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TESTING

Presentation of Skoda Fabia

FABIA: FACING EUROPE

“Skoda” came to Russia with “Felicia”. A modest, discreet car flashed a bright star in the market horizon and quickly went out - there were reasons for that

and economic and technical. Anyway, it’s time for the old woman to rest. Felicia is being replaced by a new car with a new name.

Igor TVERDUNOV

EURO STANDARD

In the new Skoda from Felicia there were, as they say, horns and legs. It can not be in any other way. “Fabia” was born from a marriage according to the calculation of “Volkswagen” and “Skoda” - the first car on a new unified platform, which will later become the basis of the next “Volkswagen Polo”. Corporate kinship is also evident in engines. All of them are covered with plastic covers with a green Skoda arrow, but no one hides that, with the exception of one, these are Volkswagen engines.

By the way, a wide selection of engines should become one of Fabia’s trump cards in the fight against competitors. So far, three engines are being installed on it: a modernized Shkodovsky 1.4 liter, a Volkswagen 16-valve of the same volume and an atmospheric 1.9-liter diesel engine. Later, gasoline engines with a working volume of 1 will be added; 1.4 (third!); 2 liters and a turbodiesel.

Fairly modest in size, the Fabia is equipped with, unlike its predecessor, richly. The list of optional equipment on three pages contains more than seventy items. Moreover, in the performance of "elegans" (there is an even more modest "comfort" and "classic") almost all the equipment is installed in series. In general, the “Fabia” in every way distances itself from the rustic “socialist” ancestor and hints with its very appearance: I am a solid European car, not the poorest relative in a wealthy family. But it is not enough to declare merits, it is more important to confirm them.

THREE FACES

Let's start with the salon. The interior, as well as the appearance, sins, in my opinion, with excessive massiveness, which is inherent in many cars of the concern recently. However, one cannot fail to note the high quality of its manufacture: you feel in a car a class higher than it really is. The dimensions of the cabin, if they do not reinforce this impression, clearly do not refute it. The ergonomics of the driver's seat are almost impeccable, the limits of the seat adjustments are wide, and the two-position steering column adjustment allows you to get behind the wheel completely at home. However, leaving a comfortable lounge, you risk touching the top of your head against the sloping top of the doorway (aerodynamics costs?). Trunk volume will not please the drummer of cargo transportation, but for everyday luggage is enough. Lovers to carry the company promises to please the sedan and wagon.

Well, now - go ahead! A modest atmospheric diesel makes itself quite loud at idle, but not particularly annoyingly presses its ears in motion. The clutch pedal vibrates finely - that's all, at first glance, the consequences of dieselization. The engine management system allows you to ride almost without touching the gas pedal, and not only on a flat road, but also on rough terrain. Artificial intelligence itself where it is necessary to increase momentum, where necessary - discard. Great help to the driver, especially the inexperienced. But such independence of the engine leads to the fact that with active driving the motor response to the actions of your right leg seems slow. However, the diesel engine, besides the weakest in its family, is not intended for adherents of active driving. Its advantage is confident traction in any mode of operation.

It is unlikely that the "activists" will opt for the weakest gasoline engine. Under the spectacular plastic cover is an old familiar, “Skoda” motor. Naturally, distributed injection, a modern control system, the implementation of strict environmental standards and … huge problems when starting off, especially uphill. I throw my foot from the brake to the gas, release the clutch and the engine stalls. The second attempt - the result is the same. He remembered a driving school: he tightened the handbrake and, playing with the clutch and gas, still set off. We conduct a small experiment: the motor rumbles at idle, the accelerator pedal to the floor, "and in response … silence", only after a few moments the revolutions begin to increase quite smoothly. Why is that? I believe this is the result of an attempt to adapt the old engine to modern standards of efficiency and, above all, toxicity, and not a design mistake.

The rest is the usual "Skoda" engine: not very nimble, but with good "bottoms." And it even sounds like in the good old “Felicia”. This is also more likely for a family man than for a rider.

But on this frolic - sixteen valves, fifteen-inch tires, disc brakes "in a circle." Such a “Fabia” is noticeably livelier than its sisters. The motor easily spins up - and voices its activity at your favorite high speeds very distinctly - even too much for a family car.

We return home - and finally a few more lines “around Fabia.”

EURO … PHOBIA

Why did the Russians willingly take "Felicia"? It was a kind of “self-substitute”: simple in design, maintainable, provided with relatively inexpensive spare parts and inexpensive in itself. Why has interest in her plummeted? The first reason is economic. The price difference with the same Samara after the crisis jumped from 20 to 120 percent. The second, probably not so significant reason is technical. The version adapted for bad roads was too late.

Can Fabia perform in Russia as well? Most likely, no, unless the economic situation in the country quickly improves or Western reformers suddenly reduce customs duties. To sell at the price of the VAZ “ten” “Fabia” is not destined. They promise to adapt the suspension quickly, but this car is no longer easy and affordable to repair. Surely you have to forget about reasonable prices for spare parts. Of course, “Fabia” has its trump cards: novelty, technical excellence, a lot of options, an abundance of modifications. Yes, and the Skoda brand is now on hearing. But Fabia will have to play at a different table, with other partners. Its competitors are Japanese and European classmates, which most compatriots can not afford yet, and therefore their sales are small. What the Czech-German novelty can oppose them - time will tell.