2013 Skoda Fabia RS Hatch Review

Overall Rating

  • Interior

  • On The Road

  • Ancap

  • Value For Money

  • See Full Specs

What’s Hot

Stomp and steer performance.

What’s Not

Ageing design lacks visual punch of fresher hot hatches.

X Factor

Only the wise will know what performance lurks within.

  • Country of Origin
    CZECH REPUBLIC
  • Price
    $27,990 (plus on-road costs)
  • Engine
    4 Cylinders
  • Output
    132 kW / 250 Nm
  • Transmission
    Sports Automatic Dual Clutch
  • ANCAP Rating
    N/A
  • Airbags
    Driver & Passenger (Dual), Head for 2nd Row Seats, Side for 1st Row Occupants (Front), Head for 1st Row Seats (Front)
  • L/100 km
    6.2
  • C02
    148 g/km
  • Luggage Capacity
    N/A
  • Towing (braked)
    N/A
  • Towing (unbraked)
    N/A
Malcolm Flynn | Apr 3, 2013 | 16 Comments

2013 SKODA FABIA RS REVIEW

Vehicle Style: Light Hot Hatch
Price: $27,990 MRP | $28,670 Tested
Engine/transmission: 1.4 litre twin-charged petrol/seven-speed dual-clutch automatic
Power/torque: 132kW/250Nm
Fuel Economy claimed: 6.2 l/100km | tested: 7.1 l/100km

The idea of a Czech-built hot hatch with a turbocharger and supercharger, 132kW/250Nm, and with DSG twin-clutch transmission for under $30,000 would have seemed highly improbable ten years ago.

Enter Skoda’s Fabia RS hatch.

But to say there’s nothing quite like it would be unfair, with sister-brand Volkswagen’s Polo GTI coming very close on spec, price, and even sharing the RS’ drivetrain.

More, the Fabia rides on the previous (2001-10) Polo’s PQ24 platform, but with plenty of fresher tech to keep it relevant.

There’s no shortage of alternatives from other manufacturers in the sub-$30,000 performance segment at the moment either, so we thought it time put the Fabia RS hatch under the TMR microscope.

INTERIOR

Quality: Despite the RS arriving in Australia in 2012, the basic Fabia design dates back to 2007, so its interior design could hardly be described as fresh.

The dash layout is ergonomically sound, but, with dark grey plastics throughout, lacks visual flair. Interior fit is excellent however and a total absence of rattles or squeaks impressed.

Comfort: The highlight of the RS’ interior is its nicely bolstered cloth front seats, shared with the current Polo GTI.

These seats position front occupants quite high, but offer good support and comfort.

The multifunction, thumb-gripped, perforated leather wheel is also pretty good and is rake and reach adjustable.

There’s plenty of room for average height passengers to sit behind average height front occupants, and all are graced with ample headroom thanks to the Fabia’s tall-boy body.

Equipment: Standard features include trip computer, cruise and single-zone climate control, aluminium pedals and sill trims, 3.5mm audio and bluetooth phone connectivity, and LED daytime running lights.

Our tester’s Race Blue metallic paint represents a $490 option, plus the $190 Media Device Interface (MDI) to enable iPod and USB connectivity.

One notable omission is a touch-screen multimedia interface though.

Storage: Bottle holders in each front door combine with cupholders front and rear. There are also map pockets and drawers under each front seat.

Cargo capacity is a segment-average 300 litres, which expands to 1165 litres with the 60/40 split seats folded. A spacesaver spare sits beneath the boot floor.

ON THE ROAD

Driveability: Like all smaller Volkswagen Group models with the 1.4 litre turbocharged and supercharged four, the Fabia RS is a clenched fist, ready for action.

With its maximum 250Nm developed from just 2000rpm, the throttle is like an on/off switch - good if you enjoy a sporty drive.

Skoda’s claimed 7.3 second 0-100km/h acceleration feels entirely realistic, and the seven-speed dual clutch auto hammers through the gears while doing it.

Like most dual-clutchers, there can be a degree of jerkiness when moving from rest, but nothing serious.

