Friday 13th September 2013


SKODA AXES FABIA VRS

Poor sales mean the vRS won't be replaced, but will it be missed?


In the same week that Hyundai has announced a WRC-influenced road car, Skoda has confirmed its junior hot hatch is no more; as of next year, there will no longer be a Fabia vRS.

Okay, calling the Fabia vRS a rally-influenced road car may be stretching it a bit with just 180hp, but it did provide a tangible link between Skoda's road cars and a successful rally campaign. The Fabia S2000 took the IRC Manufacturers' title for Skoda in three consecutive years from 2010-2012, in which time Juho Hanninen took a Drivers' championship also.

Is the Skoda badge still an image issue?
Is the Skoda badge still an image issue?
However, the car will be pulled with Skoda citing poor sales. But given the supermini hot hatch class has witnessed a resurgence in 2013 with the Fiesta ST, Clio 200 and 208 GTI triumvirate, surely now is the time to start planning a rival? There will inevitably be another Polo GTI and Ibiza Cupra, but then perhaps that's part of the problem as well as the solution; the cars are currently too similar and Skoda has lost out.

At present, they all use 180hp 1.4-litre twincharged engines and seven-speed DSG 'boxes. They aren't totally identical but, at 16,915, the Fabia is 1,660 less than the Ibiza and a hefty 2,020 less than the Polo.

And if that isn't enough of a bargain, how about a 63-plated car for 14,000? The entry point for current-shape vRS Fabias is around 9K, as demonstrated by this 10-plate Rallye Green car.

Moreover, no discussion of fast Fabias would be complete without mentioning the first generation, diesel-only car. Unique in a market of Mini Coopers and Ford SportKas, it attracted quite a following thanks to its subtle looks, huge torque and easily tweaked engine. This 2006 silver vRS looks great at 4K.

Author: Matt Bird
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