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Old 8th August 2010, 07:53   #1
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Default Skoda "The Tank" Fabia, Ambiente Petrol

Disclaimer: This is my first car, right after driving school and additional practice hours. Nevertheless, as you may notice along this thread, I often tend to talk like an expert, and in fact frequently feel like one when I'm not behind the wheel, for which I entirely blame my last eight months of browsing team-bhp.

"Eight months following team-bhp and you bought a Skoda?!" - I hear you scream. Now stop banging. I am not going to justify myself - pathetic fuel economy figures, about to be changed engine, high maintainance cost, and the infamous A. S. S.,.. - figured I just cant. "So then why a Skoda?" - you still persist, for which my only answer is "I liked it".

After one year of waiting for one hatch after the other to hit the market, I finally decided its time. Truth be told Skoda was no where in my options list. While wavering from Figo-TDCi to Punto MJT to Punto-Fire to i20 to Polo, a chance drop-in at the Skoda showroom and a closer feel of the Fabia made me say "finally here is a company that knows how to make their cars". This might sound like an exaggeration. But just take a closer look at, say i20 and the Fabia, I bet my 2cents, you will dispute. If you think I am on dope including the Polo to this list, just see what Top Gear UK has to say. Of course, the 60k+ discount presently on the Fabia was the main deal maker.

Well, all that said, it still remains a Skoda. So just hoping that a boy racer in a Pulsar doesn't break my heated ORVM - I may have to sell house.

Skoda - Fabia, Ambiente 1.2lt Petrol
Warranty: 2 years, no option of extended warranty (Till then. Is there some good news now?)
Color: Cappuccino beige (where do they cook these names! Its neither Coffee, nor beige, kind of metallic grey. But lovely color)
Freebies: Mudflap (promised, but no stock), Mats, 45lt Petrol, Sunfilm & Teflon (SC says it is 3M. I dont see the mark. Teflon - 3 coat). Comes with a under body anti-rust coat done, apparently.

36km on the odo during PDI, and 53km on delivery after registration.

Price Break Up:
Showroom: 5,66,702/- (after 60k discount)
Road tax, Regn + handling: 39600/-
Insurance: 14,154/- comprehensive from Reliance

Next up: Exterior.
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Old 8th August 2010, 10:17   #2
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Congrats on the buy. Its always good to buy with your heart, with a pinch of head! Because if you dont, after your purchase, you will keep regretting, why did'nt you buy this or that!

Skoda services are at least improving in Bangalore (per what I heard). Hope you got the 4 year warranty as well!

All said and done, its awesome car! Ideal hatch. Engine yes questionable.

If the next gen Fabia gets launched with TSI petrol and a CRDI diesel, it would go to the next level!

CRDI hopeful, but TSI questionable, at that may push the price north of 10L.
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Old 8th August 2010, 12:12   #3
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Default Exterior

What this could've been: A ownership report of the new 2010 Fabia, with the refined 1.2L 3pot doing duty in the Polo.

What this is: A (largely pictorial) review of a about to be discontinued model bought in a closing down sale, after spending a month idling in the yard I might add. But given that most of the features are likely to be carried over to the new Fabia about to hit the road soon, I expect the review to be useful for some.

There is reason why the concept of a 'closing down sale' exists. The type where you ask for a rebate on the bed spread, and they also throw in a couple of free pillows along. For, it sells if you have a good product, A 60k off, sun film, mats, flaps, 45 litre petrol,.. Funny thing - I was not even bargaining.

I've heard its built like a tank. A 'tank on tyres' it is (Yeah! I was inspired by the 'tijori on wheels' take on Punto. Sue me Sid!). Opening and closing the door once is enough to tell the difference from the others in the segment. A European hybrid, it carries the ruggedness of the East, and understated suaveness of the West. Talking of European, Skoda seems to have taken the Europeanness a little too far - indicator and wiper controls, bonnet release are all placed on the other side, just one rear fog lamp, steel spare wheel - all so European. Even the manual is for the European version, which talks of a hazaar features that simply dont exist in any version sold in India. So, not possible to say if a feature doesn't work, or simply isn't there. Good part, they have carried over the sturdy monocoque as it is to the Indian version, unlike the i20.