You can tap through the cogs yourself via the gear-shift or paddles, or, select S on the gate, and the RS will shift with a delightful level of intuition and with aggressive downshifts under heavy braking.

Even left in D, the RS will overtake like a scalded cat and point-to-point blasting is a real hoot.

Refinement: Like all current Skodas, there’s an air of quality about the drive experience. Its hot-hatch character is reinforced by an appealing combination of induction growl, turbo whistle and supercharger whine, that constantly changes as each huffer hits its stride.

These sounds are joined by a nice rorty note from the twin exhausts and the now-classic dual-clutch ‘pop’ during heavy throttle upshifts.

Suspension: The RS’ simple MacPherson strut front/torsion beam rear features a more sporting tune than lesser Fabias.

On rough tarmac, the ride is decidedly choppy, not helped by the 17-inch wheels and 40-series rubber. But it’s something you’ll forgive - it’s a hot hatch after all.

The electric steering is also sharper than ‘garden’ Fabias with a taut feel through the wheel that loads up nicely through bends.

There’s some bodyroll, in part amplified by the high seating position, but plenty of grip down below from the 205-section tyres.

Braking: Discs front and rear were well suited to the RS’ 1253kg kerb weight on test, giving substance to its red-painted calipers.

SAFETY

ANCAP rating: Only the standard Fabia hatch has been tested by ANCAP to date, but its matching safety feature list earned it four stars.

Safety features: Dual front, side, and curtain airbags, electronic stability and traction control, hill-assist, rear parking sensors and front seatbelt pretensioners are all fitted standard.

WARRANTY AND SERVICING

Warranty: Three year/unlimited kilometres

Service costs: The RS’ service intervals are set at 12 months/15,000km. Service costs can vary, so check with your Skoda dealer.

HOW IT COMPARES | VALUE FOR MONEY

Volkswagen Polo GTI 5dr ($29,190) - Costs more than the five-door Fabia, but with a fresher more appealing design. It shares the same twincharged 1.4 litre/DSG combination, but is 60kg lighter.

The three-door version is $200 less than the Fabia (but has two less doors). (see Polo reviews)

Toyota 86 GT Auto ($32,490) - Utterly trounces anything in the circa $30k bracket for dynamic finesse. The six-speed auto version however can’t match the Fabia RS DSG for acceleration and the rear seats are only for occasional use.

Booted 391 litre cargo area also cannot match RS’ hatch practicality. (see 86 reviews)

Opel Corsa OPC ($28,990) - Three-door and manual only, the freshly launched OPC matches the Fabia for performance, but its hotter looks come at the expense of the Fabia’s five-door practicality. (see Corsa OPC reviews)

Note: all prices are Manufacturer’s List Price and do not include dealer delivery or on-road costs.

TMR VERDICT | OVERALL

Skoda’s Fabia RS hatch is a good buying option in a sea of alternatives.

It offers a nice combination of performance, five-door utility, and DSG auto transmission for - relatively - so few dollars.

Volkswagen’s Polo GTI comes very close, but costs a grand to the north of the RS for the five-door option.

The Fabia RS’ understated design will appeal to those wanting their performance served subtle, and the Skoda brand’s relative anonymity comes with the engineering and backing of the Volkswagen parent.

Your mates may be sceptical till you put them in the passenger seat, but that supercharger and turbocharger twinned pair, and slick-shifting DSG, make the unlikely Fabia RS a really appealing drive.

We’d recommend a close look.

Filed under: Featured, review, Skoda, petrol, dsg, hot hatch, hatch, fwd, sport, performance, skoda fabia, skoda fabia rs, fabia rs, skoda rs, light, Advice, special-featured, enthusiast, 5door, 7a, 5seat, 25-30k

