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Old 26th February 2011, 13:18   #1
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Default Fabia Review 50000KM

After the coming of my Scorpio, I had to sell my Honda 1.5EXI (1998 model, the flat bonnet one), which had done about 80,000Km in its 4 years with me (total 130,000 in 8 years). The height differences of the drivers’ seat started to make it extremely uncomfortable to drive the Honda after getting used to the commanding position of the Scorpio. Uncomfortable highway driving, intersections and near-misses with autorickshaws helped me make up my mind on selling the same. Else, the Honda remains my favourite car for road-holding, reliability and low-maintenance costs.

The Fabia, with its adjustable seat height, steering, and robust build took the family’s fancy and it arrived from Autobahn almost as quickly as it was ordered. The 1.4TDi turned in an average of 12.7KmpL on its very first tank of diesel and I wondered ‘Skoda?’

All the way to its service at 10,000Km, the car had settled down between 13.5 in the city and about 14.7-15.2 on highways. I must agree that speeds of 120+ and at times upto its rated 155 were more often seen than not. An amazing drive in Rajasthan- Mumbai-Mt Abu Road- Jodhpur-Jaisalmer- Barmer- Mumbai in the summer of 2008 saw it working without a sweat. A broken AC Condenser refrigerant pipe was attended to at the Skoda dealership in Jodhpur at 6PM- coordinated by Autobahns staff in Mumbai. I remain grateful to the staff to get the AC working else the 45 deg temperatures would have had me broiled. Rs 1200 to get the pipe braised. Gas+labour free.

A blistering drive from Jaisalmer to Tanot, Longewala and back, saw the car do 130+ consistently along the wonderful border roads. Maybe I will go back to see the scenery one of these days :-P

The fuel tank of 55- often saw me do over 600Km of good driving without the pesky stop… and once it felt great to do Mumbai-Goa on a single tank of gas, as opposed to the Kolhapur stop that the Scorpio would demand after doing 400+.

ABS- this works. It has saved my family once.

Roaring across the desert at 140 near Pokhran in Rajasthan, a milk-can carrying Mahindra pick-up pulled on to the road and I was forced to slam the brakes, swerve into the desert and get back onto the road. The ABS allowed me to steer thru the sand and get back onto the road. All this happened in a strange calm and not for a second was there a sense of panic in the vehicle. Like seat-belts, I would say it’s a must. If you can afford it, buy the ABS version of any car that you are looking at.

The rushing sand+shrubs under the car damaged the ‘kaichi’ and this set me back about Rs 29,000 on my return to Mumbai.

The service provided by Autobahn was good, but very annoying that they always were a day late in giving the car back, and their check-out always made it a chore for my driver to wait for a couple of hours to get the car out, even after reaching them on the time they said that the car would be ready.

Tires lasted for the entire duration of the 48,000Km that the car was with me. Rotated every 5000Km, no early wear-tear was noticed.

Wipers, front and rear- excellent wipe.

In Jan 2010, the AC would start-stop intermittently. The problem got worse and a local AC mechanic diagnosed it to the ‘carbon’ on the radiator fan motor, requiring a replacement finally in April. 10500+Labour- AHA! That reminds me, they had a computer breakdown that day, and was 3-4 weeks since that, I paid an ad-hoc 12K for the same, before I got a receipt for it. They were to call me back and refund any excess payment (if any)… I am just too tired to deal with such a shabby service center.

No suprises, till the time the wife drove- like she did in the earlier Lavasa Rally with the Scorpio (2009), she took the Fabia this time and –WOW- the steady driving, and low upper speeds, the car returned 24 KmpL. I loved the average, but I hate to drive like that. I am at peace with my 13-15 range. The car has potential to perform, to answer my ‘Skoda?’ but its insane to drive that car at 60Kmph on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway.

It felt at home doing 155 from Baroda to Ahmedabad- end to end on the 97Km long tar road… possibly the best single piece of closed road in India.

Worries of replacing all 5 tires (approx 21,000) and maintenance issues that would follow this kind of usage after 50,000 Km made me sell the car- not too soon though. The Radiator fan…

Other than the AC pipe, which was replaced in Mumbai along with the kaichi (not under warranty), nothing else required replacement under the warranty. No bulbs, no fuses, no horn, no nothing.

The solidity of the car, the doors, the hatchback door, the ‘planted’ feel on the highways, has spoilt me for other vehicles.

Possibly the only vehicle reaching its standards is the Polo, of which I await the diesel option- I hear they got the Govt approval for the engine (clearing of BS IV norms?) just last week- and maybe that’s what we will buy. I dread to think that the Fabia is then my only remaining option.

For people who drive gentler/lesser, there are many other cars- i20, Figo, Punto, Beat, Swift… I have nothing against them.

Drive alert and wear your seat-belts.
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Old 26th February 2011, 16:53   #2
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Default Re: Fabia Review 50000KM

A nice and brief review. And man, that encounter with the mahindra pick-up was wicked. Take care. The built quality of skoda fabia is amazing, better than swift and most of the competition. Once traveled in a fabia from mumbai to pune, and touched 160. Felt really stable and planted.
I assume you haven't encountered any rattles?

Last edited by DMehta : 26th February 2011 at 16:54.
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Old 26th February 2011, 18:08   #3
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Default Re: Fabia Review 50000KM

Picasa Web Albums - Kamlesh Desai - Scorpio Images


Picasa Web Albums - Kamlesh Desai

I should include these somewhere....
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Old 28th February 2011, 18:54   #4
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Default Re: Fabia Review 50000KM

No rattles at all.

I must say, I sold the car, and purchased the 90HP Punto.

The Punto gives a much better average, about 15 in the city, and about 19+ on hwys when kept under 80 (especially in the first 2-3000Km).

First Service cost me some 400 bucks, of which some 280 went towards the glass portion of the side mirror which fell off on the Pune Expressway... Duh????

6000+Km, the car is not getting as many miles as the Fabia due to altered work locations... but no rattles, shakes or irritants on this vehicle.

Its a much smarter steering car than the Fabia, does about 150KmpH. But the Fabia was a better car- overall.


Difficult to explain.... but Fabia is better.


KD
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Old 1st March 2011, 15:44   #5
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Default Re: Fabia Review 50000KM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hammer & Anvil View Post

Its a much smarter steering car than the Fabia, does about 150KmpH. But the Fabia was a better car- overall.

KD
Which one would you rate better for highway manners? My friend is struck between punto and fabia and it would be nice to hear your feedback. We majorly looking for a hatchback which is at its best in highways.
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Old 2nd March 2011, 17:19   #6
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Default Re: Fabia Review 50000KM

I must agree that the Skoda feels much better on highways. I speak for the Fabia Diesel.

I am sure.

Fabia wins.

YOu see I will try and explain this by the seat of my pants...

The engine is a far freer breathing engine and it willingly runs to 155 before running out of complete steam, but the chassis feels like it was made to handle the 1.9TDI, which in fact it does in European countries.

YOu can take the Baroda_ahmedabad expressway and do 155 end to end, and not feel breathless (you OR the car).

You can put it in 3rd and charge up the ghats on the Mumbai Pune Expresssway, and on clearing lonavala, put it in 5th like nothing happened.

Its a tireless runner.

Irritants like service center woes and expensive parts, I would say- part of the price to pay.

The Punto- I console myself, that I drive my Scorpio to Panvel thrice a week... and my wife does the Punto to her office...

No, the Fabia wins.


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