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Big Blue

Škoda Fabia estate

Well, the last 2016 hire car was an eventful experience, mainly that we returned home almost a week early following a violent disagreement between W2.0 and her sisters. This meant I did less miles than I envisaged but still racked up 700kms in a week and used heavy oil at a miserly 45mpg.

Here it is:



OK, another diesel for me to moan about and to save you all disappointment I'll start with that part. I knew it wasn't going to set the trip on the M1 in Hungary alight as we pulled on to the motorway from Schwechat and within 3 kms W2.0 (self-confessedly disinterested in cars since we had kids) said "what is this, some kind of old van?" based on the engine note (it was dark). So it was a noisy, clattery diesel like they all are at some stage in their rev-range but no matter: it was actually a pretty decent grunt-wagon and cruised at a GPS correct 135kph (143 on the clock) with no issues. It does look a bit like a van on winter wheels in grey.



More importantly it swallowed our luggage: three large hard-shell Samsonite, a Trunkie, a small-hard-shell Samsonite, a rucksack and a handbag. Only the Trunkie was needed in the cabin, so pretty good. It would have been shite if our kids were not 2 and 5 as they wouldn't have fitted in the back seats otherwise: legroom is not a plus point. It made up for this by being fully kitted, aside from Nav. It had keyless entry, touch screen, cruise, heated seats, PDC, some kind of front radar thing (more on that later) and generally everything but the Nav module. I had mine so no worries on that one: I like my Snooper. All this made the interior a pretty nice place to be:



So driving it.... what's that like?

Not bad actually. Clutch was a bit high I reckoned but we'll put that down to my lack of cars with a clutch; it pulled well enough if you stirred the gearbox (and almost stalled if you tried to cruise about in a reasonably high gear) and whilst it's difficult to assess the handling of a small estate car on winter tyres in the cold and wet, it felt pretty sure footed. I will point out that small diesel car gearing is truly bollocks. The speed limits in just about every EU state are 50kph in town and 90kph in the country. 50kph is best in 3rd, sounding like its revving too high if you're just cruising. In 4th it feels laboured and in 5th: forget it. So you're in 3rd but the stupid dashboard keeps telling you to change up to 4th. So as I say: small diesel car gearing is bollocks.

All in all though this is a very nice and good family car if you have young children, or travel with amputees or midgets in the rear a lot. It was comfy, easy to place on the road, good visibility, well kitted and by my admittedly ridiculous standards, pretty frugal. It also cruised at the limit easily and such was the engine's ability that the 150kph "bong" for winter tyres sounded a couple of times without me realising. I liked it a lot, especially the looks:



So the sad part of the tale. It's nice driving hire cars on roads that you know well; it's also nice when those roads are largely un-policed, fairly smooth and clear of other traffic. It's also nice to be out in the country if you are a townie like me. It's not so nice for the doe that ran across my path en route to the airport, poor thing. Killed stone dead. Fortunately the car was not damaged enough to not drive, but she smashed a light unit, cracked the bumper, dented the bonnet and no one, not even the hunters that came to recover the carcass, ever found my front number plate. I have always known I could never be a hunter, as I'm too soft, and even though I have prior experience with a dog and a hot Chinese take away (ah, takes us all back....) I was truly saddened looking into the dead girl's eye glinting in the sun. She only wanted to cross the road

As for the car, I was doing a good 90-95kph at the time and certainly didn't brake so it took the hit pretty well, testament to the modern car if nothing else. Luckily she didn't flip up on to the bonnet as this would have (a) freaked my kids out and (b) made us miss the flight I'd paid to rearrange! as the windshield would have been damaged.

Anyway, this all made for an interesting drive across two borders and a car hand over: a week early and smashed to bits with no Police report or front plate. I was annoyed at the computer telling me that there was now no front radar sensor, even though it was still there, flailing about in the recess behind the front spoiler. So before I leave a picture of the front after the incident I'll say thanks to Martin: this is the first year I've bought CDW excess cover and from the company he recommended.

