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Skoda Fabia vRS: Buying guide and review (2010-2014)

Skoda Fabia vRS: Buying guide and review (2010-2014) Classic and Performance Car
Skoda Fabia vRS Skoda Fabia vRS Skoda Fabia vRS Skoda Fabia vRS Skoda Fabia vRS Skoda Fabia vRS
The original Skoda Fabia vRS came right out of left field. Introduced in 2003, it provided a genuinely alternative take on the hot hatch thanks to a torque-laden 1.9-litre turbodiesel engine that endowed the previously eminently ignorable Fabia with surprising pace combined with pleasing frugality. We loved it, as did its owners. 
 
When Skoda introduced its replacement in the summer of 2010, there was a slight sense of disappointment that it had gone for petrol power (no, really, there was). Not that the power unit was entirely conventional, being the VW Group’s 1.4 TSI ‘Twincharger’ engine – featuring both a turbo and a supercharger. Very effective it was, too, producing 178bhp in a pleasingly linear manner, and with a nifty seven-speed DSG gearbox as standard it was enough for a 0-62mph time of 7.3sec and 139mph. It was the fastest Fabia yet, and if it lacked the final sprinkling of magic that, say, a Renault Sport hatch might possess, it was a very decent all-round package.
 
Well-equipped, too. As well as DSG, you got plenty of toys including air con, excellent vRS-branded sports seats, eye-catching 17in Gigaro alloys (painted black as an option) and the option to have a black or white painted roof. At £15,500 it was good value, and for a further £795 you could have it as an estate.
 
Pretty soon after the Mk2 vRS’s launch, stories began to emerge of excessive oil consumption and, in some cases, engines requiring rebuilds or even replacements. Browse the internet and you’ll find plenty of tales of woe. In truth, the picture is nowhere near as bleak as it might appear, but there have been real issues with the twincharger engine, and it pays to approach Fabia vRS ownership with your eyes wide open.
 
A warranty could be worthwhile for peace of mind. The standard Skoda manufacturer’s warranty was three years long, with the option to add an extra two years. If you can find a car with the balance of the manufacturer warranty, that’s obviously well worth having. Dealer and third-party warranties are also available. As you’ll see, they could prove a wise investment.
 

Performance and specs

 
Engine  In-line four-cylinder, 1390cc, twincharger
Power 178bhp @ 6200rpm
Torque 184lb ft @ 2000-4500rpm
Transmission Seven-speed DSG, front-wheel drive
0-62mph 7.3sec (claimed)
Top speed 139mph (claimed)
Insurance group   27
Price when new £15,500 (2010)
 

Dimensions and weight

 
Wheelbase            2454mm
Length 4029mm
Width 1642mm
Height 1494mm
Weight 1218kg
 

Common problems

 
• Spend time researching twincharger engines online and you might get the impression that every vRS is a ticking bomb. As ever, that’s not the whole story, although Ed Jackson at VW Group specialist APS confirms that a significant number – mostly early engines, coded CAVE – suffer excessive oil consumption caused primarily by defective pistons. 
 
• Another common issue is misfiring, often linked to problems with PCV (positive crankcase ventilation) pushing oil into the intake. The worst cases have seen engine failures, necessitating a replacement engine. 
 
• A substantially revised 1.4 TSI (engine code CTHE) was introduced late in 2012 and addressed many of the problems. A sticker at the bottom of the driver’s door pillar will tell you which engine you’ve got. According to the guys at briskoda.net, of the 2900 or so Mk2 vRSs sold in the UK, around 1800 had the CAVE engine and around 1100 the CTHE. They estimate that up to a third of the pre-2012 engines have suffered issues. With the later unit, the numbers are nowhere near as high.
 
• ‘Obviously you’re better going for the later engine,’ says Ed. ‘That said, if an early engine has now done 50,000 miles without problems, then it’s probably going to be OK. Look for a film of oil in the exhaust, or oil spray on the back of the car after a run. And if there’s an oil container in the boot, that’s probably a sign it needs regular topping up!’
 
• There’s quite a bit you can do to guard against future problems. Doing lots of short journeys is best avoided. Changing the spark plugs every two years or 20,000 miles, using good-quality oil and checking it regularly, and also using good-quality fuel – all these things can help.
 
• The engine is receptive to tuning – remaps are widely available, as are cold-air intakes and freer-breathing exhausts – but this can exacerbate any problems, so modified engines need meticulous upkeep.
 
• The seven-speed DSG gearbox is generally rugged. A small number of cars did experience an issue with the mechatronic unit, leading to a loss of drive. 
 
• There was a service campaign, 34F7, starting in spring 2014, to change the gear oil from synthetic to mineral oil, with a software update at the same time. Skoda dealers should be able to confirm if the car you’re looking at should have had the service action. Look for a note in the service book, and/or a sticker in the wheel-well in the boot, for evidence that it’s been done. 
 
