Andrex Extra Soft Blog Roll

It's all a load of bollocks, quite frankly

>Heard the one about the Skoda?

>Yes, I have thank you. Far from being the joke that they once were when building things like the Estelle, whose chief rival was a Tesco trolley, they are a manufacturer of what is now perceived as Volkswagens for mean people. Which I have a bit of a problem with to be honest. Volkswagen is German for “People’s Car”, which techincally should mean they are cars for mean people. However, somewhere along the way VW have got it into their heads that they should charge an absolute premium for a brand that is supposedly for Ze People, and as a result the image is now that mean people now buy Skodas.

To my mind, however, it is people with their sensible heads on that purchase Skodas rather than Volkswagens, as although Skodas are built on Volkswagen platforms, they are built in far more advanced factories and are far superior products. If you are actually dull enough to bother to take any notice of reliability surveys you’ll always find Skoda near the top and currently VW and Audi products are sometimes lingering around the middle and often near the bottom. Clearly, I am dull as I’ve taken some notice, but that’s another story.

I’m also dull enough to bother writing a review on the ten year old X-plate Skoda Fabia 1.4 8v I’ve been driving this evening. I have a bit of history with this particular car as it once belonged to a good friend of mine and we’ve done a pretty lengthy road trip in it as well as other little journeys here and there. It’s a fantastic little car for what it does. If you need a cheap car that does exactly what it says on the tin and isn’t going to suffer from its time of the month or surrender every other morning, there isn’t much out there to beat it really. Sure, it’s not going to win any style awards or any kind of credibility award but to think that of a Fabia is missing the point by a whole yard.

It’s a vastly superior car to the Polo on which it is based. I can tell you that after driving many Polos of the same age. This model is equipped with the old pre-VW Skoda pushrod engine which pumps out a massive 67bhp, which is about the same as an alarm clock. As such it has as much performance as a slug in a head wind, but getting it to speed is quite enjoyable. The gearchange is positive, the brakes are sure footed and for once in a car fitted with electric power steering, there is enough feel and communication to gauge what the front wheels are doing. For such a small car, the ride is superb. It knocks spots off my wife’s Vauxhall Corsa which rides with all the subtlety of a hobnail boot to the face. It’s that harsh that you need to collect your spine in kit form by the end of the journey. The Fabia rides over surfaces like a big old Citroen in comparison. If I have one small gripe about the way it drives, it’s the clutch pedal.

The equipment levels, however are at best thrifty. A basic Fiat Punto of the same era would come equipped with electric windows, central locking and a CD player. In the Fabia you have manual door locking, strange windey things on the doors that raise and lower the window, a cassette player and some seats. However on an older car these are less things to go wrong. This virtue of being ultra basic kind of adds to the cars charm of being a no-nonsense, unpretentious, honest work horse of a car.

Plus points: Space, driving experience, build quality, ride, refinement, steering feel
Minus points: Engine can be left wanting – could do with more power, stingy equipment levels.

To sum it up? You want a proper Peoples Car? Then the Skoda Fabia is the car for you. It’s a no-nonsense car that does everything a Volkswagen does only better and at a fraction of the cost. What’s not to like?


November 2, 2010 - Posted by | Motoring

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