The winged arrow: This is one badge, whose higher end siblings are more easily sighted on the road than their cheapest offering - a trait it shares with the Jazz. In fact, even after three years, I get a feeling they have more Fabias in the showroom than on the road.
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Paint quality is excellent. A definite traffic stopper if you take it out clean. Although my choice was the Cappucino beige, I liked all the choices offered by Skoda. They are deep, have a different hue, elegent and easily stand out from the crowd. European standard pedestrian safety norms means plastic radiator grille and bumber. A right dose of chrome to render class. A scratch was noticed on the front bumber during PDI and reported. The entire bumber was re-painted by the dealer. The black synthetic layering below bumper looks like good material, adds a nice touch. Good set of headlights, and fogs.

Chunky 5 spokes. 185/60 R14 standard across all variants. Disk up front, and drum at the rear. The Ambiente also comes with ABS and ESP.
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Heated ORVM with timer function. Covers the road well. First blood - courtesy city Transport Corporation bus. 'will remain closed for eternity.

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Light tinted sunfilm as part of freebies. SC suggested Garware, I insistd on 3M. Is it really? Don't see the logo anywhere. Air bubbles a plenty - Skoda service at work.
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Rather plain rear. Integrated HMSL. Exhaust nicely tucked under.
No variat badge - by principle, I believe.
No key hole - to keep it simple.
No defoggers - as a cost cutting measure. Not even on the Elegance these days, I am told.
And no dealer sticker - on special request.
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Oil tank can be open only with the key. So have to walk out while filling.
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What Skoda calls the 'rough road package'. A thick stretch of layer, 3 inch wide and all the way from front to the back wheel. I was told the car comes with a under body anti rust coating, so nothing additionally required. Is that so?
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The GC: Official figure of 146mm is under the bonnet area. But between wheels, where it matters, its definitely higher. Have driven on some worse roads and back breakers already, but never scraped the bottom.

Next Up: Interior
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Old 8th August 2010, 12:26   #4
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Congrats 2cents for the Fabia. You certainly got a good deal with so many freebies thrown in. Get rid of these air bubbles asap.
BTW, Any news about the new Fabia?
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Old 8th August 2010, 13:02   #5
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Default Interior

Space-definitely best in the segment. Good support from the seats. Adjustable head
rest on all four. Seat belts with pretensioners. 3 point seat belts even for the 5th passenger. Have travelled myself as the middle passenger in the rear. No issues at all, inspite of the tall transmission tunnel.
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Magazine holders at the back of front passenger seats.
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AC vents under front passenger seats for the rear. Freebie floor mat from the dealer underneath, and rubber wire mesh mat from local market (Rs 1150/-), and cut to shape.
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60:40 split. But do not fold flat. So, cant take your bicycle standing (Which hatch in India can carry a cycle in standing position?)!
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Good leg room. Even the front passenger gets a height adjuster.
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Seat pull-back lever.
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I hear the rotary incline adjust is better than the lever type, which I would have preferred.
Not so convenient to operate.
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Good number of cubby holes.
On door, with a retainer string,
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on gear console (and central lock),
and rear, but not on the rear doors.

Aux in for audio, and cigar lighter below the hand brake. Will the new version get USB support or Bluetooth!!
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The transmission tunnel doubles as a wall between the two rear passengers!! No coying business around here eih!! Similar in Polo too, where the puny rear space makes it even worse. One area where I give a big thumbs up for i20. The Korean tunnel is just a couple of inches above floor.
Skoda "The Tank" Fabia, Ambiente Petrol-tunnel.jpg
Good quality plastic has been well talked about. Dual tone interior is not my favorite, all black would've been my choice. Was even thinking of going for Classic just for this. Doors have part fabric too. Doors are sturdy, and open in three stages- European again. Ok! I now see what you guys mean by the 'thud' factor! A good rubber lining to keep the noice off. Oh yeah! the 3 pot is a rumbler for sure.
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Rear door locks can be disabled with the key - child safety.
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AC vents look simple, but of good quality. AC Cools well on knob position 2. Rear passengers get separate vents.
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Instrument cluster has speedo, RPM meter, and a display that has a clock, ODO, Fuel tank indicator and trip meter. Elegence comes with a Multy Function Display, which also shows Fuel consumption, among other things. A lot of lights come up on start, and go down indicating a self test.
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Stock music system sounds good. The SC kept raving about Bosch set up. I think he meant Blau'. Or is it?All four speakers (2 way component system) on the front. Tweeter on the A pillar. Slots for another 2 way component set on the rear doors. Wanted to know if the wiring is done already. A service guy was called up. The ignonimity of having to answer a customer writ on his face, the guy shook his head like a fly was buzzing around his ears. The SC interpreted that as a 'yes'. Can someone confirm? Ticket holder on the A pillar and tweeter. Freebie did not include clear sun film on the front.
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Power windows on all four doors. No separate door locks though, but for the central locking. Pull lever twice to unlock. Auto locking is 'Off' by default. Got it set 'On' at 20km. The power windows have a one touch function. Press just once to roll them up/down all the way. Press again to stop. Have used it several times in traffic already. Pretty convenient. Regular press-n-hold works too.
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Windows also have a 'bounce back feature' on obstruction. Put your fingers in between while closing, and the windows roll down (But not before a good shot on your fingers though. Trust me, I have tested. Could've woken up the neighborhood if it were my two year old).

