The Skoda Fabia RS hot-hatch has been released in both hatch and wagon styles, sparking a chain reaction that sees the Fabia line-up now expanded to eight variants, with all models now available with the brand's seven-speed DSG gearbox.
Included in the line-up expansion is the wagon variant of the Skoda Fabia 77TSI, available for the very first time.
The Skoda Fabia RS is instantly recognisable as a Skoda, sharing the family traits of pronounced wheel arches, rising waistline, distinctive curved windscreen, black A- and B-pillars and front fog lights, but the RS makes its mark with a lowered sporty stance, front spoiler with integrated LED daytime running lights, rear spoiler, sports suspension, stiffer dampers, firmer rear axle springs, 'RS' red brake callipers and 17-inch silver Gigaro alloy wheels.
Tinted windows, a black rear diffuser, twin chrome exhausts and 'RS' badging further add to the RS's sporting nature. The RS hatch is also available with the choice of a contrasting roof colour in white, silver or black and joins the white, anthracite or black-and-silver alloy wheel finishes available in allowing individual customer personalisation.
The RS's top-spec status continues inside the cabin with stainless steel sports pedals and chrome-trimmed air vent inserts, gear lever frame and handbrake button. Height-adjustable sports seats and a leather-wrapped multi-function steering wheel with radio and phone controls featuring both reach and rake adjustment ensure the driver can maintain control of the car in comfort.
The three-spoke steering wheel is also fitted with the paddle shifters for the seven-speed dual-clutch DSG transmission. The paddles mean the driver can manually take control of the 1.4-litre twincharged TSI engine (the same as that found in Skoda's parent-brand's Volkswagen Polo GTI) that's been boosted to a maximum pressure of 2.5 bar to deliver 132kW of power at 6200rpm and 250Nm of torque between 2000-4500rpm. This provides the Fabia RS enough incentive to hustle from 0-100km/h in 7.3 seconds while being economical enough to see a combined fuel consumption figure of 6.2 litres per 100km and CO2 emissions of 148 grams per kilometre.
Helping the RS in the handling stakes is the inclusion of the Extended Electronic Differential Lock (XDL) system that comes as standard. The system increases cornering traction by individually braking the inside front wheel when accelerating through corners and transferring torque to the outside wheel to prevent against understeer caused by the unloaded inside wheel losing grip and spinning up.
More standard tech found in the Fabia RS includes electronic stability control with anti-lock brakes (ABS), anti-slip regulation, electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist. For further safety six airbags (dual front, side and curtains) are standard and Isofix mountings for the rear seats are available. Pedestrian safety is also considered with a bonnet and front bumper that are designed to deform on impact and absorb energy.
Other features include cruise control, Bluetooth connectivity, remote central locking, 60:40 split-fold rear seats and an integrated CD player that features an MP3 device input. Alternatively there is the option of touchscreen technology via the Media Device Interface (MDI) that allows for iPod, AUX, USB and Mini-USB connections.
While the Fabia RS hatch might win for fun, the RS wagon takes the Czech-made cake for practicality being 247mm longer (4276mm) than the smaller of the two. Interestingly, despite the extra length and identical width (1642mm), the Fabia RS wagon actually comes in 5kg lighter than the hatch - 1248kg for the wagon compared to 1253kg for the hatch.
Storage space in the wagon grows from 480 litres with the rear seats up to an impressive 1460 litres with the rear seats down – only 320 litres off the newly re-launched Skoda Roomster. Fuel, emission and performance figures for the wagon all mirror its smaller, and cheaper, brethren, however unlike the Fabia hatch, customers are not able to choose a contrasting roof colour for their wagons.
Finally, the first-time addition of the seven-speed DSG transmission in the 77kW 1.2-litre turbocharged 77TSI results in an identical combined fuel consumption figure as the manual version, at 5.5L/100km, and a fractionally slower 0-100km/h time, by just 0.1 seconds.
2012 Skoda Fabia manufacturer's list prices:
- Fabia 77TSI five-speed manual - $18,990
- Fabia 77TSI seven-speed DSG - $21,290
- Fabia 77TSI Wagon five-speed manual - $20,990
- Fabia 77TSI Wagon seven-speed DSG - $23,290
- Fabia Monte Carlo 77TSI five-speed manual - $21,990
- Fabia Monte Carlo 77TSI seven-speed DSG - $24,290
- Fabia RS 132TSI seven-speed DSG - $27,990
- Fabia RS 132TSI Wagon seven-speed DSG - $29,990
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