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by Tim Beissmann

The Skoda Fabia has gone on sale in Australia, becoming the smallest car in the Czech brand’s local line-up.

 

The Skoda Fabia shares its underpinnings with the previous-generation Volkswagen Polo, and has been positioned to compete with the more upmarket offerings in the light class, including the current Polo, Ford Fiesta and the Mazda2.

The range has launched with just two different models: the entry-level $18,990 Fabia 77TSI and the stylish $21,990 Fabia Monte Carlo 77TSI.

For now, both are available only with a five-speed manual transmission, but Skoda Australia says a seven-speed dual-clutch DSG option will become available in 2012. At the same time, the sporty Fabia RS 132TSI will arrive in Australia, along with the more versatile Fabia wagon and the updated version of the previously discontinued Skoda Roomster.

Both Fabia models are powered by a 1.2-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine. The 77kW/175Nm engine is identical to the one found in the $19,850 Volkswagen Polo 77TSI.

Teamed with the five-speed manual, the Fabia uses fuel at a rate of 5.5 litres/100km on the combined cycle (4.7 litres/100km extra-urban, 7.0 litres/100km urban) and emits an average of 128g/km CO2. Accelerating from 0-100km/h takes 10.1 seconds.

The Fabia matches its competitors for safety, with all models fitted standard with six airbags (dual front, side and curtains) and electronic stability control (including ABS, ASR, EBD and Brake Assist).

The Fabia has five seats and has 315 litres of boot space – 35 litres more than the Polo.

The Fabia 77TSI comes with 15-inch steel wheels, leather package (steering wheel, handbrake, gear stick), tinted windows, manual air conditioner, eight-speaker CD player with AUX input, Bluetooth phone connectivity, cruise control, 60:40 split-fold rear seats and a full-size spare wheel.

The Fabia Monte Carlo gets a more stylised appearance to differentiate it from the base model. A black design theme embraces the grille, smoked headlights, wing mirrors, roof, wheel arches and lower panel borders, and the 16-inch alloy wheels.

Inside, Monte Carlo owners can choose from all black or red/black sports seats with additional side bolstering, and matching stitching on the upgraded perforated leather steering wheel, handbrake and gearstick. Black roof lining, privacy glass, chrome kick plates and steel pedals complete the package.

Skoda Fabia manufacturer’s list prices (excluding government and dealer charges):

  • 77TSI – $18,990
  • Monte Carlo – $21,990

Major options:

  • Metallic/pearl effect paint – $490
  • Rear parking sensors – $390
  • Climate control – $390
  • Electric glass sunroof – $990
  • White/silver roof (77TSI only) – $390
  • Partial leather seats (77TSI only) – $1190
  • 15-inch alloy wheels (77TSI only) – $990