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Old 7th April 2008, 04:25   #1
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Exclamation Skoda Fabia Diesel Review

Hi All,

Team-Bhp newbie but not a newbie to cars. Here's my review of the Skoda Fabia Diesel, taken from my Mouthshut.com posting. Enjoy:

Obscenely OVERPRICED + Very NOISY= Premium Hatch?

Let’s get something straight - I was one of the Fabia fanatics, waiting with cheerleader pom poms at Skoda dealerships, in eager anticipation of India’s first PREMIUM hatch. I was, in fact, one of the first to see the Fabia, alongwith the dealership’s owner on it’s day of delivery to their warehouse.

To say that I left disappointed would be an understatement.

My 5 main concerns after my test drive are:

1) PRICE - At 8+ lacs on road Mumbai for a Diesel small car? Are you kidding me?!!!? Who in their right mind would pay that? Sure stubborn Fabia advocates will throw the whole "niche" market arguement out there, but the honest truth is that the car is 1 - 1.25 lacs overpriced. And to rub more salt in the wound, it doesn’t even offer Automatic Climate Control!!!!

2) NOISE - The only way I can illustrate how noisy this car is, is to ask you to stand next to a 2 year old Tata Indica. That’s because I have an old Tata Indica and the 3 cyl PD Diesel is JUST as noisy. Not a little less...JUST as noisy. I was shocked at the lack of insulation/ refinement. Unlike the Swift Diesel that can hardly be heard at a stoplight, make no mistake, your neighbors at the traffic lights will know which fuel you use.....perhaps the cars at the light ahead of you will too?

3) POWER - Another example of Skoda India’s poor decision making. Did you know that the 1.4 L 3 Cyl Turbo Charged engine sold by the VAG group, parent company of Skoda, is available in two configurations - a 68 Horsepower version that is sold in India AND a 78 Horsepower version that get’s better mileage/ emissions??

When I drove the Fabia, it felt adequately powered at mid range revs but NOT till the revs built higher to about 2200 rpms. Till 2200 rpms, I was disappointed with the throttle response and as comparison 0-60 times have shown, FIATs 1.3 Multijet has it beat.

4) SPACE - The car is spacious and the car is cramped. So far, no small car I’ve sat in beats the Indica for space. None. This car, does have room but its not meant for more than 4 people. You can’t seat a 3rd person in the rear seat because a plastic center rear console would create alot of bottom pain

5) 14 INCH WHEELS - The Fabia is sold internationally with 15 inch wheels/ tires. The Fabia in India is sold with 14 inchers. The naive viewer will think that has something to do with ride quality. That is, simply naive. The truth is simply: Cost cutting. The Fabia is perfectly capable of riding on 15 inch rubber in India. Give Skoda some time, I’m pretty sure they’ll wisen up just like GM did with the Optra(read my Optra review) and just like a couple other car manufacturers did

Three Things I like about the Fabia:

1) RIDE/ BUILD QUALITY - Simply put, nothing beats it. Not the Palio or even the Indica. Infact, there are C segment cars that are beaten. There are plenty of articles of praise, so I won’t dwell on this

2) INTERIOR/ EXTERIOR FINISH- Again, unbeatable. Especially on the top of the line Diesel variant. The beige/ black contrast is very pleasing and the interiors put a smile on my face. The sunroof is another first for this segment and, though small, is definately eye candy. Projector headlamps on the car were designed to house HID aka Xenon lights, but cheap ol’ Skoda India placed regular Halogens in there instead.

3) TECHNOLOGY - Pretty high for India. Sunroof, iPod Jack, Rear Parking Sensors, Projector Headlights, Dash display and a decent integrated Sound system are nice haves BUT NO Automatic AC controller, NO HID bulbs to go into the projector housing etc. are sore points

All in all, I’d give this product a 6.5/ 10. The price is the main reason why I cancelled my booking and decided to wait for Skoda to wisen up. The noise and tight fisted trim levels on the part of the company didn’t help either
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Old 7th April 2008, 12:38   #2
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Is the Fabia overpriced? You bet. Your report puts it in a nutshell. Thanks for sharing.
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Old 7th April 2008, 14:15   #3
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Was at bandstand on saturday and got to hear a Fabia diesel. It sure is noisy.