If you get offered a cheap, used LHD Škoda Fabia estate, avoid it:

Roadsterstu

Deer, oh deer.


It has all that kit but no nav? Weird. Having driven Mrs R's Captur for the last 2 days I absolutely agree with your thoughts on the gearing of small diesels. The work Arstras are the same. Woefully high geared and totally mismatched to just about any suburban speed limit.
Chris M Wanted a V-10

Roadsterstu wrote:
Having driven Mrs R's Captur for the last 2 days I absolutely agree with your thoughts on the gearing of small diesels.


Should have got the EDC auto  

The Fiesta and C-Max are both geared so that you have to drive in 4th (not 5th) in 30mph limits
Bob Sacamano

Picked one of these up from Sola Airport last year - it wasn't as well equipped as yours but, by God, it was soulless. It felt like one of those Samsonite suitcases you mentioned with an engine.
Martin

Pleased to hear you took out the excess insurance.

Car sounds OK, but what you should do is get a nice, big, luxurious estate for these family visits and avoid the hire car lottery?  Might be worth going for LHD if you're going to do a decent mileage on the continent.
PhilD

Martin wrote:
Pleased to hear you took out the excess insurance.



Could have been pretty dear otherwise.
Big Blue

Martin wrote:
Pleased to hear you took out the excess insurance.

Car sounds OK, but what you should do is get a nice, big, luxurious estate for these family visits and avoid the hire car lottery?  Might be worth going for LHD if you're going to do a decent mileage on the continent.




I'd need winter tyres....

I've made it clear we're driving this summer!
Frank Bullitt

Martin wrote:
Pleased to hear you took out the excess insurance.

Car sounds OK, but what you should do is get a nice, big, luxurious estate for these family visits and avoid the hire car lottery?  Might be worth going for LHD if you're going to do a decent mileage on the continent.




I'd be tempted to drive it too.

The Cactus 1.6HDi 'blue' I drove it was geared so that it was happy in 3rd at 30mph, unusual for a diesel perhaps,  it the DS4 is the same - it's only doing 1800rpm though so hardly screaming it's nuts off (the old one was happier in 4th)
Bob Sacamano

I'll just leave this here and make no comment:

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/253...pervert-sex-with-car-in-car-park/

Must be good these Skodas.
Martin

Big Blue wrote:
Martin wrote:
Pleased to hear you took out the excess insurance.

Car sounds OK, but what you should do is get a nice, big, luxurious estate for these family visits and avoid the hire car lottery?  Might be worth going for LHD if you're going to do a decent mileage on the continent.




I'd need winter tyres....

I've made it clear we're driving this summer!




Winter tyres would be a small price to pay wouldn't it?
Racing Teatray

I find so...£750 as it happened.
PG

Re: Škoda Fabia estate

Big Blue wrote:
Well, the last 2016 hire car was an eventful experience, mainly that we returned home almost a week early following a violent disagreement between W2.0 and her sisters.


Never mind the car, what was all that about? Much more interesting......Families as usual at Christmas?  
Roadsterstu

Chris M Wanted a V-10 wrote:
Roadsterstu wrote:
Having driven Mrs R's Captur for the last 2 days I absolutely agree with your thoughts on the gearing of small diesels.


Should have got the EDC auto  

The Fiesta and C-Max are both geared so that you have to drive in 4th (not 5th) in 30mph limits


In a 30 I expect to be in 3rd. 5th?!
Chris M Wanted a V-10

Roadsterstu wrote:

In a 30 I expect to be in 3rd. 5th?!

Memories of my magic Honda Civic Shuttle 1.5 12-valve; 5-speed box and held 30 in 5th (on the flat) with no problem.... probably the best engine I have had in a car, so responsive and economical too
Skyhook

When my Yeti was collected from the office for wallet-contents-extracting purposes recently the nice chap left me with a petrol Fabia Estate.

Usual disclaimers including paying speeding fines "but you've no need to worry about those in that".

