Skoda Fabia I, the very first Skoda compact car built under the VW umbrella. If you want a simple and cheap car, Skoda Fabia I remains a relevant car even in 2022.
Launched in 2000, the Skoda Fabia I was the second child of Skoda after the Octavia. Based on the platform of VW Polo and Seat Ibiza, the basic version was cheaper than half the car called VW Lupo. That says something about the level of equipment. Like the first Logan, the basic version came without a servo, climate, rev counter, steering wheel, seats, windows or headlights. Good thing that in 2022 the Skoda Fabia I has become so cheap that you can afford the more equipped versions. They are not as equipped as Susanna Reid, but they offer you all the comfort you need. Plus the Skoda Fabia I has proven to be an excellent car for hauling about: cheap to buy, cheap to maintain and decently reliable.
Moreover, the Skoda Fabia I comes with a station wagon version and some of the most reliable and economical engines in recent history. In some configurations, the Skoda Fabia I may be cheaper than walking. This means that this car is perfect for two categories of people:
- People who couldn’t care less about cars and who want an A to B car, but for whom the Logan is too expensive and the Ford Mondeo II is too big. Haul potatoes? No problem. Wine canisters? No problem. Do you have to carry a wooden hot tub? No problem. Do the streets on which you are driving look like they were built during the glory years of the Golden Horde? No problem. Are you a fan of beaded seat covers? No problem. Does your entire music collection come down to a music tape of Tom Jones? No problem.
- The second category is represented by ladies who do not care about cars at all. Cheap cars and resistant to abuse and oil changes made every few years, Skoda Fabia I is an excellent car for urban jungle, if you are the sort of person for which a car is a necessity because you are not passionate or attracted to driving.
Skoda Fabia I Engines
- 1.0 MPI of 50 horsepower – Go buy a bicycle. It’s cheaper. It’s healthier. It’s definitely faster. Possibly roomier.
- 1.2 MPI of 54 and 64 horsepower – Initially mounted on the Fabia and then moved to Polo, this naturally aspirated petrol comes with a timing chain, appetite for oil and induction coils and with mediocre performance. The 64-horsepower still moves somewhat, but the 54-horsepower moves at the same speed as an employee on the minimum wage goes to work for another 12-14 hours shift.
- 1.4 MPI of 60, 75, 80 and 100 horsepower – Full of problems as a teenager hit by puberty, the 1.4 MPI engine has issues with the cylinder head gasket, cylinders, auxilliary belt and mass airflow meter. Sure it has it’s issues, but atleast it offers decent performance compared to the 1.2 asthmatic.
- 2.0 8v of 116 and 120 horsepower – I didn’t even know this engine had reached Fabia. Notorious for its work on the Golf 4, Passat B5.5 and Superb 3U, this naturally aspirated petrol is as lazy as it is indestructible. Instead, on a Skoda Fabia I that weighs as much as 2 Bira Moretti 6 packs, this engine can be a torpedo. Good luck finding a Skoda Fabia I with this engine instead.
- 1.4 TDI of 68, 75 and 80 horsepower – Skoda Fabia I receives just one diesel engine, namely the classic 1.9 TDI that brainwashed europeans more than the shows broadcasted by daytime television. And the 1.4 TDI is the 3 cylinder version of the 1.9 TDI. How does this translate? Low power, low weight, low consumption but the downfall is that the engine is no longer in balance, being an 3 cylinder unit. If you don’t like the sound of gravel falling from wheelbarrow which the 1.9 TDI charmly produces, just wait until you listen to a 1.4 TDI. It’s over there with the old 1.8 TDDI from Ford. Consumption, on the other hand, is mind-boggling, chugging as little as 3.5 liters per kilometer external, and 5-6 liters per km city.
- 1.9 SDI of 64 horsepower – The same 1.9 TDI, only without the turbo. Given how cheap is a Skoda Fabia I in 2022, make an effort and pay 50 euros extra for the turbo version. As for this engine, the reliability is worthy of 1.4 MPI from Logan, low power consumption and unimpressive performance. In fact, if you think about it, the 1.9 SDI is the diesel equivalent of the 1.4 MPI on the Logan. Engines that have totally sacrificed performance for reliability.
- 1.9 TDI of 101 and 131 horsepower – We are already talking about a correct engine. Perhaps too big for the Skoda Fabia I, the well-known 1.9 TDI is ready take this compact hatchback in the next dimension. If you are lucky enough to catch the 131-horsepower vRS version at a decent price, you have a real torpedo on your hands. As for the 101, there are occasional turbo and EGR issues and somewhere at 300,000+ km the engine mounts and camshaft need to be changed.
Skoda Fabia I General Issues
- Being built on the Polo 9N platform, I could just copy paste from there. I will start with the suspension bushings that are made of cheese and gum and must be changed often, especially on the roads of the motherland.
- The G201 ABS sensor also fails on the little Fabia, as on most cars in 2005. That’s right, you’ll have to drink 2 beers less in order to compensate the loss.
- The rear-view wiper motor suddenly gives up its spirit and leaves you without a wiper. Not that most Fabia owners look too often in the rearview mirror unless they check their makeup.
- The automatic transmission, although we are talking about a model produced until 2007, is NOT DSG. It is an old 4-speed gearbox with a classic torque converter. A gearbox that has never stood out for its reliability in the VW group.
- All engines except 1.2 MPI have a timing belt which is to be replaced at 60,000km or 4 years, whichever comes first. It’s not a manufacturing defect, you just have to keep that in mind.
Skoda Fabia I Verdict
In the station wagon version, it remains one of the cheapest A-to-B cars. It’s so cheap that this it’s only use. And it’s a good car for such a thing, the boot being surprisingly large. In the hatchback version, it is an excellent car for beginners and people who do not have much to do with driving and do not want to have. Did you scratch a pole? No problem. Did you climb too high a curb for the car? No problem. Did you turn your back too far and hit the fence? No problem. You won’t cry too much. You probably won’t fix it too soon. It is unrealistic how much abuse this compact built after the old mentality can endure, a car that will last as long as the Clywedog dam. A car that will satisfy you in 10 years and that you don’t want to part with, because it didn’t give you any reason for it.
What engines do I recommend? For petrol I recommend 1.4. MPI of 80 horsepower. For diesel I recommend 1.4 TDI because it is cheaper in taxes, cheaper in maintenance and has absolutely unrealistic consumption. Plus it’s not an undersized engine for Fabia. On the contrary, the 1.9 TDI is too heavy for Fabia and affects the understeer of the car. 1.4 TDI is perfect. 1.4 TDI – the official car of people desperate about fuel consumption. In fact, this engine is recognized in the automotive world as one of the most economical engines and is often used as a reference point.