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  • TomW says,
    2 years ago
    1 like
    Love mine. It's white, so it's a real sleeper, quicker than the average Falcodore, particularly in the 70-110 range. biggrin
    • matt says,
      2 years ago
      dry comparing a top of the range city hatch with large RWD base model cars is odd..... please dont compare figs with giraffe's....
      • TomW says,
        2 years ago
        I suppose I could have said "Falcon XR6", which is supposedly a sports model, but my main point is comparing what the majority (used to) drive. smile
    • Zen says,
      1 year ago
      1 like
      Good luck with the VW group "DSG reliability". Stay off the freeway!
  • Yetiman says,
    2 years ago
    1 like
    When is the new Fabia coming out?
  • dont buy one! says,
    1 year ago
    4 likes
    I bough a new RS and have had nothing but problems with oil consumption issues. all of the rs cars are affected by this but vw/skoda are still selling them to customers anyway. I have been to the dealership 4 times in 4 months to get it fixed. this is rubbish. check 'oil consumption issues fabia rs' on google and you will see lots of complaints from all over the world. if I sell now I will lose at least 10k, the resale is appalling. just warning u all!
    • merx says,
      11 months ago
      2 likes
      smile Thanks for your honesty ,I was looking at an Rs and asked Skoda via email if oil problems still existed and never had a reply also dealers had no answer to my questions I still think the Fabia Monte Carlo is a good car regards Merx
  • Janiene Tait says,
    11 months ago
    3 likes
    I've had mine for 17 Months now and not once have I had any issues with it...... And I drive it hard like it should be.
    LOVE IT !!!!!
  • Red Car says,
    10 months ago
    1 like
    This is an awesome little car, with a lot more practical storage and head room than the polo, yes there is a 60 kg/.3 sec to 100km/h performance difference if you are planting it off the lights, but a small sacrifice for these features and still provides that pushed into the seat grunt like the 5litre V8s of my youth, thanks in part to the torque provided but the supercharger. At most sane speeds this is a weapon in traffic & a pleasure passing anything on the open road, making it a small hatch that is practical for other uses you would use a gutless small to medium car. yes I can say unlike a previously owned Polo you can actually fit shopping & luggage etc in the boot. So in summary a great car for the misses or you who wants a "sporty car that goes fast and doesn't use any fuel" ours now has 50k on it and averages 6.6 litres /100 km. the only disappointment has been the oil consumption which is now steady at 4 litres between services, skoda won't give permission for the breather pipe saying that "this is normal" sorry guys I must say "this is BS" maybe they should give out free oil with this model.
    re Oil consumption; I have found an obscure reference to a batch of faulty rings that now have been ? rectified. Its a shame that VW group australia who are trying to increase market share in this country are destroying their most effective marketing tool very happy customers. If you buy this car make sure you mention this to the dealer & ask for a five year warranty. I drive massive kms per year and I love this car when I get the chance to drive it,no it is not my daily drive. (it is a Nissan Dualis is with a quarter of a million KMS on it).
    Im in the market for the wagon version but would only buy it if they offer 5 year extended warranty.
    • TomW says,
      8 months ago
      1 like
      Your summary is spot on.

      The 0-100 performance is difference from the Polo is actually manufacturer figures not real life. Australian Motor Magazine tested both cars in 2012 in its "Bang for your Buck" edition, and found only 3/100 seconds difference between the two, albeit the Polo was faster around a track.

      As for the breather pipe, it doesn't work, or at least only in about 10% of cases (according to people on Briskoda). Mine uses about the same oil (1L per 3500-4000 km), and had the pipe fitted with no change for better or worse. Anecdotal evidence suggests using manual shifting rather than "D" mode reduces the amount used, as does longer journeys rather than stop-start small trips.

      Overall, still an excellent car. Although I'd agree the five year warranty makes sense for peace of mind motoring.
    • Red Car says,
      8 months ago
      The Red car FABIA (RS) Had a problem last week car multiple warning lights & wouldn't select gear etc, Misses had to wait an hour for a fix such is life she/we still like/s the car.The fix, in summary after calling a tech had disassemble the access cover below the selector to access switch to fix,the chap didn't reassemble in case it happened again stating that they could not( i.e. he was not allowed) attend if this reoccurs again, stating tow is only option ? WHAT THE.!!!!!
      My misses was really pissed no not with the problem occurring, but with the Vw bean counter/corporate policy. since we live over 1 hours drive from work as do many Sydney siders do thanks to our inadequate road network & appalling public transport which hubs out from the CBD