• On the test drive, try the ’box in both modes (Sport locks out seventh gear) and check for smooth, precise changes with no low-speed judders.
 
• No particular issues with suspension, steering, brakes, so any clonks or creaks are signs that the car hasn’t been that well cared for.
 
• As you may have surmised, any warning lights should be thoroughly investigated, and it’s worth having the ECU read for fault codes. 
 

The rivals

 
 
The Clio 197’s nat-asp engine has more power but less torque than the twincharged Fabia. £4k-8k gives you plenty to choose from, including Cup models. It also buys you a 182 Trophy…
 
 
Between 2010 and 2014 the Polo used the same 178bhp 1.4 TSI engines as the Fabia, though performance stats were marginally better. You pay a premium for the badge, with prices starting at £8k.
 
 
The R56 Cooper S (2006-14) has similar power (173-181bhp) and performance to the Fabia in a cuter bodyshell, but also has its own engine issues, so buy carefully. They start from around £5k.
 

Summary and prices

 
Cars from 2010/11 with average-to-high miles and a full service history start at around £5500. Similar cars at dealers (so usually carrying a warranty) generally cost about a grand more. At the upper end, £8000 gets you a late car (with the revised engine) with low miles and just one or two owners. Estates are rare and command a small premium.
 
All Fabia vRSs were well equipped as standard, but black roofs (an optional extra at around £450 when new) and black wheels are sought after, as are heated seats.
 
Words: Peter Tomalin
Skoda Fabia vRS Skoda Fabia vRS Skoda Fabia vRS Skoda Fabia vRS Skoda Fabia vRS Skoda Fabia vRS
Last updated: 10th May 2017
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Skoda Fabia cars for sale

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Skoda Fabia
1445 9990 GBP
  • Skoda Fabia

    £7,995 £7,995

    Variant name:Hatchback vRS ,Derivative:vRS ,Variant: 1.4 TSI vRS 5dr DSG Skoda Fabia 1.4 TSI vRS 5dr DSG

    • Year: 2014
    • Mileage: 38350 mi
    • Engine size: 1.4
    For sale
    TC Harrison Group (TCH)-Huntingdon
    0333 014 5508 VIEW CONTACT NUMBER
  • Skoda Fabia VRS 2006

    £2,795 £2,795

    Skoda Fabia VRS, Lovely little car, service history, 2 owners, 51,000miles, 6 speed, clean car £2795 

    • Mileage: 51000 mi
    • Engine size: 1896
    For sale
  • Skoda Fabia

    £6,999 £6,999

    Variant name:Hatchback vRS ,Derivative:vRS ,Variant: VRS Semi-Auto WHAT A LOAD OF FUN THIS HOT HATCH IS! WITH A 1.4 TURBO ENGINE WITH A MASSIVE 180 BHP!IN RACE BLUE METALLIC WITH WHITE ROOF AND BLACK MIRROR CAPS, BLACK CLOTH SEATS, RED BRAKE CALIPERS, DSG SEMI AUTO TRANSMISSION WITH PADDLES + A FULL SERVICE HISTORY!

    • Year: 2010
    • Mileage: 48910 mi
    • Engine size: 1.4
    For sale
  • Skoda Fabia

    £7,695 £7,695

    Call Today 01903236346, RAC Warranty And 12 Months RAC Recovery , We Are A family run business of 40 years , Bank Beating Interest Rates On Our Finance Package, We Offer Fantastic Part Exchange Valuations, All Of Our Vehicles Are HPI Cleared, Book A Test Drive, 1.4 Litre Engine, Fuel Type Petrol, Air Conditioning, Adjustable Steering Column, Stability Control, Power Steering, Traction Control, Trip Computer, ABS, Air Bag, Brake Assist, Isofix, Multiple Airbags, 2 Keys, 5 Door, 7 Speed Automatic, Automatic, AUX Input, Colour Coded Handles And Mirrors, Cup Holder, Day Running Lights, Digital clock, Digital Display System, Drivers Seat Height Adjuster, Folding rear seat, Front and rear crumple zones, Front And Rear Head Rests, Full Digital Display, Full Service History, High Level Brake Light, Large Boot Area, Low Mileage, Power Sockets, Rear Parcel Shelf, Remote Locking And Dead Locks, Service History, Side Impact Absorbent Door Protection, Spacious And Stylish Interior Finish, Stylish M WOW.. Look At This Sought After 2012 (62), Skoda Fabia VRS S-A, 5 Door Hatchback With Only 31074 Miles And Full Service History!, This Vehicle Is Finished In 'Race Blue Metallic', Has Complimenting Black Alloy Wheels and Black Wing Mirrors!, Equally As Stunning Is Its Interior, Finished In Grey, Also Equipped With An Spacious Boot!, This Automatic Features a 7-Speed DSG Gearbox , It Has An Impressive Specification... Air Conditioning, Aux, Radio/Cd, ABS Braking....Plus Lots More, Call Adrian To Reserve, All Cars Come With 6 Months RAC Warranty And 12 Months Recovery All For Your Peace Of Mind, So Pop down to our showroom today and see why Skoda Owner's rate these cars so highly!, For More Pictures And Video And Information Please Visit www.paincarsales.co.uk, We Are A Family Run Business Of 40 Years+, We Offer Bank Beating Interest Rates On Our Finance Packages, We Offer Fantastic Part Exchange Valuations, All Of Our Vehicles Are HPI Cleared, Call Today 01903 236346

