UK Car Road Test

Skoda Fabia Classic 1.9 TDi 2002

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UK Car road test Skoda Fabia Classic.


A family member of the VAG (Volkswagen Audi Group).

This car is the 1.9 SDi and very much from VW's stable but remains very much a Skoda in that it offers great reliability, lesser cost price new and used and very cheap running costs. It has superb finishing and a classy green badge to match the paintwork.

 

The Fabia is available in 5 door hatch and Estate variety. This basic model is built and supplied for day-to-day use without any airs and graces and is not overwhelming in appearance and neither is it ugly well, not entirely. The bonnet is quite aggressive and the shape is similar to a Mazda 323 from the front.

It would be easy to ridicule this car due to its pedigree and name, however Skoda is Skoda and not Lada and so therefore should be considered in a factual way.  Skoda won many a rally back in the eighties with it's 120 series which was a horrible drive with everything in the back including the engine and gearbox.  The clutch and brake pedals were just like a Porsche 911 - they depressed into the floor away from you and downward which was great for lower leg and calf building. Can't all be that bad, then, as a Porsche is considered to be unique with such a quirk but Skoda is ridiculed.

Skoda's demise was due to lack of European interest when Ford and Vauxhall fought for the small private sector throughout the late seventies and eighties. VAG was in the background selling millions of cars, particularly Polos and Golfs, making it a very successful car maker to this day and becoming even stronger in a more competitive marketplace. VAG increased its family through other marques by acquiring companies such as Rolls Royce, Lambourghini, SEAT and Skoda. 

Fabulous chrome

The satin black is very subtle

This Skoda has now been around for a few years and it is a great improvement in many ways. Reliability was always good for this marque and is still very much so. What VW have done best is to invest time developing the ergonomics, shape and general look. The car is tastefully presented with the subtle use of black to the window frames, mirror housings and handles. A little chrome is used to boast the fact that it's a diesel which is all very understated but acceptable.

The interior view is simple, clean and very easily understood. The steering wheel houses a small airbag and is central to the driver (some small cars have the steering wheel offset to compensate for limited space). The finish quality is very good indeed. The paintwork is very high class with several coats of primers and paints. Seat trim, door panels and dash are not bright and garish but I guess grey is the magnolia colour for cars which don't take any chance or try to be different.

Quality look

with very neat lines

Small rear spoiler adding

to a very good drag factor

 

 

VW have very much brought the Skoda into a more discerning market place with the current models of Octavia and Superb being up with all other makers and holding their own.

Skoda is not renowned for its lavish style and executive cars so the specification larder is not caviar and salmon in the Fabia range.

The Fabia car is marketed as the affordable transport model which it does very well. The standard specification for the Classic range is sparse; standard equipment includes a radio cassette with a power output only to the front, time clock, rear wash/wipe, parcel shelf, etc. The list goes on only a little more without any excitement with a rev counter and wheel trims! 

So why would you buy this very affordable little car? Cos it's a little workhorse and not a gismo and gadget car!

Not quite up to Toyota garishness

Just totally Classic

Comfort Features
Adjustable Steering Column
Adjustable Steering Column
Cloth Trim
Cloth Trim
Front Door Bins
Front Door Bins
Head Rests (front & rear)
Head Rests (front & rear)
Height Adjustable Drivers Seat
Height Adjustable Drivers Seat
Height Adjustable Seat Belts
Height Adjustable Seat Belts
Remote Boot Release
Remote Boot Release
Remote Petrol Cap Release
Remote Petrol Cap Release
Split rear seats
Split rear seats
Time Clock
Time Clock
General Features
Chrome Grille
Chrome Grille
Colour Coded Bumpers
Colour Coded Bumpers
Heated Rear Window
Heated Rear Window
Rear Wash Wipe
Rear Wash Wipe
Luxury Features
Adjustable Mirrors
Adjustable Mirrors
Cigarette Lighter
Cigarette Lighter
Radio Cassette
Radio Cassette
Trip Counter
Trip Counter

 

 


The car is powered by the1.9 SDi engine which is by far the better engine in the Fabia low horse power range - this one produces a modest 64 bhp. It starts with ease at all times and in all conditions; this engine has been in the market for many years and just keeps getting better and stronger, developing in its athletic guise to 150bhp in other makes. This non-tuned version with 64 bhp is ultra strong and perfect for its body weight. 

Turn the key and this little car's heart simply comes to life with aplomb and quietly revolves with ease. It's a clean running and very efficient unit, producing mega miles for every gallon of derv and very low emissions, making it one of the cheapest UK car road tax bands.

The engine's cool coat.

Complete with its designer badge.

Around the suburban streets this car is quick from the traffic lights and thrifty when sitting at them. On open roads the car performs very well indeed; I can't say it's great but then it's not a GT, SR, MG or alike. It's what it says it is - an SDi - and not even Turbo.

The Fabia is a small car for travelling in a non-executive way. It does this task very well and almost  runs forever on a gallon of diesel. 
Motorway use is very surprising; the wind and tyre noise is minimal at 70mph and the fact that the engine is hardly having to work or strain makes for a very relaxing and pleasant journey. 

I used this car for three days and never faulted it at all - the gearbox is very light and very well matched to the engine, synchromesh is on all forward gears and the selection is slick, smooth and predictable. 