      To the policy maker make it clearer in our case (yes more Why)
      EFFECTIVELY the policy of only one call out for a problem has the potential to leave her stranded or pay $200 in cab fair or brave many hours of public transport late at night. So now we are about to be a new customer of the NRMA ? (they actually are allowed to repeat visit for a problem)
      VW group Australia: This is not good enough ! your competition exceeds this

      Why not check out the competition.
      Ford (I had a xr6 turbo ford a few years ago Ford provided a long term loan car every time we had a problem we had a lot) Mazda:also prior to this had a luxury Mazda miller cycle 800 a few years earlier we were treated even better they went to amazing lengths to fix the problem even after warranty.
      Toyota: id be wasting your time with customer stories yes the range is dated re reacting slowly to trends great resale & service sold my landcruser with 495,000 kms on it still going strong with new owner sadly took 144 litres to fill.
      Skoda: (see the many comments re service issues)
      Well Im likely to scratch my previous thoughts about buying more AUDI/VWs or Skodas, yes like most Im very tolerant to car faults if treated well, but IM NOT EXPECTING BAD SERVICE and the apparent attitudes (attempting to keep customers problems to a minimum cost, support /comment, AS IT MIGHT SAVE
      a little of the corporations MONEY.) I do feel sorry for your dealers & service agents who already privately acknowledge that the attitudes to your problems is "embarrassingly unsatisfactory" and appear to be glad if they are handling other non VW brands and are expecting this set of policies to further diminish sales I.E. will kill your market in Australia. (yes despite the price drops)
      From what Ive easily learned there is still a majority of happy customers OS brand loyalty appears to be still very solid. surprising no when apparently overseas distributors/dealers of VW/Skoda products are giving superior customer service. E.G. in Europe and even in China VW is giving a ten year warranty on the DSG to diminish customer fears. Contrasting this, VW group Australia have ignored the existence of the DSG problem: result the Australian trade in resale values overnight and wholesale sales price reductions and panicked dealers sales.
      In Europe customers with the high oil consumption between services are getting an acknowledgement re the need to fix. yes they actually admitted that there is a batch the faulty rings. no their cure doesn't involve them paying $100 for additional oil between services or asking their service agents to say 4 litres of oil is normal even when driven sedately or the old chestnut "it will settle down once its run in" if you have double this yes 8 litres of oil you get the breather pipe "fix" and how many have actually worked ?
      REALLY
      (class-actions even if owners are unsuccessful is really stupid commercially )

      VW globally has at least 10 brands including many trucks & even Motorcycles.
      Hey guys even I work in an area with lots of mass public contact as do others who read this and similar sites. keep this attitude of "don't mention the problems fob us off" and masses of Aussies yes including me will move away from the various brands towards brands albeit very boring"oh what a feeling"based on the reputation service and attitude toward problems.
      Yes thanks to the internet the majority of us are or will become aware that Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Porsche, SEAT, Škoda and Volkswagen + MAN, Scania, Neoplan and Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles + Ducati Motorcycles are part of this Global monolith and use each others technology engines etc.
      IN SUMMARY YOUR CUSTOMERS ARE NOT STUPID !
      WAKE UP TO YOURSELVES AND DONT KILL A GREAT RANGE OF PRODUCTS AND SEE YOUR CURRENT PROBLEMS AS AN OPPORTUNITY TO CAPTURE OUR MARKET. WITH IMMINENT THE DEMISE OF GMH & FORD WHO HAVE NOT ADAPTED PRODUCTS IN A TIMLEY MANNER. YOUR MANUFACTURES HAVE A GREAT RANGE OF EFFICIENT CONTEMPORARY CARS THAT HAVE ALREADY ADAPTED TO CHANGING MARKETS GIVING THE CUSTOMER A FAR LESS BORING AND PRACTICAL ALTERNATIVE TO TOYOTA.
  • John says,
    10 months ago
    3 likes
    Yeah I love my RS too. Few oil top ups but I drive it hard so that's cool. Resale has been affected by DSG news and out of date shape but I absolutely love my wagon and the fit out and overall shape. Such an enjoyable car around town or on country curves.