Electrically adjustable heated ORVM. Heater comes with a inbuilt timer.
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Can't comment much on the steering (electro hydraulic), gear shift, clutch and brakes though - newbie driver. But definitely loving it. Believe these technicals must be the same as Polo, so ask GTO. Nice feel, and right size, on the steering. Tilt and telescopic adjust standard.
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Gear shift same as Polo. Reverse above First gear, push down to engage (my neighbour was confused searching for the reverse. After I explained he looked a little confused for a moment and asked 'isn't this Swift?!').
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Up Next: Interior continued
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Old 8th August 2010, 15:14   #6
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Default Interior: continued

Good space at the foot well. Has a dead pedal too, but somehow dont find it very convenient to use.
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Glove box, cool and illuminated. Not big enough though. AC vent can be adjusted, but the auto lights cannot be switched off. The rubber studs are a nice touch, and the plastic quality is definitely a notch above competition. .
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Two more open storage areas: One above glove box (Elegance gets a lid), and another behind the steering (below light switch, and head light level adjuster).
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Two SRS Airbags, standard across all variants. No switch to disable passenger side airbag. Weird position for the passenger side I felt. Facing vertically up. SC assured me it works just fine. Wide RVM covers the rear well. Has an anti-glare switch too.
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Central locking switch on the gear console, with cubby holes and ashtray.
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European hangover:
Indicator, wiper stocks switch sides. Tap a little, up or down, for the indicators to flash just thrice.
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Bonnet release on the passenger side! No separate boot or oil lid release.
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315 Litre boot, largest in the segment (Jazz??!). Seats can fold down to take it to over 1000. Boot light switches on automatically, no switch. Parcel tray can be put in two positons. Metal on the corner to tie down stuff, can be useful when kidnapping. Jus' kidding (While on kidnapping, if you ever get kidnapped in the boot, there is a emergency exit procedure, wherein you can unlock the hatch from inside, but can still be opened only from outside). Mats not part of standard equipment.
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Spare tyre (with steel wheel - ahh! so European!!). Tool set and spare bulbs nicely packed in styro. No rattles there. Some of the slots in the styro are empty - cant say if that's how they are supposed to be, or just vanished at the dealers. The manual does talk about a few things, but with a '*', indicating it may not be there in some variants/countries. A set of reflectors and first aid box are supplied additionally.
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Two interior lights, front and center. The center one also lights up on unlocking doors, auto-off on lock, or few minutes after doors close. Front map lights has standard features. Doubles up as reading light too, with separate switches for driver and passenger. Elegance also gets a sunglass holder right behind the maplight, the thing that looks like a AC vent but actually has some electricals inside. .
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Two vanity mirrors on either visor, can be closed. The dirver side sun visor also has a ticket holder.
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Next Up: Engine bay and some additonal stuff.
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Old 8th August 2010, 15:42   #7
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Default The engine bay, and some other stuff.