Service Interval Insurance Group Safety Rating Smog Rating
10000 4 Not Available Band (A)
Engine BHP CC Fuel Inj.
Diesel 4 Cylinder 64 1896 No
Cyl Camshafts Valves/cyl Compressor
4 Single 2 None
Top Speed 0 to 60 BHP per Tonne
96mph 18.6seconds 54
MPG@Urban MPG@Cruise MPG@Speed Fuel Type
45.6mpg 70.6mpg 58.9mpg Diesel
Kerb Weight Tow Weight Length Width Height
1193kg 450kg 396cm 164cm 145cm
Boot Seats/up Boot Seats/Down Seats
248 Litres 1016 Litres 5

Skoda cars are generally based on VW cousins, utilising the same floor pans and suspension systems. The Fabia gains well from this with its braking system, independent suspension and steering being from the VAG stable.

Halogen modern front lamps give an aggressive look with very good light output.

Road holding was, I thought, similar to the Polo as it was firm on the road and allowed little roll. It was to my liking as I don't like wallowy cars and quite liked the firmness. Also in its favour was the rack and pinion steering which was very precise and offered good feedback which all makes for a quality drive. 

You must remember that this is all restricted to the 64 bhp and I think that if you put the 150 bhp unit into this body then you would have some serious fun and not long before some serious problems. Criticism is unfair, though, as the Fabia is very well behaved under the loads and stresses developed from its engine.

Young car with high miles.

Still looking very good.

The Fabia is very assuring in motion; it drives with ease - the body is lightweight and the whole thing simply handles 21st century style. 

You get an impression that it is not only man that manufactured this machine.

Who needs alloys

with trims like these?

No bull to be seen. "Leather that is"

 

Needless to say, it starts and stops with great assurance; the braking system is dual circuit with drums to the rear. Discs all round are not needed here as it doesn't weigh a great deal and can't go fast enough to surpass the brakes that are fitted.

ABS anti lock braking is not fitted, not that I would consider this a detriment. ABS is not a get-out-of-jail card as it can occasionally put you in there as well. Ice, snow and sand cause havoc with ABS and the sooner cars fitted with it allow you to turn it off, the better.

Catalytic Converter
Catalytic Converter
Disc Brakes Front & Rear
Disc Brakes Front
Front Spoiler
Front Spoiler
Halogen Head Lights
Halogen Head Lights
Height Adjustable Headlight Aim
Height Adjustable Headlight Aim
Independent Suspension
Independent Suspension
Intermittent Wash Wipe
Intermittent Wash Wipe
Power Assisted Steering
Power Assisted Steering
Rear Spoiler
Rear Spoiler
Rev Counter
Rev Counter
Wheel Covers
Wheel Covers

 

 

Skoda is quite equal to other makes with it's safety and security features; the airbag is effective, if not too attractive. The Fabia has double side impact beams in the doors for the unlikely event of being T-Boned. The general body is both lightweight and very strong, again influenced by you-know-who.

The rear seat belts are rather dated now; the centre one is only a lap belt which is getting rarer now in modern cars as it's as likely to injure a small occupant as it is to restrain them. Not often used but still, what would it cost to remedy this?

Round is out. Works well

Lumpy bit in the middle.

Short distances only

Child Locks
Child Locks
Drivers Airbag
Drivers Airbag
Engine Immobiliser
Engine Immobiliser
High level brake Light
High level brake Light
Locking Fuel Cap
Locking Fuel Cap
Rear Seat Belts Fitted
Rear Seat Belts Fitted
Side Impact Protection
Side Impact Protection

 

Question. Who would steal a Skoda?
Answer.   Who would want to?

OK, joking apart, all modern cars are much less likely to being borrowed without consent than older models. Immobiliser systems are simply very effective. The Fabia is fitted with a transponder system which will only allow a pre programmed key to run the engine. To steal the car you either need the key or a car transporter; in other words, if thieves are not prepared to hijack the car or steal the key, the Fabia won't be going anywhere. I guess any self respecting hood would not consider either of these options due to the embarrassment of telling their peers which car they were attempting to steal.

To be honest, I'm probably one of the few people who has had a Skoda stolen. Yes, I kid you not. One morning I awoke to find my house had been burgled and the keys for a Skoda Octavia RS, along with the car, had gone and were never to be seen again.
Proving that the immobilisers work and the Police don't. Bitter statement, I know, but I'm also aware of lots of other similar incidents and the terrible Police success rate.

I am incredibly impressed with this little Skoda; it's a very easy drive and extremely versatile both in and out of the city. It started with ease no matter what the outside temperature and without any assistance from the heater plugs. I am not surprised by this or any other factors as I simply that think this car is equal to, if not better than, the equivalent in the Vauxhall, Ford, Honda, Toyota, etc ranges.

Initial and second hand prices are very reasonable, build quality is good inside and out, service costs are as good as any with service parts being available from all car factors and accessory outlets. 

Fuel running costs are just about as cheap as one could get - fill the fuel tank and, unless you are going on a worldwide expedition, you will not have to do it again for a very long time. 

Roomy and bright front interior.

A little tight in the back.

 

Grey is grey but it wears very well without showing all the spillage and crumbs and the cloth patterns are a little garish but acceptable.

 

If you need convincing. 

Fill the tank. Then lock it.

It's as expensive as the car.

Non smokers?
No cheaper than a cig lighter.

Rear designed by Ronald.

Fabien was off on the sick.

 

The body is very resilient to scuffs and chips so if you do consider buying a Skoda you can be assured it won't oxidise like other marques. It's a car for using and not needing constant attention, new or used, to keep it working or keeping up any appearances.

UK Car road test Skoda Fabia Classic.


 

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UK Car Road Test Skoda Fabia Classic 1.9 TDi 2002

UK Car Road Test Keywords: diesel hatchbackFabia Classic 1.9 TDi