The much-awaited launch of the Skoda Fabia that had been in the pipeline for quite some time, finally made it to the Delhi shores to coincide with the 9th Delhi Auto Expo. Much has been said about the Fabia, which has been inundated in a flood of hype and hoopla. People are claiming it to be the ultimate hatchback and the pioneer of the premium hatchback segment in the country.

It is quite debatable if the prophecy of the so called car experts will come true, because the idea of an expensive hatchback comes grossly unappealing to our India psyche, and nowhere is this phenomenon more apparent than in the case of the Ford Fusion. Therefore, it will be rather interesting to see if Skoda Motors, a company that has built its commendable reputation in India on the backbones of cars like the Octavia and Superb will be able to come good with the Fabia.

Every once in a while, a car comes along that sets a precedent in terms of style and design, which others try to emulate and duplicate. Incase of the Fabia, it is quite impossible to miss the subtle shades of the Mini Cooper. But it is clearly apparent that the Maruti Suzuki designers did a better Mini Cooper emulation job with its Swift. Even though the Fabia is a hatchback, it will be rather unfair to call it small, it is infact bigger than even the Swift, which automatically makes it the largest car in the segment.

The Fabia has been designed in an uncomplicated way, not overtly flashy and chic. But it sure does have an elegant presence, which makes the car stand out in a crowd. Lets just say that when the design is concerned, the Fabia is a quintessential Skoda, sturdy, robust and to an extent macho. It won't sweep anyone of its feet but it will surely make one take notice.

The 3-cylinder 1.4 litre petrol and the 1.4 litre diesel engines have much to prove though. Acceleration is not as swift as that of the 4-cylinder variant available in Europe. At 85bhp, the petrol engine looks good on paper but in reality, due to the low torque a lot of gear change is required and it is the same of case of the 1.4 TDI. But the car has a solid suspension system and therefore perfect for Indians roads. In corners the Fabia is a smooth performer and has a superb grip on the road.

The Fabia's interior is spacious and perfect for the big Indian family, there is ample head-room and leg room and the boot has enough space to hold a goat. Being priced between Rupees 5 and 8 Lakhs, all the versions come fitted with rudimentary features power steering and power windows. The upper end versions also have ABS, airbags and CD player while the top end comes with a sunroof.

In Europe, where the Fabia was launched eight years ago, there are people who swear by it. We will have to wait and see if the Skoda Fabia lives up to its expectations and hype in India. As for now, it is still the Maruti Swift, which rules the domain of the hatchbacks.

Source: Full Throttle
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