It takes a lot to win us over once we’ve made up our minds. Take the latest series of Game of Thrones for example. Many of us have already decided that it’s not worthy of taking the crown , seemingly forgetting that our insatiable blood lust will no doubt be satisfied in the final climactic episode.
Indeed, many movies that have gone on to become all time classics never made an impression at the box office but instead managed to find an audience once they were shown on TV or released on VHS (remember them). The release of The Wizard of Oz back in 1939 resulted in a £1.1m loss for MGM, It’s a Wonderful Life bankrupted director Frank Capra’s production company and it wasn’t until it was shown on TV that The Shawshank Redemption found a fan base.
And it was with my mind similarly already made up that I took the new Skoda Fabia out for a spin. With many of its components now shared with Volkswagen, I too held the common pre-conception that I would be stepping into a cut price Golf, made of slightly cheaper materials and without the much loved zing and zip. How wrong I was.
Where Skoda have succeeded here is in taking the best bits from the Golf and adding its own sense of personality and flair, while still making one of the most affordable hatchbacks on the market.
So you get the smooth ride and sturdy build of a Golf, a pitch perfect driving position and enough punch in the engine to trick you into thinking you’re driving a much pricier car.
I drove the 1.4 litre manual se diesel version, accompanied by a pretty funky red and black colour pack, a rear parking sensor and a pretty swish 6.5 inch screen infotainment system, which is built around an intuitive swipe system, much like scrolling through album artwork on your iPod or iPhone.
But it’s the space inside of the car that impresses most, with enough leg room in the front and back to make this a genuine contender as a family run-around for those that still want to retain the fun and plucky spirit of a smaller car.
My little one was more than happy in his car seat as you can see by the picture. Ok, I had to use a stunt double as he’s a little camera shy and anyway he had just nodded off for the night and I wasn’t about to wake him up, not even for this blog. However, if you want to replicate #breadbaby, it’s an English Bloomer from Morrisons.
Back to reality.
The sense of space follows right through the Fabia, with ample room in its impressive 330 litre boot beating rivals such as the Ford Fiesta and Volkswagen Polo by as much as 50 litres, more than enough to fit your buggy or stroller and shopping bags, further bolstering the Fabia’s credentials as a compact family car.
There’s also a huge amount of storage space, with a glove box that provides a dedicated space for your paperwork while giving you enough room for those random bits and bobs that can, with a lesser glove box, take over your car. I was able to fit in a book, a pork pie and a box of liquitabs, but there was room for a lot more.
In terms of engine noise, those that want a quieter engine may want to go for the 1.2 petrol option, though for me the noise of the diesel 1.4 wasn’t distracting at all and, if anything, added to the experience when rattling through the gears and provided extra personality to a car that already has bucket loads.
It’s not hard to see why the Skoda Fabia has won over the motoring press (What Car’s Car of the Year no less) and with prices starting at £10,600, it’s turning heads amongst consumers looking for that little bit of extra quality for their money.
No longer an underdog trying to convince people of its true qualities, the Skoda Fabia definitely deserves the plaudits and should be a consideration for every hatchback driver, not just those with affordability at the top of their wish list.