The 3pot BS3 engine generates 70BHP@5400 and 108Nm torque@3000. A refined BS4 version of the same, that is presently seen in Polo, is expected to be the replacement soon. I could've waited, but then without the discounts it would be well beyond my reach. Cant talk much about the technical stuff, but here's a look.
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Should'nt there be a cover over the engine? The SC denied, but from what they have done to the rest of the car, very unlikely for Skoda to leave it that way. You can even see four lock holes where a lid or something must fit in. Remember, the car was in the yard for a month.
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Rather simple repeaters.
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Nice pair of folding key fobs (seen these elsewhere?!)- Lock, boot unlock, and Unlock. I am told 'press and hold' lock/unlock buttons can work the windows too on the Polo. Doesn't work here. Manual, Service book, and manual for the music system, in a nice pouch.
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As I mentioned earlier, manual is for the European version. Atleast would not have been bulky if it were rewritten for the Indian version. Still worse, I reckon its a direct translation from Czech, German, or some Nordic language using google translation tool. Those familiar with literature translated from German would understand.

Cheap gratification:
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Is that the ABS unit?!
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Other accessories: Bought - Jopasu duster and wipe - Rs. 695/-.

Planned - a mini hand held vacuum cleaner, Art leather seat covers, door scuff guards and a set of speakers for the rear. Suggestions welcome.

FE figures so far: The multi function display, that shows instantaneous FE figures, are available only in the Elegance variant. 360km on the odo. After I filled up recently, my calculation shows me 7.7km/l. Still running-in, and remember I am newbie. Hope this improves to a decent 12 or 13 in time. Skoda claims 15. Yeah right!!

Last edited by 2cents : 8th August 2010 at 16:01.
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Old 8th August 2010, 15:42   #8
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You are one confident Skoda owner - thats for sure.
I guess the rumble against skoda in Tbhp has more to do against their A.S.S rather than the cars themselves.
Sweet equipments to make your ride comfortable - I really like them!
Enjoy your drive - and please keep the left ORVM open (it may cost you 250-300 bucks to repaint it, but might save you a side scrape on the door which costs 2000-3000 to repaint. And did I mention that it is after all - a looking glass to cover most of your left side blind spots?)
Happy motoring!
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Old 8th August 2010, 15:45   #9
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Excellent Thread. Congrats on the Buy.
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Old 8th August 2010, 17:07   #10
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Originally Posted by 2cents View Post
"Eight months following team-bhp and you bought a Skoda?!" - I hear you scream. Now stop banging. I am not going to justify myself - pathetic fuel economy figures, about to be changed engine, high maintainance cost, and the infamous A. S. S.,.. - figured I just cant. "So then why a Skoda?" - you still persist, for which my only answer is "I liked it".
I love your car buying philsophy. I'm of exactly the same mould. If the heart says yes, just go for it.
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Old 8th August 2010, 17:21   #11
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A very detailed and thorough review. The FE figure seems dismal at the moment. Hope it shoots north after your 1st service. About the engine cover, hope some Fabia owner can clarify soon.

Originally Posted by blackasta View Post
and please keep the left ORVM open (it may cost you 250-300 bucks to repaint it, but might save you a side scrape on the door which costs 2000-3000 to repaint.
+1 to that. Not using the ORVM for the fear of breaking it, is akin to not sailing the ship in the ocean for the fear of sinking it, IMO.

Last edited by lsp : 8th August 2010 at 17:25.
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Old 8th August 2010, 17:55   #12
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I love all the products from Skoda, yet I wouldn't buy a Skoda - Thanks to the education from TBhp & for some reason I think through brain when it comes to Skoda. You know the result? Every time I see a Skoda on road (right from Fabia to Superb) I keep mumbling, "beautiful car" & if I happen to see one such when walking; I turn my heads until it disappears on road.

But you took the courage @2cents to own one which I don't dare & now you can keep gazing over your own car unlike me. Congratulations & I sincerely wish you get good service & pleasing ownership experience from Skoda.
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Old 8th August 2010, 18:37   #13
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Congrats on the buy 2cents. Skoda's are definitely well built cars and hope you have a problem free ownership.

And as Blackasta stated, as a new driver you should practice using both the ORVM's as they reduce your blind-spots and makes one a safer driver.
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Old 8th August 2010, 20:21   #14
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Hay !

This is definitely one of the most comprehensive ownership reviews ive read in my 5 yrs over here ! Covered everything about the car ! Great stuff man !

Ive always liked the fabia, Only,if it came with more powerful engine options, i would have picked it up over the swift !
Enjoy ur ride, and keep us updated ! Especially about the A$S. !

Cheers !
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Old 8th August 2010, 20:51   #15
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Hey 2cents,

Congrats on your new acquisition!! This being your first hatch, i love the way you have written the ownership experience.

Happy motoring!!


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