The Fabia s a tidy handler, too, if not quite as sharp as major rivals such as the Renault Clio Renaultsport and Volkswagen Polo GTI (with which it shares its engine and gearbox). It has decent space for four people, or five at a pinch, and the boot’s easily big enough for your weekly shopping.
Bargain pricing has long been one of Skoda’ big selling points, and the Fabia vRS is no exception with its list price of £15,700, although our Target Price shoppers reckon you can get a couple of thousand off that, which makes the Fabia a serious bargain. Whether such low pricing is enough to get you past an appearance that can best be described as unobtrusive is another thing, but at least you can’t see what it looks like when you’re inside it. That said, the inside is pretty dour, too. One thing you won’t see the inside of terribly often is a petrol station, because the Fabia vRS will average 45.6mpg.
Jan and I are most definitely not doing 45.6mpg; we’re probably doing closer to 4.56mpg because the accelerator spends a lot of time pushed down as far as it’ll go. It’s utterly mind-boggling to watch a rally driver doing his thing. Jan’s limbs move quickly and economically, always ahead of the car’ movements, rarely having to react to something untoward, always making the car dance. Talking of dancing, Jan’s feet are in constant motion, his left foot on the brake and his right on the throttle - he could teach that Michael Flatley a thing or two. This isn’t Riverdance, this is Driverdance, and the car is his willing partner.
All too soon, we’re at the end of the stage, so Jan handbrakes the car round and heads back the other way, getting some big air over a couple of serious jumps in the process. I am stunned, shocked, and more than a little in awe. You can’t do my job if you’re not reasonable behind the wheel, but Jan and his compatriots take bravery and the skill of driving to another level altogether. I’ll stick to driving road cars from now on. A Skoda Fabia vRS should be a good place to start.