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Indians are getting used to paying premium prices for premium products. When the Skoda Fabia was first launched, it was one of the most expensive hatchbacks in the country, but its combination of style, luxe image and ample interior room meant it did appeal to a certain niche. A lot of water has flowed under the bridge since, and the Fabia’s popularity waned with the advent of better-appointed competition which also offered more value. Realising
that something needed to be done – and soon – Skoda India have re-launched the Fabia.
The ‘new’ car has a restyled grille and headlights, with slight changes to the chin as well, but you need to look hard to spot the differences. At the rear, not much has changed. But it’s not so much the styling package we are interested in; what have Skoda done to make the car more affordable? The current 1.2 TDI diesel in Elegance trim, for example, costs Rs 7.55 lakh (OTR, Pune) – a cool Rs 1.13 lakh cheaper than the earlier 1.4-litre TDI Elegance. The base petrol 1.2 Classic is Rs 60,000 cheaper than before. These substantial savings are sure to attract more footfalls in Skoda dealerships. An aggressive localisation programme, helped no doubt by the volumes from cousin VW Polo, plus snipping a few features have helped achieve this price.
There’s also a new 1.6-litre petrol four-pot, which will appeal to a small audience, but thank god for it all the same; not everybody wants a hatch with a weedy engine.
On test with us are the 1.6 petrol and 1.2 diesel. So how do these two stack up now?

Design and build
As stated earlier, the Fabia has received a few minor tweaks to its styling, but these nevertheless add up to giving the car a more dynamic look. The re-profiled grille in particular appears more attractive. The stretched headlamps have crisper edges as well. Why Skoda chose to stick to the 14-inch wheels, however, is another matter. Fifteen-inch wheels, especially on the top-end versions, would have doubtless improved the car’s stance.

 

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