What is it
The hot version of Skoda's Fabia gets a VW-group, 1.4-litre supercharged turbo engine with 132kW at 6200rpm and 250Nm anywhere from 2000 to 4500rpm, put to the front wheels via VW's seven-speed DSG double-clutch auto. That's the same engine as Volkswagen's $37,500 Polo GTI, for $500 less.
Fabia is a comfy, compact hatch with a 300-litre boot that'll expand to a useful 1163 litres with the rear seats folded. It has six airbags, stability control, climate control, cruise control, ABS brakes, a 6.2l/100km claimed thirst, which you'll achieve only if you never explore its sporting credentials, and bag hooks in the boot.
This wonderfully flexible engine with its plentiful mid-range kick and feisty soundtrack also delivers reasonably frugal and flexible low-revs ability. The sports suspension makes for agile handling while remaining compliant enough for everyday comfort.
Conservatively styled cabin doesn't match the sporty seats, nor this car's spicey driver appeal. The too-small price saving over the Polo may puzzle buyers still stymied by Skoda's fuddy-duddy past.