Impressions after eight days with it -

It's an ungainly looking thing. Very low, yet looks pinched and with small wheels. The proportions are all wrong, with the angle of the bonnet.

The boot is rather a decent size and shape. That's a tick in the positive box.

It's OK inside. No pretentions that jar (unlike Vauxhall and the shiny plastic)  but a horrible, cheap feeling steering wheel.

DAB radio, but no SD card slot. Manual air con, with big dials from the 80s.

A big tick was that it rode remarkably well, and felt really direct and pointy. My son remarked "you like revs don't you?" as I hit the rev limiter again - but that was because while the engine felt delightfully  inertia free, you had to rev the tits off it to get it to move faster than a snail caught in chewing gum.

So in conclusion, I felt embarrassed to walk up to it, but it was surprising fun to chuck around. As long as you didn't need to be anywhere fast.
Chris M Wanted a V-10

Skyhook wrote:
When my Yeti was collected from the office for wallet-contents-extracting purposes recently .....


Oh dear, what's hapened to it?  We're still working on mum to try to get her to change the V70 for a Yeti
Skyhook

It was using a lot of oil, apparently it was getting past the piston rings. The dealer said they'd only seen one other 1.8 with the same problem, though I believe it's more common on smaller engines, especially pre MY60 engines. Mine's a 61 plate.

£2880 to fix (including timing chain change) but the dealer contributed half (without me having to say a word) so I 'only' paid £1,400 plus vat.
Oh, and the coolant pump was leaking (I had begun to fill up every few days)  so that was changed, £160 parts, no labour cos the car was already in bits.
In for a penny, in for a few thousand - I also splashed out £150 to have the bum part of the driver's heated seat fixed, another common Yeti fault.
Roadsterstu

Skyhook wrote:
It was using a lot of oil, apparently it was getting past the piston rings. The dealer said they'd only seen one other 1.8 with the same problem, though I believe it's more common on smaller engines, especially pre MY60 engines. Mine's a 61 plate.

£2880 to fix (including timing chain change) but the dealer contributed half (without me having to say a word) so I 'only' paid £1,400 plus vat.
Oh, and the coolant pump was leaking (I had begun to fill up every few days)  so that was changed, £160 parts, no labour cos the car was already in bits.
In for a penny, in for a few thousand - I also splashed out £150 to have the bum part of the driver's heated seat fixed, another common Yeti fault.


But apart from that it's OK?
gonnabuildabuggy

Roadsterstu wrote:
Skyhook wrote:
It was using a lot of oil, apparently it was getting past the piston rings. The dealer said they'd only seen one other 1.8 with the same problem, though I believe it's more common on smaller engines, especially pre MY60 engines. Mine's a 61 plate.

£2880 to fix (including timing chain change) but the dealer contributed half (without me having to say a word) so I 'only' paid £1,400 plus vat.
Oh, and the coolant pump was leaking (I had begun to fill up every few days)  so that was changed, £160 parts, no labour cos the car was already in bits.
In for a penny, in for a few thousand - I also splashed out £150 to have the bum part of the driver's heated seat fixed, another common Yeti fault.


But apart from that it's OK?


Known Audi issue, assuming it's Petrol.

Fortunately I've no desire to buy a small engined VAG Petrol but it's a good reason to avoid them all.
Skyhook

It is petrol, and yes, I knew it was a known fault but in the research I did the 1.8 seemed a lot less vulnerable to it.

Pick most pre-cherished cars and Google "known faults" and you wouldn't buy anything.

Man Maffs alert here, but I bought it for £8,200 with 58,000 miles, top spec with all the toys. I also saw a lot of sheds, yet the first Yeti I saw was the same spec, very similar mileage (with a non-working bum warmer)  but for £9,500, which seemed too fruity. So, OK, I ended up paying more than that first car, but I know various bits of mine are now going to be fine for a few years.

And I k ow this is subjective, but I really like and am attached to the big lunk of metal.

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