Blessed with a CO2 burp of just 109 grammes per kilometre and 68.9 miles per gallon achievable over the combined cycle, the Fabia Greenline is Skoda’s green beauty queen
So it’s a shame it’s so funny-looking. Skoda turned the previous and most pleasant Fabia into something of a Marmite motor at one stroke. Witness the schnozzy nose, the rising roofline that creates a curious wedge effect to the side profile, the shoe-shaped front and the slightly Frankenstein roof. Wherever you stand, this is no glamourpuss, and downsizing the wheels to the more eco, but undoubtedly frumpier, 14-inchers only heightens the disappointment. Undersize wheels are to cars what broken teeth are to supermodels.
Pearlescent Amazon green paint (for £350) adds a lick of sophistication to the final look and helps take the edge off this loose miscellany of shapes. As paintwork goes, it’s an impeccable act, but so is the entire experience. Don’t be fooled into thinking any cousin of Volkswagen would dare not emerge with anything but the same rock-solid level of crafted integrity that you’d find chez Wolfsburg.
The Greenline badge refers to the diesel particulate filter which just all but perfumes the exhaust, while lowered suspension works to keep air and road friction down to a minimum and underside panels, plus a 35mm hike to the front bumper, reduce wind resistance further still.
One suspects some of this model’s budgetary skill comes from jettisoning anything not vital. So if band B taxation is more important to you than a quiet and restful ride, look no further. Just don’t say I didn’t warn you. An apparent lack of soundproofing means road and engine noise compete with the radio … and often win. Those smaller wheels don’t help, either. They’re shod in Dunlop SP10s which, I gather run quietly. Not here. On a twisting road, the ride and handling feels vague. Does the engine redeem the plot? The 1.4 TDI unit is a tried-and-tested winner, though it struggles a little here. Push it harder and you’re back into the aforementioned podiatric problems.
That said, there’s a toasty feeling that comes from traversing 80 or so miles of the UK map and watching the digital readout on the fuel indicator remain obstinately fixed. Here, sixty mpg was a cinch without trying. Beyond that, there are more good reasons (aside from the big price saving) for choosing this over a highprofile hybrid, like Toyota’s hyper-hyped Prius. The back seat, albeit sculpted for two, is vastly roomy, and the boot area, topped with a neatly designed retractable load cover, is epic (though the asymmetric rear seats don’t fold flat).
On balance, here’s a pragmatic proposition for getting greener. Just a shame that it feels like a hair shirt.
ON SALE: NOW RANGE STARTS AT: £11,495 FOR GREE NLINE 1.4 TDI pd DPF 5-DOOR
- Price: £12,140
- Engine: 1422cc, 4-cylinder turbodiesel
- Gearbox: 5-speed manual
- Max Power: 80bhp at 4,000rpm
- Max Torque: 144lb ft at 2,200rpm
- Max Towing Weight: 800kg
- Combined Consumption: 68.9mpg
- CO2 Emissions (taxband): 109g/km (B)
- 0-62mph: 13.7secs
- Max speed: 105mph
- Insurance group: 3
Allergic to fuel stops, decent build quality, Volkswagen backed integrity
Oddball looks, noisy engine, needs sharper responses