But the build quality is good and space inside the car is good enough.
Great review dude.
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Old 7th April 2008, 15:32   #4
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Why is the petrol model being ignored.

I wish someone would review the petrol fabia!
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Old 7th April 2008, 15:57   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Screwdriva View Post
2) NOISE - The only way I can illustrate how noisy this car is, is to ask you to stand next to a 2 year old Tata Indica. Thatís because I have an old Tata Indica and the 3 cyl PD Diesel is JUST as noisy. Not a little less...JUST as noisy. I was shocked at the lack of insulation/ refinement. Unlike the Swift Diesel that can hardly be heard at a stoplight, make no mistake, your neighbors at the traffic lights will know which fuel you use.....perhaps the cars at the light ahead of you will too?
Couldn't agree more. Very noisy at idling and during ride also. Have to crank up the crappy HU, turn up the AC and roll up the windows to reduce the noise.

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Originally Posted by Screwdriva View Post
4) SPACE - The car is spacious and the car is cramped. So far, no small car Iíve sat in beats the Indica for space. None. This car, does have room but its not meant for more than 4 people. You canít seat a 3rd person in the rear seat because a plastic center rear console would create alot of bottom pain
Yes it is damn spacious. As much as the Getz. But thats more for the front seats. Rears are a tad bit tight. Anyways, nothing beats the Indica. Its as big as a small studio appt in Mumbai

Quote:
Originally Posted by Screwdriva View Post
1) RIDE/ BUILD QUALITY - Simply put, nothing beats it. Not the Palio or even the Indica. Infact, there are C segment cars that are beaten. There are plenty of articles of praise, so I wonít dwell on this
I agree. Ride and build quality is probably comparable to 8-10 L segment cars. Maybe thats how Skoda justifies the high price tag!
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Old 7th April 2008, 17:05   #6
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That is pretty concise from Screwdriva. The stats from Autocar(or something similar indicate that the Fabia is off to some kind of a flier in sales- as against the 10k sales Skoda had targeted for the car). I guess this indicates that there are a lot more folks who go for the badge and interior ergonimics,rather than the overall package itself, which does not make good economic sense at all.
To each his own...

I had great expectations from the car
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Old 7th April 2008, 17:43   #7
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8+ L OTR Mumbai is sure out of reach for any small hatch. I would rather buy a Sedan rather than go for this. Meaning Skoda has not priced it properly. It would have been better if they have priced it around 7L so that it would have given some competition to its competitors. Hope they will meet the sales figures they have thought off.

Last edited by snaronikar : 7th April 2008 at 17:44.
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Old 7th April 2008, 17:47   #8
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Sure, the Fabia is ridiculously overpriced and noisy engine too. Have seen only one Fabia till date and it was the diesel, I could tell from far away.
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Old 7th April 2008, 20:28   #9
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Thumbs down No way

I don't want to but I hope the Fabia won't make it's 10,000 vehicle sales target. The Indian public shouldn't allow themselves to take this kinda of exploitation

When you factor in prices of the competitors like the Swift Zdi (Bound to be atleast 1.25 lacs cheaper IF they ever launch it), the new Indica and other inbound hatches, the Fabia will be crushed.

If you ask me, Skoda's modest sales target is simply because they know they wouldn't be able to sell more volume even if they tried.

It's bad enough that BMW and Mercedes charge us double the price for half the car. If the smaller brands start this trend, the exploitation will never stop.
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Old 7th April 2008, 20:48   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Screwdriva View Post
I don't want to but I hope the Fabia won't make it's 10,000 vehicle sales target.
10k??? Thats way too high. I have only seen 1 red fabia in entire NCR region till date.
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Old 7th April 2008, 20:58   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Screwdriva View Post
I don't want to but I hope the Fabia won't make it's 10,000 vehicle sales target. The Indian public shouldn't allow themselves to take this kinda of exploitation

When you factor in prices of the competitors like the Swift Zdi (Bound to be atleast 1.25 lacs cheaper IF they ever launch it), the new Indica and other inbound hatches, the Fabia will be crushed.

If you ask me, Skoda's modest sales target is simply because they know they wouldn't be able to sell more volume even if they tried.

