2003 Skoda Fabia Attractive 1.2 6v MPI from Portugal


Golf-sized body with a Smart-sized engine


Throwout bearing shattered into pieces - new clutch kit for 270€.

Coil pack no. 2 broke down - 60€.

Engine shakes badly at idle and resonates through the whole body. It also rattles at idle and has shaky throttle if standing still for more than a few seconds, or if it just started running.

General Comments:

Very roomy and comfortable inside. Overall well built and rust free (for the last 12 years at least). Perfect for that new driver who wants a set of wheels to get to work/university safely or as a shopping trolley.

Performance-wise it's really lackluster even for a 1.2, but it's expected from a car with 55 HP. It pulls well though, and you may get some whiplash if you try to squeeze it. Most of the times you do need to squeeze the engine since it's painfully slow. Do not drive on motorways unless you're comfortable doing it at 80kph.

Fuel economy is decent if you cruise at 60-80 kph, returning 5.5-6l/100km. However, for the performance it provides, it's really not that great.

If you're buying a used MK1 Fabia, go for the 1.4 TDI or 1.2 12v engine if you're still after a petrol version.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 15th July, 2015

16th Jul 2015, 18:04

Not a bad review, but one thing I'm struggling to understand is how do you get 'whiplash' when you push a car that only does 0 to 62mph (that's 100kph) in 18.5 secs?!

20th Jul 2015, 18:49

OP here: Despite the really slow acceleration figures, it has loads of low RPM torque on a close ratio gearbox. 1st gear @ 5000RPM = 40-45 kph. Since it's a heavy car for the engine, you do need to rev it vigorously when exiting junctions, thus the whiplash. It goes really well up to 60 kph, but struggles from that point onwards. Even if you release the clutch slowly, once you dab the throttle you can feel the slight bounce. It's not as refined as one would think, bearing in mind it's a Polo in a slightly better looking (guilty for bias) shell.

2003 Skoda Fabia Classic 1.2 petrol from UK and Ireland


The car has been fine apart from the recurrent flat battery problem in the past 12 months


Essentially the car has been fine. However the battery went flat in September 2007, and apparently needed replacing according to the Skoda dealer.

In June 2008 the fairly 'new' car battery went totally flat again, and apparently it needed replacing according to the Skoda dealer. They said that the next battery would not be replaced under the warranty. They sold us a solar panel battery booster system to 'top-up' the battery.

In early August 2008, the new battery has gone flat. Absolutely no power at all. Completely dead, even though we were using the solar panel booster system. There has been no change in driver use in the past 24 months.

General Comments:

The car is a good plodder. Solidly built and reasonable petrol consumption on long journeys.

Good cruising speed.

CD/radio are good.

Front seats reasonably comfortable.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 5th August, 2008

17th Sep 2008, 14:31

I had a similar problem on my 2001 SDi Fabia. From time to time the battery would go totally flat, leaving me stranded. I had the battery replaced to no effect, and had the alternator checked - nothing wrong with it. The fault turned out to be with a small device behind the dashboard that controls charging of the battery by the alternator. Since replacing this the problem has not recurred (several years ago).

13th May 2009, 08:32

I had a similar problem on a VW Fox. Turned out to be a badly designed connection on the lead running from the alternator back to the battery for charging. The heat distorts the connection, and it just needed tightening up with a spanner.

2003 Skoda Fabia vRS 1.9L TDi PD130 turbo diesel from UK and Ireland


Cheap quick comfortable car


Slight creaking noise from rear wheels when reversing quickly.

Seats are slightly grubby.

Wheels are in need of a refurbish.

Stone chips on the bonnet and front bumper.

Some slits in the vents have stopped moving with the rest.

General Comments:

I bought this car after having a go in my friends, which I loved.

I'll start with the inside. Although this is the sports model, apart from the seats, there's very little difference from any other model. It has a leather steering wheel, and sports seat, in the most unpractical colour, white. This means they are hard to clean, or rather keep clean. However, they do hold you in very well, and on longer journeys, are comfortable.

The standard CD player is the bottom spec one in VW/Audi cars, and is a bit cheap, but does the job. A simple adapter mean any CD player is easy to fit. The speakers seem to be fairly good compared to my past cars, and for the average driver would be fine.

Space is pretty good, I'm over 6ft, and can almost sit behind myself, which wasn't possible in my Megane. Also, the extra rear doors are a bonus. The boot is a decent size too.

Looks-wise, this was one of my main attractions. It's a 10 year old design, and still looks good today. The larger bumpers and wheels over the rest of the models, mean only those in the know, know what it is. It has 16" alloys, and a small rear spoiler, all very subtle and smart. People don't expect it to move quite as quickly as it does.

Performance is one of the big ones with this type of car. Now I would class this car as a warm hatch. It's not quick enough to keep with the newer hot hatches (Corsa VXR etc), but is quick enough to outpace your average Saxo VTR, and isn't too far behind the VTS/ Fiesta ST. Handling is good, with little body roll, but not in the same class as the Fiesta, being heaver. When you get to 2k rpm, the torque kicks in, and pushes me back. It's quicker 0-60 than paper figures say.

Having said all this, there is some untapped potential in the PD130; a simple remap can release another 40-50bhp, making those STs and VTSs much less trouble, particularly when up to speed, when traction is less of an issue, and the torque can be used better.

Another thing to point out, is while on a steady run, 55mpg is within reach, and even when in full race driver mode, 35mpg is easy to get.

Insurance is good; I'm 19, a bus driver, with 3 points and no NCB and I'm only paying £1600. There are very few as quick and as cheap to run.

All in all, it's an under-estimated quick little car, and wipes the smile from many a chev or merc driver's face daily, while costing pennies to run.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 27th June, 2008

29th Jun 2008, 16:31

The Fabia vRs is a great car, and will be a cult car in years to come. Agree with your comments.

I found tyre roar to be a headachey issue on certain road surfaces and found the suspension too hard, otherwise could not fault it apart from the light seat edges getting dirty quickly.

Mine was chipped up to 150bhp-quite noticeable difference in pick up as much more eager at lower revs, and gave better fuel economy too. Downside was the car when chipped then was always covered with an oily film on the back end, which was unsightly.

Apparently the ideal chip is 180bhp, but you can go further.

All in all, a very good car which does not shout "boy racer" and can surprise many hot hatches-especially with the chip.


30th Jun 2008, 15:32

Thanks for the comment. I have a friend with a 2006 model. Had a full custom re-map, 178bhp. Could have had more, but he wanted a smooth power curve, plus he is still running OEM clutch.

Road noise seems to be helped majorly by differant types of tyre`s.

2nd Jul 2008, 02:49

He probably won't be running the oem clutch or flywheel assembly for much longer then.


20th Nov 2008, 17:23

Me again! Car has now done 123000 miles, and past its MOT yesterday with not one advisory, flying colours! There was one issue, when cleaning the engine bay my mate realize there was a pipe not on properly. Once pushed back on it blew straight off the inter cooler. This was replaced with a new one (£23), and has now lost its slight smokiness under boost, also feeling a bit quicker. :-) smiles all round.

Mods will be on there way next year, I`ll update as and when!



2nd Jan 2010, 17:58

Me again. Up to 138000 miles now. Passed another MOT, car survived me filling with petrol too with just a flush thru. Still runs and drives spot on, few little bits like handbrake cable and bulbs, but all normal stuff. Still love the car!