagues had the HTP variant (which he has now sold for the Terrano) and boy; was it fun to drive! Btw, I am incredibly jealous of the 'clear CA-get gifted a Car scheme'. I cleared CA in Nov-11 but unfortunately my family didnt gift me a car! Many congratulations! Hope you have a trouble-free experience for life
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Old 13th January 2015, 15:29   #6
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Congrats Anurag for the Fabia.

When I first saw this thread I wondered who would buy a Skoda Fabia in this day and age. Only after I read your entire post did I realise that this was bought almost 2 years ago. And congratulations once again; this time for clearing your CA exam.

Now that you have completed 2 years with this car, why don't you throw some light on the running/maintenance cost of the Fabia. Is it as expensive as Skoda cars are perceived to be or is that just a myth? A friend of mine is looking to buy a Rapid DSG soon. However, hearing Skoda reputation is the sole reason why he still hasn't taken the plunge. How was your experience with Skoda after sales service?

Also, I see that you have bought new wheels for your car. Do post some latest pictures of your car too.
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Old 15th January 2015, 07:46   #7
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Congrats Anurag for the Fabia.

When I first saw this thread I wondered who would buy a Skoda Fabia in this day and age. Only after I read your entire post did I realise that this was bought almost 2 years ago. And congratulations once again; this time for clearing your CA exam.

Now that you have completed 2 years with this car, why don't you throw some light on the running/maintenance cost of the Fabia. Is it as expensive as Skoda cars are perceived to be or is that just a myth? A friend of mine is looking to buy a Rapid DSG soon. However, hearing Skoda reputation is the sole reason why he still hasn't taken the plunge. How was your experience with Skoda after sales service?

Also, I see that you have bought new wheels for your car. Do post some latest pictures of your car too.
Thanks S2! My experience with Skoda service till date has not been great nor has it been bad either. But one thing that we can notice if we visit their service center - UNORGANISED! You have people moving around everywhere hurriedly to get things done. I think the service center are poorly managed and this results in inordinate delays in deliveries for almost every customer. This i guess is for customers with cars less than 3-4 years old. For cars which have aged and require major repairs their TATs for completion seem to be ridiculous - my close friend's Fabia had gone for accident repair and it took one full month to finish the job

As far as cost is concerned till date I must say I am pretty satisfied as there have been no surprises. Pricing for regular service is on par with Honda / Toyota for that matter. Its the accessories / parts which are expensive though. I had spilled water in 3 electric window switch and had to be replaced. Costed Rs.1300 each
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Old 16th January 2015, 17:26   #8
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Congrats Anurag for the Fabia.
=======
Also, I see that you have bought new wheels for your car. Do post some latest pictures of your car too.
Hi S2; I have recently purchased these OZ Ultraleggeras. I was getting them at a good price as I was not charged shipping costs by the dealer. Will be installing them only after few months as they 16" compared to my stock 15". Stock are still in very good condition. But yes, these ultraleggers look amazing and is very tempting.
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Old 16th January 2015, 18:55   #9
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Hi S2; I have recently purchased these OZ Ultraleggeras. I was getting them at a good price as I was not charged shipping costs by the dealer. Will be installing them only after few months as they 16" compared to my stock 15". Stock are still in very good condition. But yes, these ultraleggers look amazing and is very tempting.
They surely look sweet. They appear to have a gunmetal finish or maybe it is just the light. The car will look sweet wearing these.

Also, thanks for the heads up about the service costs. Yeah the parts and labour cost are indeed too steep! Here's a live example. Hope no one has to go through this.

Last edited by S2!!! : 16th January 2015 at 18:56.
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Old 21st January 2015, 22:47   #10
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They surely look sweet. They appear to have a gunmetal finish or maybe it is just the light. The car will look sweet wearing these.

Also, thanks for the heads up about the service costs. Yeah the parts and labour cost are indeed too steep! Here's a live example. Hope no one has to go through this.
This is unreal!! I had a mini-heart attack reading this. You are right, no one should go through this. With this kind of service and reputation not sure whether VW will continue with Skoda brand in the near future in India.

BTW on my alloys - they are Crystal titanium finish Considering my car color is biege i thought black would not suit much and went for this shade. I will wait for a few months to install them.
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Old 26th February 2015, 22:40   #11
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Originally Posted by S2!!! View Post
They surely look sweet. They appear to have a gunmetal finish or maybe it is just the light. The car will look sweet wearing these.

Also, thanks for the heads up about the service costs. Yeah the parts and labour cost are indeed too steep! Here's a live example. Hope no one has to go through this.
Just got the second service done. Skoda is installing a 'spacer' for the suspension to protect engine sump from getting damaged. This of course will only reduce the risk of the sump getting hit as this is supposedly going to increase the height. Further, they have updated a software which will actually address the oil pressure warning issue. Refer line item - 17F6 Software in the bill.

Both were done free for me as they are running a campaign and my car fortunately was still under warranty. If your car has crossed the warranty period they charge close to Rs.5,000/-
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Old 21st May 2015, 20:45   #12
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Just got the second service done. Skoda is installing a 'spacer' for the suspension to protect engine sump from getting damaged. This of course will only reduce the risk of the sump getting hit.-
Hi,
any idea if the spacer would suit the older 1.4 tdi Fabia too.
I am now the proud owner of a pre worshipped Fabia 1.4 tdi and am in the process of getting the car set for a five year run with me.
I need all the help I can get from fellow bhpians.
BTW do we have a Fabia owners club here ? At least a thread only for this minuscule minority?
I plan to pm other Fabia owners for their support.
Do help with the spacer info from your ASS please.
regards
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Old 26th May 2015, 17:46   #13
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Hi,
any idea if the spacer would suit the older 1.4 tdi Fabia too.
I am now the proud owner of a pre worshipped Fabia 1.4 tdi and am in the process of getting the car set for a five year run with me.
I need all the help I can get from fellow bhpians.
BTW do we have a Fabia owners club here ? At least a thread only for this minuscule minority?
I plan to pm other Fabia owners for their support.
Do help with the spacer info from your ASS please.
regards
Hello,
Welcome to the Skoda club! Congratulations on the Fabia mate. I am not sure about the Fabia owner club here on this forum. It is definitely required in my opinion considering the many hassles one goes through w.r.t ASS.

Spacer should be compatible with your suspension. But I am not sure, I suggest you call up Tafe Access service center and check.

Cheers!
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Old 20th January 2016, 18:48   #14
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Default Re: My Skoda Fabia 1.2 TDI: An Enthusiast's Hatch

Hi Anurag,

Nice review there Fabia is looking gorgeous with all the updates done.

Need your help on the projector setup as my friend is looking at getting this setup for his fabia too. Can you please provide with some finer details on the procedure to procure these, installation?

Thanks in advance.
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