It's bad enough that BMW and Mercedes charge us double the price for half the car. If the smaller brands start this trend, the exploitation will never stop.
I wish too, you can not say as long as there are folks that think Skoda is a status symbol and do not necessarily look for value on the money spent.
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Old 7th April 2008, 21:14   #12
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Default Sigh!

I think its safe to say that everyone would like a Fabia, if they could afford it.

Makes it that much harder to resist spending the extra $ when a small car is as good as the Fabia. It's a shame that the car that was supposed to redifine the B+ segment, went ahead and created it's own C- Segment.
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Old 7th April 2008, 21:44   #13
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I completely agree with that.
Even with all the features, its very very overpriced for a small car.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Screwdriva View Post
I think its safe to say that everyone would like a Fabia, if they could afford it.
At that price for a small car I'd rather take a Fiesta, at least I get a boot, If not that I'd be looking at a petrol Optra.

Last edited by gendarmee : 7th April 2008 at 21:46. Reason: adding quote
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Old 7th April 2008, 21:58   #14
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having read all the opinions, i think the conclusion is uniform. The Fabia is goddamn overpriced. The only thing going for it is superb interiors(though average equip levels) and good build quality, though this is remotely not enough for justifying the requirement to own this car as it is not particularly not an outstanding auto in any other aspect..
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Old 8th April 2008, 08:07   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Screwdriva View Post
Hi All,



1) PRICE - At 8+ lacs on road Mumbai for a Diesel small car? Are you kidding me?!!!? Who in their right mind would pay that? Sure stubborn Fabia advocates will throw the whole "niche" market arguement out there, but the honest truth is that the car is 1 - 1.25 lacs overpriced. And to rub more salt in the wound, it doesnít even offer Automatic Climate Control!!!!
you said it mate. i think at the left hand end of 6-7 lacs maruti is the only one giving climate control. shame on the others. and 1 lac is huge money. if i were to buy a VXI sx4, i could still get a nano for the rest of the money.

Quote:

2) NOISE - The only way I can illustrate how noisy this car is, is to ask you to stand next to a 2 year old Tata Indica. Thatís because I have an old Tata Indica and the 3 cyl PD Diesel is JUST as noisy. Not a little less...JUST as noisy. I was shocked at the lack of insulation/ refinement. Unlike the Swift Diesel that can hardly be heard at a stoplight, make no mistake, your neighbors at the traffic lights will know which fuel you use.....perhaps the cars at the light ahead of you will too?
Quote:
3) POWER - Another example of Skoda Indiaís poor decision making. Did you know that the 1.4 L 3 Cyl Turbo Charged engine sold by the VAG group, parent company of Skoda, is available in two configurations - a 68 Horsepower version that is sold in India AND a 78 Horsepower version that getís better mileage/ emissions??

When I drove the Fabia, it felt adequately powered at mid range revs but NOT till the revs built higher to about 2200 rpms. Till 2200 rpms, I was disappointed with the throttle response and as comparison 0-60 times have shown, FIATs 1.3 Multijet has it beat.
1.3 multijet is the engine to die for. and the swift DDiS with that engine is the car to really drive within the city. honest. i ve been tirelessly driving it since 12500 kms now and have no one single complaint so far (the rattles are a luxury feature according to maruti, so we ll leave that aside )

Quote:

4) SPACE - The car is spacious and the car is cramped. So far, no small car Iíve sat in beats the Indica for space. None. This car, does have room but its not meant for more than 4 people. You canít seat a 3rd person in the rear seat because a plastic center rear console would create alot of bottom pain
well said. there is yet a car which has to match Indica in terms of passenger comfort and space. so much true that even till date a city taxi i take HAS to be an indica !!

Quote:
5) 14 INCH WHEELS - The Fabia is sold internationally with 15 inch wheels/ tires. The Fabia in India is sold with 14 inchers. The naive viewer will think that has something to do with ride quality. That is, simply naive. The truth is simply: Cost cutting. The Fabia is perfectly capable of riding on 15 inch rubber in India. Give Skoda some time, Iím pretty sure theyíll wisen up just like GM did with the Optra(read my Optra review) and just like a couple other car manufacturers did
when the swift can go all the way upto 18", i dont see why fabia skimps on offering bigger tyres. it is the tyres which make all the ride difference on the road honestly. i still am very satisfied that i went to sai iyengar for my 15 inchers for my swift. i just love them. every pothole eaten up seamlessly.
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