    • Mileage: 31074 mi
    • Engine size: 1390
    For sale
  • SKODA FABIA VRS DSG 2012

    £5,850 £5,850

    WE CAN BEAT 99% OF ANY FINANCE PACKAGE YOU HAVE BEEN OFFERED PLEASE VISIT OUR WEBSITE www.autosolutionsofhampshire.co.uk. JUST FIND YOUR VEHICLE OF INTEREST AND CLICK THE APPLY ICON FOR AN EASY QUICK DECISION OR CALL US ON 01252 318417 TO APPLY. SEE WEBSITE FOR TERMS and CONDITIONS ;;AUTO SOLUTIONS OF HAMPSHIRE ARE PROUD TO OFFER THIS SUPERB VALUE SKODA FABIA 1.4 TSI AUTO DSG . THIS VEHICLE IS IN EXCELLENT CONDITION INSIDE AND OUT AND DRIVES SUPERB, COMES WITH SERVICE HISTORY PLUS JUST UNDERGONE A FULL SERVICE READY FOR THE NEW OWNER. ;TAKE ADVANTAGE OF OUR SALE ON GARD X PAINT AND INTERIOR PROTECTION WITH CUSTOMER CARE PACK RRP GBP 399+ OUR PRICE GBP 199! PLEASE SEE GARD X WEB SITE FOR MORE DETAILS https://www.gardx.co.uk/gardx-protect-0;THIS VEHICLE IS ONE OF OUR PREMIUM EX-LEASE CARS WITH JUST ONE COMPANY OWNER FROM NEW, THESE CARS HAVE BEEN SUPERBLY MAINTAINED AS ALL COSTS FOR SERVICING AND REPAIRS ARE RECOVERED FROM THE LEASE COMPANY GIVING THEM A NO EXPENSE SPARED SERVICE HISTORY, THIS MEANS IN MOST CASES THESE VEHICLES HAVE BEEN MAINTAINED TO A MUCH HIGHER STANDARD THAN A PRIVATELY OWNED VEHICLE.;INCLUDES 3 MONTHS RAC WARRANTY AND CAN BE EXTENDED AT BUYERS CHOICE, HPI CLEAR, FINANCE FOR ALL CIRCUMSTANCES ARRANGED, DEBIT/CREDIT CARDS ACCEPTED, COME AND VISIT US AT OUR FRIENDLY FAMILY RUN SHOWROOM TODAY. MAIN ROAD LOCATION ON A325 FARNBOROUGH ROAD. OPEN 7 DAYS A WEEK!.;;ALL VEHICLES ARE SUBJECT TO A GBP 149 ADMINISTRATION FEE PLEASE SEE THE ABOUT US SECTION ON OUR WEBSITE FOR MORE DETAILS

    • Mileage: 79680 mi
    • Engine size: 1.39
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  • Skoda Fabia

    £2,995 £2,995

    Air Conditioning, iPod Connectivity, Alarm, Locking Wheel Nuts, Immobiliser, Remote Central Locking, Front Centre Armrest, Height Adjustable Seat, Folding Rear Seats, Rear Spoiler, Rear Wash/wipe, Front Fog Lamps, Colour Coded Body, Multiple Airbags, ABS, Power Steering, Electric Windows, CD Player, Stereo, Alloy wheels, Full service history

    • Mileage: 105000 mi
    • Engine size: 1896
    For sale
  • Skoda Fabia

    £7,450 £7,450

    This Stunning Fabia VRS Auto Estate Comes With The Following Spec: Full Service History To Include Six Services At Skoda and one Specialist , 17 Inch Multi Spoke Bi Colour Alloy Wheels, Climate Control, CD Radio With AUX And Media Input, VRS Steering Wheel With Paddle Shift Gears, Cruise Control, Black Roof Rails, Electric Windows Remote Locking, Front Fog Lights, And Much Much More. Parkway Motor Group Are An RAC APPROVED Dealer and All Our Cars Come With 12 Months M.O.T, Service, HPI Certificate and an RAC Warranty. RAC Inspections Welcome, Finance Packages and Extended RAC Warranties Available. For More Photos Visit www.parkwaymotorgroup.com or Call 01623 825560. Full Dealer Facilities, SHOWROOM OPEN 7 DAYS A WEEK. PX WELCOME.

    • Mileage: 53396 mi
    • Engine size: 1400
    For sale
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