If you were hanging on for a rapid vRS variant of the new 2015 Skoda Fabia then you’re out of luck – there won’t be one.
While the previous-generation vRS model was critically well received, it accounted for only 3% of Fabia sales worldwide so the maths just don’t stack up, company representatives admitted at the the new Fabia’s media launch last week.
In time there’ll be a bodykit-clad Monte Carlo version, but that will be a sheep in wolf’s clothing, with no plans for engine or suspension enhancements.
That’s a shame, because when we reviewed the new Fabia last week it felt like there was a sweet-handling car inside waiting to be unlocked.
‘We wouldn’t say never, though,’ a Skoda spokesman added. ‘We do listen to what customers say. The UK likes hot hatches and they’re a good halo product...’
Skoda Fabia vRS: a quick history
The original Fabia vRS snuck onto the hot hatch market out of the leftfield in 2003 with diesel power only, although with a torque-rich 1.9-litre engine it could punch well above its weight.
Its 2010 successor was unusual from a drivetrain point of view too, with a petrol engine pinched from the VW Polo GTI which used both turbocharging and supercharging to squeeze 178bhp from its 1.4 litres. It was available with VW’s seven-speed twin-clutch DSG automatic transmission only, but with a choice of hatchback and mini load-lugger estate bodies. For now at least, that’s where the story ends.
A vRS badge isn’t the only thing Skoda’s deleted from the Fabia brochure
If only 3% of total outgoing-generation Fabias sold were vRS versions, even fewer were specced with factory-fit sat-nav. Just 1%, in fact (and you wonder how many of those may have been press cars). For that reason, Skoda isn’t offering a sat-nav option on the new Fabia either.
However, with the ‘Mirrorlink’ Android smartphone connection system standard on the top two Fabia trim levels, it’s possible to use certain approved navigation apps through the touchscreen display in the centre of the dashboard. Apple’s similar Carplay setup will find its way into Skoda models at some point in the near future, too.
The Mirrorlink navigation system we tried on the Fabia’s launch wasn’t without a few teething troubles, but it will improve. At the centre of Mirrorlink’s premise is that it can be continually updated with new software, so the system is – in theory – futureproof. With development costs shouldered by a conglomerate of car makers, it’s no doubt more cost-effective than a factory-fit sat-nav option so we should expect this arrangement to become the norm on smaller cars from now on – and a few larger ones.
Click here for our latest Skoda Octavia vRS review.