    The room in the wagon is awesome and parking in town is easy so in feel I get a good deal with a small family needing to move around with bags etc.

    Went camping with mine and was surprised with the amount of gear I could fit inside I recommend the RS wagon for this reason.

    I know I will be hurting when I sell for half of what I paid but am happy that I had this car in my list of owned cars as it's been perfect.
    • Allan says,
      5 months ago
      1 like
      Thanks for the time you put into this comment,you just saved me from buying a Skoda Fabia.
      Finding problems in a vehicle is one thing, but refusing to acknowledge and rectify them quickly and at no cost, sends me running.
      mad
  • Red Car says,
    8 months ago
    1 like
    Sorry about the lack of commas structure etc guys,
    just needed to type a quick vent.
    I will repost an edited version if anyone wants it.
    • Red Car says,
      7 months ago
      1 like
      Well what a week red car wouldn't start/select no problem they say "Skoda" are using An insurance company to help, no not the NRMA, but a mob who sends a guy out takes a quick look tells you that it won't take long as he has organisesd a tow truck to the nearest dealer. well in theory.
      4 hours later at 11 am the driver female was rescued by the tow truck which was only phoned to attend 3 hours after contacting their 1300 number and of course the towie had to travel at least 35 mins from base. where did this happen middle of nowhere perhaps, no about 8 mins drive east of Pymble. problem easily predicted,yes it could have been prevented & fixed earlier but it has taken a couple of weeks to get a spot booked in for "diagnostics" next week.
      so the point of this story is, DON'T BUY ONE, unless you like getting standard for 4 hours, or Join the NRMA premium service, have a second car in locations you are likely to break down,tolerant spouse who are happy to drive across sydney for an hour to get you,carry food and water,like being told by customer relations that 7.5 litres of oil consumption is required between services to get the breather pipe that doesn't usually work, like loosing at least $1000 of income for time off work to directly supervise the cars repair and getting a hire car.
      Now for the best bit, when attempting to ring them for info say at 4:30 pm to ascertain whether you car might be available to plan your next day, a young "customer relations person tells you at his discretion you are not allowed to stay on hold (no I was caller number one on hold according to the automated system) YES I asked for the either the assigned contact person, then any body he became annoyed at my calm requestS for a simple conversation.
      Great car has problems like most do, customer support is in my opinion the absolute worst I have ever encountered outside of small AFRICAN republics. VW group Australia,if you insist that 500 ml of oil per thousand kms when sedately driven is ok you are at best sadly mistaken. 4 litres is excessive in a car with an capacity of less than that i.e. unless you are prepared to top up the oil every 3rd or second time you fill the tank you are running the engine with less than the recommended amount. if the car is driven by some one who is not equipped with a $75 4 litre container of the correct oil you will quickly endanger the or diminish the life of the engine. oh guys the "it will use less once its run in chestnut" is really offensive. Never mind the we don't have a DSG PROBLEM
      LOVE THE CAR HATE THE SERVICE & RELLY HATE THE BS ABOUT THE PROBLEMS ESPECIALLY TO COVER UP THE OBVIOUS. E.G. OIL CONSUMPTION OR BLAMING THE DRIVER FOR FAILURE TO CONTACT THE TOW COMPANY AFTER IT HAD BEEN ORGANISED BY THE SERVICE PROVIDERS MECHANIC.
  • Red Car says,
    5 months ago
    DSG issues aside.
    Well the oil consumption on the car has had from new has increased. (despite the it'll be ok once its run in BS) The Red car is now going through just under 4 litres of oil in 8000K yes an amazing amount but still just under the required 7.5-8 litres between services amount for them (VW group Australia) to do some thing.
    Considering this car is driven sedately & is returning 6.1L of fuel per 100KM
    and the total engine oil capacity is only 3.6 L you wonder how these guys can lie straight in bed.
    Great car but you must take into account $162 dollars of compliant oil you have to buy between services & the added fun of checking/topping up oil every second fill.
    Oh what a feeling....
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